Posts by Author: Rachel Kaufman

Lyft Buys Bike-Share Company Motivate, Operator of Citi Bikes and More

In its acquisition of bike-share operator Motivate, Lyft will now manage Citi Bikes. (Credit: Amy Sussman/AP Images for Citi)

Lyft has purchased the bike-sharing company Motivate, which operates Citi Bike in New York and many other bike-share systems nationwide, the New York Times reports.

It follows the news this spring that Uber had purchased Jump, the dockless electric bike-sharing startup, for around $200 million.

Motivate accounts for 80 percent of bike-share trips in the U.S., Lyft says. It operates not just New York’s Citi Bike but also Ford’s GoBike in San Francisco, Capital Bikeshare in D.C., Nice Ride Minnesota in Minneapolis and systems in Chicago, Boston, Portland, Oregon, and Columbus, Ohio, The Verge reports. These systems are traditional docked bikes, as opposed to the recent wave of dockless bicycles popping up in cities all over the country.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, although The Verge says that the price was rumored to be around $250 million.

Lyft is taking over Motivate’s “technology, corporate functions and city contracts,” CNET reports. Its bike maintenance and servicing operations will remain a stand-alone business, possibly because they are unionized, a source told CNET.

It is unclear how or if Lyft will integrate Motivate’s bike-share systems into its app, but looking to Uber could provide some clues. Uber allows riders to reserve a bike directly within the Uber app. Many Motivate systems don’t require an app for picking up a bike, though the app speeds up the process.

The acquisition, Lyft said in a blog post, “demonstrates Lyft’s commitment to a more sustainable world as part of our Green Cities Initiative” and comes soon after the company announced that all of its rides would be carbon neutral through the purchase of carbon credits. “We will invest to establish bike offerings in our major markets and pursue growth and innovation in the markets where Motivate currently operates.”

“We are particularly excited to work with cities on delivering innovation, including providing dockless and pedal-assist electric bikes to riders around the country, and Lyft will put resources behind the work that the Motivate team has begun,” the company added.

Motivate has 800 employees. It was not clear at press time how many will be moving to Lyft, how many are staying with the bike-maintenance arm of the company and whether anyone will lose their jobs.

The New York Times notes that while the bike-share market is not yet huge, it could eventually cut into the ride-share market if it continues to grow. “Offering alternatives to car rides allows Uber and Lyft to keep people using their services when taking a car makes little sense, particularly for short trips,” says the Times.

 

Denver Weighs Ban on Source-of-Income Discrimination

Denver City Hall. (Credit: Alex Ho/Flickr)

The city of Denver is weighing legislation that would ban landlords from discriminating against tenants who pay their rent using Section 8 vouchers, known as source-of-income discrimination, reports Denverite.

Councilwoman At-large Robin Kniech introduced a bill last week that would require landlords to accept all forms of payment, including vouchers. Owner-occupied duplexes and single family homes would be exempted.

“This policy is about someone who can afford an apartment…but, ‘I’m turned away because of how I’m paying,’” Kniech said at a city meeting last week, according to Denverite. “This is about stopping discrimination.”

A dozen states and about five dozen municipalities, including Washington, D.C., have already banned source-of-income discrimination, but elsewhere, it’s still legal to reject someone who is paying with a housing voucher. This is most acutely felt in so-called opportunity areas, with access to jobs, good schools and transportation.

Currently, Denver landlords have little obligation to accept vouchers, reports Denverite — and it’s likely that the city’s tight housing market and low vacancy rates have made them less incentivized to do so. About 10 percent of Denver’s 6,900 voucher holders say they’ve experienced source-of-income discrimination, according to Denverite.

Kniech’s bill would impose penalties on landlords found to have been discriminating, anywhere from an order to end discriminatory practices and make the unit in question (or a similar unit) available, to a fine up to $5,000 and/or an order to pay possible damages, such as the cost of a hotel stay.

Landlords say that accepting Section 8 tenants brings with it additional legal hurdles and requirements, like yearly inspections and having to keep the unit open while the voucher is processed. Landlords also expressed concern about recovering their costs if a tenant damages the property. Kniech says she’s studying the idea of including insurance through the voucher programs to cover landlords’ losses, as some other programs do.

Boulder legislators are weighing a similar measure, the Daily Camera reports. Jeremy Durham, executive director of Boulder Housing Partners (BHP), tells the Camera that all of BHP’s Section 8 tenants “have faced this barrier at one point or another during their search.”

In the statehouse, Rep. Leslie Herod, who represents Denver, and Sen. Rhonda Fields, who represents Arapahoe County, introduced a bill to prohibit source-of-income discrimination statewide; that bill died in committee. Luke Miller, a government affairs manager for the Colorado Apartment Association, told the Daily Camera that “We opposed (the measure) right out of the gate. Refusing to lease based on someone’s income is honorable in its intent, but we all know the problems of Section 8.”

Denver’s bill returns to committee on July 18. It will need a full City Council vote to pass.

 

Dockless Scooters and Bike-Shares Launch in New Cities, Spark Conflict in Others

Dockless bikes in D.C. (Photo by Joe Flood/Flickr)

Dockless scooters and bike-share systems are having a mixed week, with scooters launching in multiple new markets but companies poised to pull out of others, citing unnecessary regulations that cause hassles for riders.

In Indianapolis, the City-County Council’s public works committee is scheduled to vote Thursday night on regulations that would cover permitting and fee structures for operators, accountability and “where they’re allowed to park these things,” council vice president Zach Adamson told the Indianapolis Business Journal. If the regulations pass, they must also pass the full council.

Adamson also told the IBJ that the new regulations won’t change current laws that prohibit scooters from being ridden on sidewalks.

The proposed regs are a compromise; council president Vop Osili had initially proposed banning all dockless vehicles, but now says he is willing to try a “pilot phase to see how these roll.”

Elsewhere in the Midwest, dockless scooters have landed in Milwaukee, with Bird dropping off about 60 scooters in one neighborhood, Urban Milwaukee reports. The outlet also reports that Lime is in discussions with the city to launch.

Meanwhile, in Dallas, a months-long debate about dockless bike-share programs — which turned controversial as residents complained about the tens of thousands of bicycles, neighborhoods banned the bikes outright and businesses started calling them “road kill” — came to an end Wednesday as the city council approved an ordinance regulating the bikes and paving the way for electric scooters. CBS News reports that firms will now have to pay the city $21 per vehicle per year. The ordinance also states that a bike cannot sit in a residential neighborhood for more than two days without being moved, and cannot be parked on sidewalks narrower than eight feet.

Dallas residents had phoned in 3,200 complaints about the bikes since they landed in the city last September, CBS says.

And finally, in Chicago, dockless bike-share companies are warning that the city’s “lock-to” requirement will cause them to pull out of the city, the Chicago Tribune reported. Under regulations adopted in April, as Next City reported earlier this year, all bikes in an operator’s fleet must be able to be locked to something, rather than using the wheel-lock system favored by operators like ofo and Lime.

Calling it an “unnecessary hassle” for riders, the companies are asking the city to eliminate that requirement entirely, the Tribune said. Gabriel Scheer, director of strategic development for Lime, told the Tribune that Lime isn’t going to modify its bikes to comply with the rule. Besides, in the neighborhood where the bikes are being piloted, there aren’t enough bike racks to go around, he said.

No other city has a lock-to requirement, they say, although Massachusetts-based Zagster, which operates a dockless bike-share system called Pace, welcomes the rule, as its bikes come with built-in locks. “We really think locking to something is a policy that should be pushed forward by cities,” Dave Reed, Chicago market manager for Zagster, told the Tribune in May.

If the requirement isn’t lifted, both ofo and Lime could leave Chicago as soon as Sunday.

“We really don’t want to leave Chicago,” Scheer said. “Our goal is to work with the city to see how we can all be happy with the situation.”

 

Philly Housing Program to Help Reunify Families with Kids in Foster Care

For parents whose children have been placed in foster care, lack of stable housing is a major factor in preventing families from being reunited — the main cause, in fact, 40 percent of the time in Philadelphia, reports WHYY, and a third of the time nationally.

So Philly’s Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Office of Homeless Services (OHS) have partnered in the launch of Rapid Re-Housing for Reunification, a program that helps parents get into affordable housing faster, in hopes that it will help reunite them with their children.

The program requires that families find their own housing and pay 30% of their income toward rent, the city said in a press release; rapid re-housing will subsidize the rest of their rent for a year. It’s aimed at people who would be reunified with their children in the next six months if not for their housing instability. WHYY reports that parents don’t need to be homeless to qualify, but could also be couch-surfing or living in a substandard rental.

The program is the first of its kind in the nation, although rapid re-housing programs in general have become popular in the last decade, WHYY reports. Philadelphia runs its own rapid re-housing programs for other populations, with the help of a number of providers, including Congreso de Latinos Unidos, which is also partnering with DHS and OHS on the new program.

“It is exciting to see DHS apply this model to child welfare,” OHS director Liz Hersh said in a statement. “We know from experience that rapid rehousing is the first step to getting people off of the street and in this case bringing families back together where they belong.”

Rapid re-housing for people experiencing homelessness has proven to be effective. It’s a “housing first” model, meaning that people aren’t screened out of the program based on criteria such as income, criminal history, medical history, and employment. Federal funding for rapid re-housing programs nationwide helped several hundred thousand people in the first three years of the program, Next City reported in 2012. Philly’s press release on the new program says that overall, one year after exiting the rapid re-housing program, 70 percent of families were in stable housing, without a subsidy, implying that housing stability has a quantifiable effect on helping families get back on their feet.

The Philly family reunification program expects to serve 30 families in the first year of the pilot; since it started at the end of May, ten families have already been identified, WHYY says. The program is funded for three years with $350,000 from the Barra Foundation.

 

Massachusetts to Launch First Statewide Cannabis Industry Training Program

Credit: Wikimedia

In 2016, Massachusetts voters spoke and said, “We want pot.” That year, the state legalized recreational marijuana, though it took some time to work through the law’s implementation.

Now, in just a few days, retail shops will legally be allowed to sell tested, labeled marijuana to adults. The official start date is July 1.

The state wants to level the playing field for marijuana entrepreneurs, the Boston Globe reports. So the Cannabis Control Commission, the state agency in charge of implementing the marijuana laws, has launched what it’s calling an equity program, to help people from minority and low-income neighborhoods start or work in marijuana-related businesses.

The program is meant to help undo some of the harms inflicted under the so-called “war on drugs,” giving priority to “economic empowerment” applicants who live in neighborhoods with high rates of drug-related arrests, who have prior arrests or convictions for possessing or selling marijuana when it was illegal, or are the family members of people with convictions.

Trainings could be as basic as general job skills, or as complex as legal and financial advice for entrepreneurs. There are, in fact, four tracks, reports The Republican. The first is for owners and entrepreneurs, another for management and executive-level careers, a third for entry-level jobs and returning citizens, and a final track for people who have existing skills that are transferrable to the cannabis industry, such as law, accounting, and even plumbers and electricians.

“We want this industry to be really diverse, so we’re taking a holistic view of it and trying to create a pipeline of talent on multiple levels,” Cannabis Control Commissioner Shaleen Title told the Globe.

Tax compliance for marijuana entrepreneurs will be a big issue, the Globe notes; since the drug is still illegal at the federal level, entrepreneurs can’t write off business expenses like other companies can.

Today, legal cannabis business owners are 81 percent white, The Republican reports. Some 5.7 percent are Latino and 4.3 percent are black.

The program is the first statewide in the nation, but other municipalities have tried such programs before. The city of Oakland launched a program in which half of all legal pot permits would be reserved for low-income Oakland residents with drug convictions who lived in neighborhoods with historically high rates of drug-related arrests. Nearly immediately, the startup Hood Incubator, which caters to cannabis entrepreneurs of color, chose to pilot its first location in Oakland. The incubator now trains entrepreneurs or enters them into an apprenticeship program, pairing them with existing companies, according to Fast Company.

The Massachusetts program is funded with $300,000 in its first year; its budget in future years will be up to the state legislature. Training will begin later this year.

 

People Keep Trying to Return Things to Detroit’s Historic Train Station

New Michigan Central Station, circa 1915. (Credit: Wikimedia)

Ever since Ford announced that it would restore Detroit’s iconic Michigan Central Station, people have been coming out of the woodwork to return historic items that once belonged in the station and disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

An antique clock that had been stolen from the station sometime after its closure was the first item returned, reports the Free Press. The Henry Ford museum in Dearborn got an anonymous call last week, which led to a text message exchange between the alleged thief and Ford Motor Land Development Corp. The company was told to bring two men and a truck to a burned-out building where, the texter claimed, the object had been left.

Maintenance workers found the clock exactly as described, and Ford historians validated that it was the real deal. As a result, Dave Dubensky, chairman and CEO of Ford Land, told the Free Press that the company would be happy to retrieve any other historic items, no questions asked. Dubensky provided his assistant’s phone number.

The company may have gotten more than it bargained for. The Free Press reported Wednesday that two dozen people throughout the Midwest have called, offering stolen property or help with architectural restoration.

One caller said he had a plaster medallion of flowers. Another offered an original fountain. Multiple people have called about lights. One caller even offered to donate money to the restoration project.

“We don’t know how to accept those donations yet. I’ve got to figure that out,” Dubensky told the Free Press. After all, the paper said, Ford is a multibillion-dollar company; it didn’t expect to have to launch a Kickstarter to fund the project.

Ford does have a “wish list” of historic items from the station that it would like to be returned, if possible, including light fixtures, the clock that hung above the ticket window, ticket window grills, elevator transom panels and decorative ornaments surrounding the large steel windows.

The station, which opened in 1914, was a grand “return to classicism and romanticized transportation,” according to Historic Detroit. The Beaux Arts marvel closed to passenger service in 1988 after decades of competition from the automobile and airline travel led to a drop in rail service. And from then until 1995, the closed station remained closed, but “wide open to trespass and looting,” Historic Detroit said, presumably when many of the historical objects walked off in the first place.

A number of plans for the station came and went in the ensuing years, until on June 11, 2018, when Ford announced it had agreed to purchase the station for an undisclosed amount. Ford says it wants to rehab the depot into a research campus, employing 2,500 Ford workers, and also lease space to startups and develop luxury loft apartments. The ground floor will be open to the public, with shops and restaurants. The company plans to retain the passenger tracks at the station, and thus the capability to run trains — though whether trains will actually run there is unclear, said the Free Press.

Over the past weekend, Ford held open houses for curious visitors who wanted to see the decrepit building one last time before its transformation; 20,000 people attended, the Free Press reported.

 

Austin Plans Test of Driverless Electric Shuttles

A model of the EZ10 shuttle used in other cities. (Credit: Wikimedia) 

Austin is considering a pilot program to run “pod-like” autonomous shuttles through downtown, the Austin American-Statesman reports. Testing of these driverless electric vehicles could start in a month, a press release from Capital Metro, the city’s transit agency, said.

“Capital Metro wants to lead the charge — to be among the first transit agencies in the United States to showcase this technology to our ‘smart’ city. I believe this will be the largest public AV bus pilot in the country.” said Randy Clarke, Capital Metro’s President/CEO, in a statement.

The first phase of testing will “evaluate the performance of different autonomous bus vehicles from a few manufacturers,” the release said. Capital Metro will then select one manufacturer to lease six vehicles for an in-service pilot, in which autonomous electric vehicles — supported by a human operator — will pick up and drop off people for 12 months. Riders won’t pay any fees during the pilot; RATP Dev, a France-based global transportation provider, is picking up the tab.

Capital Metro, RATP Dev and the University of Texas-Austin trialed an autonomous shuttle, the EZ10, made by French manufacturer EasyMile, during SXSW 2017. At the time, Cap Metro told the Austin American-Statesman that it had no plans to purchase any of the vehicles.

The EZ10 has been trialed at small scales in other cities around the U.S. as well, including an office park outside of San Francisco and a stretch of road in Denver. Minneapolis held a short pilot for the shuttles on the city’s Midtown Greenway bike trail earlier this year. In a news release at the time, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) said that these vehicles have the potential to reduce crashes by minimizing human factors during driving. The shuttles typically travel no faster than 12mph (but can reach up to 25mph), according to a press release from Hennepin County, which partnered with MnDOT on the trial.

Capital Metro says the agency will test vehicles from multiple manufacturers, but also includes a description of “the vehicles” that matches that of the EZ10. EasyMile’s website says that the EZ10 is fully electric, carries up to 15 passengers, and has an “in-built access ramp for mobility challenged passengers.” It is unclear which other manufacturers, if any, will be testing their vehicles on Austin streets, but a presentation given to the Capital Metro board included a photo of a shuttle from Navya, another France-based company that operates autonomous shuttles and cabs around the world, the Statesman said. A Navya spokesman told the Statesman that he wasn’t aware that the company had any agreements to operate in Texas.

In Austin, the route for the shuttles is still being determined, but officials foresee a premapped plan that serves City Hall, the Central Library and at least one MetroRail station, according to the press release. Cap Metro officials are planning for five- to seven-minute headways.

 

Environmental Groups Sue Newark Over Lead in Drinking Water

Photo by Gabriel Rocha/Flickr

The Natural Resources Defense Council and Newark Education Workers Caucus have taken the city of Newark, New Jersey, to court over elevated levels of lead in the city’s drinking water.

The NRDC and NEW Caucus allege that city officials have failed to implement adequate water quality and treatment systems to prevent lead from getting into drinking water and that the city is failing to comply with federal requirements for monitoring and testing. The city’s own data, the NRDC says, shows that 10 percent of water samples had elevated lead levels of 26 parts per billion, well above the Safe Drinking Water Act’s “federal action level” of 15 ppb. One recent result was as high as 182 parts per billion, reports the NRDC.

The lawsuit should come as no surprise to Newark officials because in April, the groups filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue, NJ.com reported at the time.

The NRDC also says that Newark’s water testing procedures aren’t prioritizing high-risk sites, which it is required to do under federal law, NJ.com said. The state Department of Environmental Protection requires that the city test water for lead twice a year. According to the notice of intent filed in April, the city had only tested 40 of the 131 high-risk sites in Newark.

“Access to safe water should be a basic right for everyone,” Al Moussab, president of the NEW Caucus, said in a statement. “However, for many working-class people, it’s not. By joining this lawsuit, we hope to hold the city and state governments accountable for providing safe drinking water to every home and school in Newark,”

But city officials contend the problem is overblown. Andrea Adebowale, Newark’s director of water and sewer utilities, told NJ.com that it was “absolutely and outrageously false” that residents were being exposed to dangerous lead levels. In a statement provided to the Asbury Park Press, Adebowale said that the issues are “confined to a limited number of homes with lead service lines.”

“Our water is safe,” Adebowale wrote. “It is our goal to be transparent and keep our residents informed every step of the way.”

The NRDC says in its lawsuit, however, that “the City does not know the scope of the problem because it has failed to identify which service lines contain lead, and has failed to properly monitor lead levels at Newark residents’ taps.”

In April, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka told the Associated Press that the elevated lead fears were a “naked political stunt” to help a council member’s mayoral campaign. Baraka won reelection roundly in May and has not commented on yesterday’s lawsuit.

There is no safe level of lead contamination. Exposure to lead is especially dangerous to children, and can permanently affect a child’s IQ, ability to pay attention and academic achievement, according to the CDC. In adults, it can cause fertility problems, cardiovascular and kidney effects, cognitive dysfunction and elevated blood pressure, the NRDC said.

In spring 2016, water fountains in 30 Newark public schools were found to have high levels of lead, and state officials shut off those fountains until the pipes could be replaced and filters installed.

The NRDC, along with the ACLU, were among the plaintiffs in a similar lawsuit filed against Flint, Michigan, that led to mediation and a settlement agreement. The state of Michigan is now mandating that water utilities remove all lead water service lines, the NRDC announced earlier this month. And lead levels in Flint’s water are falling, slowly, as the city works to replace old pipes, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The group is hoping for similar results in the Newark case. In a statement, NRDC attorney Claire Woods said, “City and state officials are failing to take the steps required under the law to protect Newark residents from lead in their drinking water. Newark’s water is corrosive, causing lead pipes to release too much of this toxic chemical into the drinking water flowing to residents’ taps. If it takes filing a lawsuit to end violations of federal drinking water law, we’ll do it.”

 

Cuomo Signs Legislation for LaGuardia Train to the Plane

Governor Andrew Cuomo okays measure for proposed LaGuardia train to the plane. (Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

A rail route to LaGuardia Airport took one big step toward becoming a reality today when New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation to begin mapping a route for the project, WSKG reports.

“How can you not have a rail train to the City from a New York airport?” Cuomo asked an audience gathered at the World Trade Center, according to WSKG. “It’s incomprehensible.”

The $1.5 billion LaGuardia Airtrain plan will create an elevated train line connecting the airport to the 7 train as well as a Long Island Railroad station in Queens. When it opens in 2022, it will cut the travel time to the airport to 30 minutes from Penn Station and Grand Central Station, US News & World Report notes.

LaGuardia is the only airport in the region that lacks direct rail access — it’s estimated that 86 percent of those traveling between the city and LaGuardia go by car, reports 6sqft. Airport passengers wishing to take public transit to the airport currently must ride a bus.

The measure passed by the state legislature and signed by the governor lays out a possible route for the train and suggests alternatives, after neighbors asked that it be located farther from their homes, the Wall Street Journal reports. Port Authority officials stressed that the current route does not cut through private property.

Construction could begin as early as 2020 and should be completed in two years. It is one piece in the governor’s broader initiative to rehab the airport, according to the NY Times. LaGuardia is currently undergoing an $8 billion rebuild.

“With no rail link, millions of passengers too frequently face inevitable congestion on the roadways and unpredictable delays in reaching the airport,” said Rick Cotton, executive director of the Port Authority of NY & NJ. “They never know what the travel time to LaGuardia will be.” The need for a predictable rail link gets more urgent “almost with every passing week,” Cotton told the Wall Street Journal.

Not all New Yorkers are thrilled with the plan. Last week, community groups in Queens released a joint statement denouncing the AirTrain, Curbed NY reports.

“Simply stated, I believe this project will negatively impact our quality of life for a service that is not needed,” said Frank Taylor, a longtime East Elmhurst resident and the president of the Ditmars Blvd. Block Association. “I also call to question the large taxpayer investment with no economic upside for our community or the State.” The Ditmars Blvd. Block Association is one of the three groups opposing the project.

The environmental review process — in which officials will consider alternate routes for the project along the corridor — will begin this fall.

 

S.F. Housing Projects to Get $29 Million in Carbon Trading Windfall

Balmy Alley street art in San Francisco's Mission District. (Credit: sswj/Flickr)

Two affordable housing projects in San Francisco’s Mission District are getting a $29 million boost thanks to grants from California’s cap-and-trade program, a pollution credit marketplace, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Staff at the city’s Strategic Growth Council have recommended that a 157-unit development receive $15 million and an 82-unit project get $14 million. The council must approve the grants, but “has historically gone along with staff recommendations,” the Chronicle says.

Building affordable housing is getting more expensive in an already historically expensive city. At the same time, financing models that affordable housing developers have traditionally relied on are shrinking. The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, for example, has lost value after Congress’s tax reform bill, which has led to fewer companies competing for and thus driving up the price of the credits.

“We are really battling against increasing construction costs combined with the loss of tax credit equity,” Kate Hartley, director of the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, told the Chronicle. “Getting these funds gives us a little bit of relief.”

The Mission is in some ways ground zero for the waves of gentrification hitting San Francisco. Since the 1940s, as Oscar Perry Abello previously reported for Next CIty, it has welcomed immigrants, especially from Latin America. Since 2000, rising rents have pushed thousands of Latinos — one estimate puts the number at 8,000 — out of the neighborhood. No new affordable development has been created in a decade, the Chronicle said, although 800 units are in the pipeline, including those in the Mission projects in line to receive the new grants.

Mission Economic Development Agency executive director Luis Granados told the Chronicle that the investments were badly needed. “We need an additional 10 projects like this one in the Mission,” Granados said. “We have a strong sense of urgency, and we have the ability to make it happen.” The agency focuses on job training and business development as well as housing in the neighborhood.

The cap-and-trade program is the state’s pioneering pollution-credit marketplace — in which companies buy the right to put carbon into the air. Through 2017 the program has raised $6.5 billion for the state, which is required by law to spend the money on programs that fight climate change, the Los Angeles Times reported. Projects like the developments in the Mission qualify because they are close to transit. It’s also written into the law that 35 percent of the monies raised must be directed to disadvantaged communities, the Chronicle reports.

Strategic Growth Council staff are recommending that more than $200 million go to 17 affordable housing projects elsewhere in the state.

Ironically, companies choosing to emit carbon have bought so many credits on the market, the Times said, that the program might actually lead to more emissions, since companies hoard cheaply priced emissions allowances indefinitely. In the long run, that could lead to more pollution than the state wants. (For what it’s worth, the California Air Resources Board disputes the idea of “oversupply” on the emissions trading markets.) In the short term, though, it means lots of money for projects like these.

 



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