Pleasanton Weekly

News - December 20, 2013

Swalwell seeks federal funds for redevelopment agencies

Brown closed state's RDAs as illegal

by Jeb Bing

Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin) has introduced legislation that would use federal funds to replace much of California's Redevelopment Agency development obligations that were declared illegal by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Called the "Restarting Local Economies Act of 2013," Swalwell's bill would make it easier for communities in California to obtain federal redevelopment funding.

In 2011, the state legislature voted and California closed all of the state's roughly 400 redevelopment agencies (RDAs), leaving localities without a source to fund much-needed development, Swalwell said in a statement. In his 15th Congressional District, alone, the loss was over $50 million.

Swalwell was joined at a press conference announcing the bill's introduction by Fremont Mayor Bill Harrison, Union City Mayor Carol Dutra-Vernaci, and East Bay Economic Development Alliance Director Darien Louie.

Swalwell introduced the legislation at an empty lot in Fremont, which was slated for mixed-use development with housing and retail. The closure of the Fremont RDA delayed the project.

"The state's closure of redevelopment agencies has effectively stalled local economic development across the East Bay," Swalwell said. "With that funding taken away by the state of California, too much land remains undeveloped and potential jobs sit on the sidelines."

"As a former Dublin city council member, I've taken my understanding of local economic development to Washington," he added. "While I can't undo the California legislature's mistake, my legislation helps cities whose redevelopment funding was raided by making it easier for them to obtain federal grants for redevelopment purposes. I'm proud to stand with mayors and communities across the East Bay as a federal partner in promoting local economic development."

The federal government's Economic Development Administration's Economic Adjustment Assistance program provides competitive grants to localities for redevelopment projects, should they meet specific criteria related to challenges to their economy.

Swalwell's legislation would include the closure of a government entity, such as a redevelopment agency, as a specific example of an economic challenge to a region, allowing California localities to more easily compete for federal funds.

In addition, Swalwell's bill also would allow greater federal funding contributions to redevelopment activities in cities hurt by an RDA closure -- even up to 100% of the project's cost.

"This legislation solves a problem facing our cities and represents a common-sense approach to grow our local economies, create jobs, and move the East Bay forward, added Swalwell.

Comments

There are no comments yet for this post

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: *

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields