San Francisco Bay Area Regional Equity Coalition

Decades of unjust public policies have systematically excluded low-income communities of color from opportunity while fueling sprawl, car dependence, and all of the environmental and economic problems that come with them — from global warming to the suburban housing bubble.

Today, instead of a transit system that provides a leg up to good jobs and schools, we have a separate and unequal system that leads to inequality of opportunity. Most low-income people and people of color lack reliable and affordable transit to get where they need to go every day. That’s in part because the Bay Area has invested hundreds of billions of dollars in highway expansion and commuter rail at the expense of local bus service.

At the same time, homes in both urban and suburban areas that have good access to jobs, such as San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Oakland, and the Tri-Valley, are increasingly unaffordable for people with an average household income. Working families face an impossible choice: Live close to work in overcrowded or unsafe conditions, or struggle through a long and expensive commute to live in a more affordable home far away.

The same policies that drove segregation and disinvestment in communities of color also generated suburban sprawl, excess driving, and air pollution that threaten our health and contribute to the climate crisis. Because social inequality and environmental decline share common roots, they must be tackled together to find shared solutions.