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December 3, 2013 > Swalwell announces bill to bring relief to CA communities

Swalwell announces bill to bring relief to CA communities

Submitted By Allison Bormel

U.S. Representative Eric Swalwell (CA-15) announced on November 26, 2013, the Restarting Local Economies Act of 2013, which would make it easier for communities in California to obtain federal redevelopment funding.Ê 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. In the Fifteenth Congressional District, the loss was over $50 million. Swalwell was joined at the press conference by Fremont Mayor Bill Harrison, Union City Mayor Carol Dutra-Vernaci, and East Bay Economic Development Alliance Director Darien Louie.
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Swalwell introduced the legislation at an empty lot [Unified Site] in Fremont, which was slated for mixed-use development with housing and retail; the closure of the Fremont RDA delayed the project.
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ÒThe state's closure of redevelopment agencies has effectively stalled local economic development across the East Bay.Ê With that funding taken away by the State of California, too much land remains undeveloped and potential jobs sit on the sidelines,Ó said Swalwell.
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ÒRedevelopment was the best tool for a city like Fremont to create economic development, build affordable housing, and put people to work,Ó said Harrison. ÒThe loss of redevelopment hurts our city now and in the future, and anything we can do to replace redevelopment should be considered by the Congress. I applaud Congressman Swalwell for his leadership on this issue; he comes from local government and knows what it would do for our cities and communities.Ó
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"The dissolution of redevelopment agencies in California left Union City with unfinished development in our Intermodal Station District,Ó said Dutra-Vernaci. ÒThe area around the Union City BART station is planned for high-density transit-oriented development, which furthers state and regional goals to create more sustainable communities.Ê We welcome the opportunity to compete for federal grant dollars to complete this important project."
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The federal governmentÕs Economic Development AdministrationÕs Economic Adjustment Assistance program provides competitive grants to localities for redevelopment projects, should they meet specific criteria related to challenges to their economy.Ê SwalwellÕs legislation would include the closure of a government entity Ð such as a redevelopment agency Ð as a specific example of an economic challenge to a region, allowing California localities to more easily compete for federal funds.
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In addition, SwalwellÕs bill also would allow greater federal funding contributions to redevelopment activities in cities hurt by an RDA closure Ð even up to 100 percent of the projectÕs cost.
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ÒThis legislation solves a problem facing our cities and represents a commonsense approach to grow our local economies, create jobs, and move the East Bay forward,Ó added Swalwell.

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