Our regional strategies in housing, transportation, and economic development improve the quality of life for Western Riverside County and San Diego residents.

FAQs

What is the Interregional Partnership (Partnership)?

The Interregional Partnership is a voluntary partnership between elected officials representing the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), the Western Riverside Council of Governments (WRCOG), and other key decision-makers from public and private sector organizations.

Why was the Partnership formed?

The Partnership was formed in 2001 to address the challenges of serious imbalances in jobs and housing growth across the two-county area.

Western Riverside communities provide a growing portion of the needed housing for workers in the San Diego region.

What is the significance of this imbalance in jobs and housing growth?

Increasing numbers of long distance commuters generated by land use decisions will have serious impacts on transportation, our environment, and our general quality of life.

How will the Partnership address this situation?

The Partnership was convened to establish a framework that allows local policy makers from the member councils of governments and the private sector to address the interrelationships between the location of jobs and housing and the concurrent impacts on transportation and air quality. The Partnership's strength is in its diversity; it has representatives from communities on opposite ends of the same problem. Each of its member's communities is faced with impacts from different aspects of the situation: rapid, imbalanced and uncoordinated growth.

What are the Partnership's goals?

The primary goal is to foster more sustainable land use patterns by providing employment closer to where people live in housing-rich areas and more affordable housing closer to employment in job-rich areas. The overall intent is to reduce the number of work-related vehicle trips and the amount of commuter miles traveled. More specifically, the Partnership's objectives are to:

- Achieve a more equitable jobs/housing balance,
- Improve transportation and air quality,
- Enhance the quality of life throughout our interregional area,
- Pursue interregional economic development opportunities, and
- Establish more sustainable methods of moving people between their homes and distant jobs.

How will the Partnership achieve its goals?

Working through a committee structure, the Partnership will identify and prioritize issues related to jobs/housing balance, recommend strategies and model approaches to address the issues, and promote adoption of its recommendations into existing jurisdictional and agency plans and programs. Evaluation will occur on both a policy and a technical level.

How will the Partnership's efforts be funded?

The Partnership's efforts are funded through an Interregional Partnership (IRP) Grant from the State, which is designed to address the impacts of substantial jobs/housing imbalances. Distribution and monitoring of the grant is under the direction of the State Department of Housing and Community Development.

What is the IRP Grant money to be used for?

IRP Grant money can be used to fund a number of eligible activities designed to encourage economic investment and job creation near available housing and to increase housing development near major employment centers.

What does it take to achieve a more equitable a jobs/housing balance?

The concept of jobs/housing balance is based on the premise that the overall number of commuting vehicle trips, and the resultant vehicle miles traveled, can be effectively reduced when both sufficient jobs are available locally to balance the employment demands of the community and housing that is affordable to the workers who fill those jobs also is locally available.

How is jobs/housing balance measured?

Jobs/housing balance can be measured or defined in different ways by examining several indicators, such as the jobs-to-housing ratio, home-to-work trips (origin/designation), the number of jobs per capita, and other similar factors.

Why isn't the market achieving balance on its own?

There are factors that work against achievement of a jobs/housing balance. These include the availability and cost of land for housing, commerce and industry; local land use policies and zoning codes; allowable density/intensity and the types of uses authorized; the permitting process; and growth-control measures, among others.

Is land availability and cost a constraint in this case?

It is not a constraint within Western Riverside County. In fact, abundant and affordable land is stimulating much of the housing and job growth that is occurring in the Inland Empire.

Conversely, in the San Diego region, land for housing development will reach its carrying capacity much more quickly.

What can the Partnership do to correct these contributory land use constraints?

The Partnership establishes an ongoing relationship between agencies and interests that share a common interest in resolving growth related-concerns. The Partnership is developing an information base from which sound mitigation strategies and policy recommendations can be drawn.

What types of strategies and policy recommendations will help to shape future growth and commute patterns?

Examples of strategies and recommendations that could be encouraged include: integrating the concept of jobs/housing balance as part of community and regional plans; making nearby housing availability a major consideration for locating employment centers; using incentives where appropriate; and increasing the capacity of I-15 and transportation options available to interregional commuters.

Who will implement these strategies and policy recommendations?

The Partnership will likely develop recommendations on policies and implementing mechanisms to assist local government officials achieve the following objectives:

- Alleviate roadblocks to building infill/redevelopment housing and to converting brownfield sites for housing;
- Encourage transit-oriented development;
- Re-evaluate zoning policies and rewrite zoning ordinances to make more land available for housing construction;
- Institute appropriate state and local finance reform to help increase incentives for housing production by reducing local government reliance on sales tax revenues, and competition among jurisdictions for sales tax generating land uses;
- Target education and research toward new economy jobs in housing-rich areas;
- Institute community-based job training; and
- Sponsor business incubation programs.

Have there been previous efforts in the region to address jobs/housing imbalances?

Yes. Several years ago, SCAG attempted to develop a policy growth forecast that would move the six-county region towards a long-range projection that increased jobs in housing rich areas and vice-versa. That proposal was met with considerable criticism by interests who claimed that government should not try to dictate area land uses through policy, and was subsequently abandoned. In addition, SANDAG has been working on implementing land use distribution smart growth policies that would help provide enough housing in the region and reduce commute travel time and distance.

Isn't the geographic imbalance between jobs and housing a problem that has largely been self-correcting?

Yes. Historically, jobs have moved from their original centers to housing-rich suburbs to take advantage of lower land and labor costs and provide shorter commute trips for their employees.

If jobs/housing imbalances are self-correcting, then why is this effort necessary?

There are several emerging trends that threaten to exacerbate problems associated with imbalances. For example, the high-tech and knowledge-based New Economy firms are relatively insensitive to traditional land and labor cost factors. They tend to be collaborative in nature and tend to concentrate in urban core locations. When housing is limited around high-tech nodes, affluent knowledge workers displace low and moderate-income groups, which has caused significant problems in the Bay Area recently. The dispersion of New Economy companies to housing-rich areas may not follow traditional patterns because of their tendency to coalesce and the high priority placed on locating in culturally rich urban environments. In Southern California, high-tech clusters are located predominantly in coastal locations.

Isn't the western portion of the Inland Empire slated for significant future job growth?

Yes. Still, much of the Inland Empire will remain housing-rich in 2020. Although job growth has been substantial in the Inland Empire, much of this growth has been in relatively low-paying economic sectors, and the gap in per capita income between it and the rest of the region has been increasing.

Where does the State Government stand on jobs/housing balance issues?

The concept of jobs/housing balance is reinforced by recent legislative proposals. AB 2864 (Torlakson) established the Jobs/Housing Balance Improvement Program, which provides state funding to local governments for projects that will mitigate the imbalance of jobs and housing in local communities.

What are some of the strategies for achieving jobs/housing balance that will be examined for potential application as part of this effort?

Strategies that will be examined include:

- Increasing the use of mass transit and other alternative transportation options;
- Locating higher density housing near employment centers;
- Locating employment centers and other job opportunities in proximity to affordable housing locations;
- Promoting in-fill and mixed-use developments;
- Actively recruiting businesses that will utilize the local work force;
- Providing affordable housing opportunities within the community;
- Parking reductions;
- Economic inducements;
- Targeted education and research;
- Fiber-optic cable investments; and
- Improved transit service.

Won't planned transportation improvements ease the situation?

Significant investments in the region's arterial and freeway networks will continue to be needed to accommodate future growth. However, planned improvements on I-15 will not be able to fully accommodate existing and projected growth if current patterns of development are sustained.