The secretary ofthe California Business, Transportation and Housing agency came to town Monday to address the Commonwealth Club in San Jose and speak about the state’s infrastructure. The Examiner caught up with Secretary Bonner as he drove from The City to San Jose.
Your office covers a pretty wide range of issues. How do you stay relevant and avoid becoming diluted? The whole theory behind this agency — business, transportation and housing — is kind of a recognition that these are all interrelated and intertwined areas of responsibility. Our primary focus is ensuring a strong business climate in California, and business relies on a strong infrastructure. It also relies on having a sufficient housing supply. Those three things rely upon one another.
What is the challenge facing California’s infrastructure in the coming decades? There are three: One is the tremendous growth and population that’s expected in California. … Second is our increasing trade activity, particularly driven by growth in China and India. Over half of the goods and services that come into the U.S. come in through California. Those two things create the need for the third significant factor, which is resources — money. We know that we’ve got a significant need statewide, something approaching $500 billion statewide of infrastructure need.
Would you say the high cost of housing here reflects the economic climate, or is it relatively inflated? The economic conditions here are pretty good. I think the cost of housing is an issue of supply and demand. You have significant demand but limited supply — particularly a limited supply of land that is zoned to accommodate the new units we need.
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