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The Last Days of SB50, California’s Doomed Upzoning Bill

Senate Bill 50, the transit-housing legislation championed as a market-based response to the affordability crisis, will not become law.
Designed to help California cities build more transit-oriented housing, SB50 has been a lighting rod for controversy.
Designed to help California cities build more transit-oriented housing, SB50 has been a lighting rod for controversy.Michael Short/Bloomberg

A controversial bill promoting higher-density housing near transit stops was defeated in a vote by California’s state senate on Thursday. State Bill 50—whose multi-year journey through the state’s lawmaking machinery has been closely watched by housing and transit advocates nationwide—fell three votes short of heading to the desk of Governor Gavin Newsom.

Upon SB50’s death, the attempt to “upzone” large swaths of California in order to produce more housing and relieve the state’s severe affordability crisis has failed to emerge as law for the third year running.