We believe that all people should have access to housing they can afford. That’s why Amazon launched the $2 billion Housing Equity Fund in 2021 to create or preserve 20,000 affordable homes in our headquarters locations.
The Washington Legislature is currently debating a bill to promote more Transit Oriented Developments (TOD) across the state. According to the Urban Institute, a nonprofit research organization, more than half of new housing in the region is being permitted in areas near transit, yet a third of the land near transit remains off limits to the construction of anything other than single-family homes.
This Senate bill, SB 5466, will set minimum density standards next to high-capacity transit stations, including light rail and bus rapid transit. The goal is to rapidly increase affordable housing near public transit. While only governments at the local, state, and federal level have the capacity to implement more effective housing policies, we believe that the private and public sectors can work together to address this challenge. SB 5466 is an innovative and equitable way to accelerate the construction of affordable housing.
We have supported this approach in the Puget Sound region, home to our headquarters, with a $100 million commitment to fund TOD. This investment will allow Sound Transit to build up to 1,200 affordable housing units near light rail stations across the region.
And now, Amazon is pleased to announce it is prepared to expand its existing commitment to TOD in Washington state by offering a new investment of $25 million, directed from the $2 billion Housing Equity Fund, in the public-private partnership program, to be established by Section 4 of SB 5466. This pilot program is an innovative way to provide new funding for affordable housing in high-capacity transit corridors across the state.
TOD supports the community in many ways. It promotes racial and economic equity. It benefits low- to moderate-income families by accelerating the creation of affordable homes, and easy access to quality transit connects residents to jobs, education, and opportunities across the region. SB 5466 will ensure that people across Washington state will be able to afford housing next to public transit for years to come. We are proud to support these important investments in affordable housing for communities across the state.