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Transportation: Smarter Choices

San-Fran-CA-Bay-Bridge-Bike-2Although California has set ambitious goals to fight climate change and create more sustainable communities, the state’s investments in transportation are not supporting its own goals.

ClimatePlan and partners are working to align the state’s transportation investments with its climate goals — so that projects that get funded promote public health, sustainability, and social equity.

Current areas of focus are:

Transportation Equity Legislation

In spring 2016, ClimatePlan partners supported a package of state legislation in the state Assembly to improve all Californians’ access to affordable, reliable transportation. Four bills were proposed, and two continue to advance:

  – The Discounted Student Transit Pass Act (AB 2222) (Holden, D-Pasadena) would create a new transit pass program for low-income 6th-12th grade and college students. Official bill information here.

 – The Active Transportation Planning and Education Act (AB 2796) (Bloom, D-Santa Monica) would require 10% of the state’s Active Transportation Program funding for walking and bicycling improvements to go toward 1) helping communities plan for improvements and 2) providing safety education and encouragement programs, including those for schoolchildren. Official bill information here.

We are continuing to work with partners in planning for next year’s legislative session.

Transportation Funding Plans

The State Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP) allocates funding for state highway improvements, intercity rail, and regional highway and transit improvements. Every two years, the plan is developed by Caltrans and regional agencies and approved by the California Transportation Commission. Unfortunately, the state’s sustainability goals have done little to change these allocations: the projects developed by Caltrans for the STIP have continued to widen highways instead of improving active transportation and public transit.

ClimatePlan sent a letter to Caltrans and the CTC recommending that the state adopt performance measures that support statewide environmental sustainability; adopt health and equity goals as part of the STIP; and reform the project review process to improve transparency and meet state goals.

ClimatePlan and partners have also worked to improve the California Transportation Plan (CTP), the State Highway Operations and Protection Program (SHOPP) and the Interregional Transportation Strategic Plan (ITSP). Each of these plans guides state transportation investments, and each needs improvement. These plans are updated about every five years, so stay tuned for continued advocacy.

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