Changing the tide: Ensuring California invests in sustainable transportation choices!

metrolocal-150x150.jpgEvery two years, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) decides which regional transportation projects will receive priority state funding over the next five years in the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). Despite the ground-breaking report from State Smart Transportation Initiative (SSTI) which pushed Caltrans and the CTC to align investments with the state’s environmental goals, the 2014 STIP invested 81 percent of state funds in road and highway projects and only 17 percent in transit! Right now, California leads the nation in its charge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create sustainable communities. Our state transportation dollars need to implement this vision!

ClimatePlan is hard at work to align the STIP to our state’s environmental and planning priorities! In March 2014, we submitted a letter to the California Transportation Commission (CTC) asking that the STIP include better performance measures that track progress on the state’s environmental and planning priorities. Now the CTC is hosting a series of workshops to revise the 2016 STIP guidelines, specifically focusing on improving the performance measures and criteria to evaluate projects submitted for STIP funding. The first CTC workshop on the STIP Guidelines was on June 11th in Sacramento.  As we pushed for the CTC and Caltrans to incorporate performance measures that align with the state’s environmental and planning priorities, we quickly realized that most of the attendees in the room, from staff at Caltrans to other regional and local agencies, still viewed the STIP as a tool primarily to fund highways.

Our biggest takeaway from the first meeting was: we need to continue to push the CTC and Caltrans for better performance measures and criteria that track the regions’ progress on SB 375 and ensure that the projects that receive STIP funding promote the state’s environmental and planning priorities!

The next CTC workshop on the STIP guidelines is on Wednesday, July 16th in Los Angeles. ClimatePlan partners and allies will be in attendance, ready to keep pushing to ensure the dollas in the STIP support projects that reflect our issues, our values, and our communities.

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