State Transportation (Needs) Improvement Plan

We last heard from our steering committee member, NRDC’s Amanda Eaken, regarding the Caltrans review commissioned by Jerry Brown – a review that suggested a wholesale overhaul and realignment of Caltrans to better support California’s environmental goals.

In her latest blog, Amanda takes the California Transportation Commission (CTC) to task for anemic changes to the way the State Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP) sets priorities for projects over the next five years. Essentially, despite the influence of SB 375, the plan continues to focus funding on building and widening roads instead of innovative transit and active transportation projects. These selections run counter to new information about the increasing popularity of public transportation and numerous studies documenting the economic and public health and safety benefits of active transportation infrastructure, and fail to reflect the recommendations listed in the review.

While she acknowledges metropolitan planning organizations are the ones submitting these uninspiring projects for approval, Amanda writes that the CTC should commit to the following:

  • Prior to the next STIP in 2016, adopt performance measures for the STIP that support statewide sustainability, health, and equity goals, including a comprehensive reform of the development and review process for the Interregional Transportation Improvement Program (ITIP)—the piece of the STIP that is allocated by the state—as well as the Regional Transportation Improvement Programs (RTIPs).
  • Provide a forum where the California Transportation Commission can clearly communicate to the public how STIP investments are contributing to climate goals and benefitting the state, and where Californians feel empowered—from the outset of the process—to ensure that their needs are recognized through planning and investments. By making the process transparent and accessible to the average citizen, the Commission can help ensure that plans and investments accurately reflect what the public wants and needs from its transportation system.

Click here to read the rest of Amanda’s analysis.

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