Wins for state transportation funding – Now weigh in!

To fight climate change, we need to make it easier for people to drive less, by supporting public transportation and helping people walk and bike more. The laws AB 32 and SB 375 point the way there, but the real test is what transportation projects actually get funded.

ClimatePlan and its partners are paying close attention to this, and you can help.

Wins, workshops, and a survey: Read on for the full update, or skip to the bottom to learn about the workshops this week and the survey you can take.

Funding sustainable transportation:
The California Transportation Commission (CTC) decides which regional and interregional transportation projects receive state funding through the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).

ClimatePlan and our partners have worked hard to strengthen the STIP guidelines to better align funding to support projects that meet the goals of AB 32 and SB 375—that is, projects that reduce greenhouse gases and support sustainability, health, and equity. In September, we submitted a comment letter on these guidelines, and in October, a new draft came out.

Success! The most recent draft of the guidelines includes many of the improvements we urged, as follows:

•    Include a clear policy objective for the STIP investments based on state goals:
IMPROVED! The guidelines will “recognize regional and statewide goals and objectives in the improvements of the state’s multi-modal transportation.”

•    Improve and clarify performance measures: Align the STIP guidelines’ performance measures with state planning goals, limit the number of performance measures, and help regions understand how to use them:
IMPROVED! Caltrans and regional Metropolitan Transportation Organizations (MPOs) are required to provide an evaluation of project performance measures we asked for, including: Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) per capita, Commute mode share (travel to work), Fatalities and Serious Injuries per capita, Percent of Housing and Jobs within ½ mile of Transit Stops with Frequent Transit Service, and Changes in Acres of Agricultural Lands

•    Update the cost/benefit analysis to reflect the co-benefits from new performance measures:
IMPROVED! This now includes benefits beyond greenhouse gas reduction.

•    Measure performance of individual projects:
IMPROVED!
MPOs and Caltrans must include a specific evaluation for each project that “addresses the changes to the built environment and, for larger projects, the associated benefits of those changes.” The evaluation should provide data such as new bicycle/pedestrian lane/sidewalk miles, additional transit miles or vehicles, and miles of new track. The evaluation also addresses the benefits of the project – based on the updated performance measures.

•    Improve transparency in the review process for regional and interregional projects:
IMPROVED! There are now two public hearings—see below—coming up on interregional projects, such as state highways, intercity passenger rail and commuter rail. There is also a survey.

Thank you:
We thank our partners and applaud the action by the CTC staff on this. These are important improvements!

Opportunity to weigh in:
One of our biggest victories was the commitment from state agencies to increase transparency in funding. Here’s our chance to use it:

You can weigh in on the Interregional Transportation Strategic Plan (ISTP). This plan is Caltrans’ tool for identifying and prioritizing interregional transportation projects across the state. This is an opportunity to improve big projects like state highways, intercity passenger rail, and commuter rail, identifying the areas of greatest need and focusing investment there.

Workshop dates and times below. Or fill out the survey if you can’t attend.

Please speak up and say:
•    Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Interregional Transportation Strategic Plan (ITSP), which helps meet the transportation needs of millions of Californians.

•    Ensure the ITSP is truly multi-modal: incorporate high-speed rail into the ITSP, go beyond the minimum legal requirement of 15% and devote a larger percentage of the ISTP to fund intercity rail projects, and ensure the ITSP better reflects the priorities from Caltrans’ new mission to provide a safe, sustainable, integrated and efficient transportation system to enhance California’s economy and livability.

•    Prioritize investments that support the state sustainability’s goals: incorporate the goals of SB 391 and SB 375 into the goals of the Interregional Transportation Strategic Plan (ISTP). We need to fund transportation that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and helps people get where they need to go in a safe and healthy way.

Workshops:

REDDING WORKSHOP
Monday, November 17
3:30 PM-5:30 PM
Caltrans District 2 Office
West Venture Lassen Training Room
1031 Butte St. #118
Redding, CA

SALINAS WORKSHOP
Tuesday, November 18
3:30 PM-5:30 PM
Salinas Cesar Chavez Library
615 Williams Rd.
Salinas, CA

FONTANA WORKSHOP
Wednesday, November 19
3:30 PM-5:30 PM
Caltrans District 8, Fontana Office
Management Center Independent ?Assurance Bldg.
13970 Victoria St.
Fontana, CA

More information on the Interregional Transportation Strategic Plan on Caltrans’ website here.

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