Help Caltrans on the road to recovery: Comment on the California Transportation Plan 2040

California has big goals to fight climate change. But the current trend is that more Californians are driving longer distances. That’s bad for the climate and for all of us. The state has got to invest in more and better alternatives to driving, modernizing our transportation system to reflect our societal and economic goals.


Next stop: Caltrans

Caltrans — whose name many people associate only with highways — is starting to recognize the need for change. The agency is on the road to recovery, but it needs your help to get there.

Caltrans updated its mission and its goals. Now, Caltrans has released a draft of the California Transportation Plan 2040, a plan to meet the state’s future mobility needs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

A good start; your input needed

The agency has asked for public input, and is holding public workshops around the state (see list below). Our initial recommendations are below.

The new draft plan does improve on the 2007 plan, incorporating state policies to reduce climate change and create more sustainable communities (AB 32, SB 375, SB 391, and Executive Orders on climate change). The draft plan also declares the intention to “avoid funding projects that add road capacity and increased maintenance costs.” This focus on sustainability, climate, and economy is an encouraging start.

But make no mistake: this will require major, major change. For example, the plan’s “Alternative 3” achieves state goals by projecting a 75% increase in auto operating costs, doubled transit service, and doubled transit speeds.

That’s what’s needed. A whole new direction.

ClimatePlan is submitting a comment letter with partners, which we’ll post when it’s ready. We hope you will speak up as well. Want to work with us on this? Please email our workgroup chair, Jeanie Ward Waller at Safe Routes to School National Partnership.

Recommendations from ClimatePlan and partners:

Here’s what Caltrans to do to make the plan really effective:

– Align transportation decisions — especially funding — with the CTP 2040. And make it easy to check consistency, with fewer performance metrics, a simple list of performance standards, and recommendations of what NOT to do.

– Include the latest Regional Transportation Plans / Sustainable Community Strategies (right now there is some very outdated info in there on greenhouse gas reductions).

– Make recommendations specific and actionable. For example, to achieve Alternative 3 above: What can Caltrans do to double transit service? And by what year must transit service be doubled?

– Consider the beneficial and adverse impacts of transportation projects on low-income and disadvantaged communities, and their different needs (e.g., bus vs rail).

– Add recommendations on shared use mobility, such as car-sharing and ride-sharing.

Meeting details for CTP 2040 Public Workshops:

San Diego:
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Valencia Park/Malcolm X Branch Library and Performing Arts Center
5148 Market Street, San Diego

Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Riverside City College
4800 Magnolia Avenue, Riverside

Los Angeles:
Thursday, March 19, 2015
Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG)
818 West 7th St, 12th floor, Los Angeles

Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Fresno City College
1101 E. University Avenue, Fresno

Thursday, March 26, 2015
Joseph P. Bort MetroCenter
101 Eighth Street, Oakland

To register, visit

If any accommodations are needed for persons with disabilities, please contact Bev at (916) 445-2079 or email [email protected]. Requests should be made as soon as possible but at least five days prior to the scheduled event.

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