Last year, ClimatePlan was a part of a coalition of over 80 organizations that worked to improve Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), which raises $54 billion for transportation projects in California. Now Prop 6, on the November ballot, would repeal SB 1.
Investments we need
SB 1 raises $54 billion over 10 years through vehicle fees, as well as California’s first gas tax increase since 1994.
As finally signed into law, SB 1 does the following:
- Nearly doubles the state’s funding for safe walking and bicycling.
- Triples investment in public transportation — relying on stable revenue sources.
- Supports regional and local planning for Sustainable Community Strategies.
- Includes dedicated funding for workforce development.
Many of these changes wouldn’t have happened if ClimatePlan, California Bicycle Coalition, Public Advocates, PolicyLink, TransForm, and other partners hadn’t met with legislators regularly to talk about these needs. These investments will help California provide safer, cleaner, and more affordable transportation options.
Where SB 1 falls short
SB 1 isn’t perfect. It passed with dirty air provision that allows diesel trucks to keep polluting in communities already burdened with poor air quality. And the majority of its funding programs don’t make targeted investments in disadvantaged communities to bring more equity to transportation spending or include clear commitments to align spending with California’s climate goals.
Big decision in November
Now a new complication looms: On the November ballot, Proposition 6 proposes to repeal SB 1. In fact, it goes farther than repealing SB 1. It would also require any future gas taxes or vehicle license fees to be approved by a statewide electoral vote. This would make it even harder to get desperately needed funds for California’s transportation system!
And even if SB 1 is repealed, the dirty air provision would remain.
Both the San Diego Union-Tribune and Los Angeles Times editorial boards have implored voters to vote no. And some of our partners are speaking out strongly: TransForm has issued a voter guide that says “NO WAY” for voters on Prop 6. MoveLA is running a No on Proposition 6 campaign; you can sign onto their campaign here.
The opportunity at stake
Now, I can’t tell you how to vote on November 6. ClimatePlan is not taking a position. But I will say, if Prop 6 passes, and we lose SB 1, we also lose the opportunity to improve it.
In June, ClimatePlan signed onto a letter to the Air Resources Board calling for transportation justice. What is transportation justice? It’s creating an affordable, accessible, sustainable, clean, efficient, and safe transportation system that provides the most benefits, especially mobility and safety, to California’s most vulnerable residents, while protecting them from harm.
SB 1 is an improvement on previous gas tax measures, but more is still needed. As we show in a recent fact sheet, the majority of California’s transportation funds are still going to roads and highways.
With SB 1, we still have the opportunity to work with legislators to get that $54 billion spent in ways that move the state toward transportation justice. We can get more of those funds spent on community needs, that are actually identified and prioritized by residents of marginalized communities themselves. We can get more of those funds to prioritize projects that meet state climate goals.
Without SB 1, we lose an important opportunity to move state transportation investments toward transportation justice and climate protection. We lose a tool to create communities where all Californians can thrive.