This past Monday, Governor Newsom announced that climate pollution continues to drop–which is great news! However, greenhouse gas (GHG) emission continues to rise from the transportation sector, primarily from passenger vehicles. Back in January, Governor Newsom released a bold proposition in his first budget: the state would withhold gas tax funds from regions who did not meet state housing goals. While the details were murky (as you can see in this excellent article from Streetsblog California), the idea was tantalizing to many sustainable transportation advocates. Why? Because transportation and housing have a clear nexus: they help to determine the true “affordability” of a place, as shown by the Center for Neighborhood Technology’s H&T Affordability Index. Transportation is also one of the biggest drivers for sprawl development, which leads to longer commutes, poor air quality, lack of access to social services, and encroachment on agricultural lands and wildlife habitats.
However, legislators pushed back strongly on tying transportation funding and housing performance. A compromise was reached for the budget: the state can fine communities that don’t plan for affordable housing construction. While ClimatePlan’s staff and partners understand and value compromise, California needs ambitious and thoughtful solutions to solve the deeply intertwined and complex problem of housing affordability, climate change, and transportation. Transportation cannot remain in a silo from housing and climate; to solve these issues we have to recognize (and act on) their inherent connections.Read more