A Changing California Transportation Commission
The California Transportation Commission's first meeting in 2020 says a lot about the priorities of the commission moving forward. The CTC is undergoing many changes in leadership and these changes signal that now is the opportune time to pivot from car-centric policies to multimodal solutions.
Some leadership transitions include:
- Susan Bransen, the current Executive Director will be retiring on Feb 14, 2020, after four years of service.
- Mitchell Weiss will be the new Executive Director, replacing Bransen.
- Joseph Lyou, President and CEO of Coalition for Clean Air was appointed to the commission by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon.
- Paul Van Konynenburg was selected as the new chair of the commission despite his term ending February 1, 2020.
- Tamika Butler, resigned from the commission after serving only a few months, citing a conflict of interest.
We at ClimatePlan are disappointed to see Butler resign; their voice was one of a few that uplifted equity. It is important that Butler’s seat is filled with another champion for equity. When picking new commissioners, we urge the Governor to review the list of candidates submitted by ClimatePlan and our partners. Assembly Speaker Rendon newest appointment, Joseph Lyou, was one of the recommendations. Lyou has over 25 years of experience fighting for environmental health and justice.Read more
State Policy: Opportunities and Challenges at the end of 2019
In October, we at ClimatePlan were elated to announce Governor Newsom’s latest effort to tackle climate change – Executive Order N-19-19 – which required the State Transportation Agency will leverage $5 billion in annual state transportation spending to:
- Align the state’s climate goals with the state’s transportation spending.
- Reduce driving by strengthening the connection between jobs, housing, and transportation.
- Reduce congestion by investing in innovative strategies that encourage people to shift from cars to other modes of transportation.
- Invest in transportation options that improve Californians’ health such as walking, bicycling, and other active modes.
- Mitigate costs for lower-income Californians.
This type of action is critical if California wants to avoid even more destructive wildfires.Read more
Governor releases ambitious Executive Actions. What’s next for California’s transportation system?
Almost two weeks ago, Governor Gavin Newsom released an ambitious set of executive actions targeted at advancing California’s climate leadership. California continues to set the bar for the nation in its efforts to fight climate change through its innovative policies. With laws like SB 375, which require regions in California to develop plans to show how they will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) from passenger vehicles and light duty trucks—and an ambitious target of reducing emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030—it’s clear that California’s leadership on climate change provides a model with global implications.Read more
Taking a step forward: A better way to condition transportation funding on housing performance
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