The Governor’s budget includes a $16.2 billion plan for the state’s transportation needs, with $3.2 billion in proposed new revenue. Unfortunately, the Governor’s transportation plan is business as usual, at the expense of public health and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The $3.2 billion in proposed new funding replicates the Governor’s plan introduced in August last year during the transportation special session. The majority of those funds will go towards repaving roads and expanding trade corridors, doing little to expand active transportation and advance transportation mode shift. Details of the proposal include:
It’s been exciting in Sacramento recently, as California, already a leader, keeps pushing ahead to fight climate change:
Governor Jerry Brown signed an executive order requiring the state to cut climate pollutants by 40% below 1990 levels by the year 2030. This makes sure that the state is on track to make the larger cuts required by AB 32, of 80% by 2050.
Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León is leading a package of climate legislation to cut petroleum use in half and codify the state’s greenhouse-gas reduction targets.
Can Caltrans keep up?
As the executive and legislative branches race ahead, the state’s agencies need to keep up. To actually deliver on these policies, the state has to change how it chooses to invest in transportation, moving toward climate-friendly public transit, biking, and walking.
But is the state’s spending actually supporting its goals? At Caltrans, at least on one plan, the answer may be “nope.”
The Interregional Plan goes the wrong way
ClimatePlan partners have been working on several state transportation funding plans and policies. One, we are dismayed to report, seems totally stuck.
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.