July 30, 2015 Leave a comment
It’s increasingly understood that if California wants to meet its ambitious climate goals, we need to move away from transportation and land use planning that centers around the automobile. The state needs to align its transportation funding to support the creation of livable, healthy communities that integrate walking and bicycling to school, work, home, and key destinations. The State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) is one of the state transportation funding sources that has traditionally lacked strong ties to our state’s sustainability goals and primarily funded big, expensive highway projects. In fact, 81 percent of the 2014 STIP went to highway expansion while only 2 percent funded active transportation.
Over the past year, the National Partnership worked with key statewide partners to better align the STIP with our state’s ambitious goals to shift funding away from highway expansion to focus on creating livable communities where residents – especially children – could safely walk or bicycle. Our work has focused on shaping the 2016 STIP guidelines to better reflect California’s regional and statewide goals. Last week, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) held a workshop to update stakeholders on the 2016 STIP. And there was some good news! From our previous comment letter to our most recent one, we saw the following improvements in the draft 2016 STIP guidelines:
- Recognition of state goals: The 2016 STIP will now recognize regional and statewide goals and objectives in the improvement of the state’s multimodal transportation system
- Simplified Performance Measures: Performance Measures went down from 34 to 14! They now focus on vehicle miles traveled (VMT), mode share, and fatalities/injuries per capita per mode
- Improved transparency: the CTC will host workshops in Northern and Southern California on the Interregional Transportation Improvement Plan (ITIP) and all regional agencies will post their Regional Transportation Improvement Plans (RTIPs) on-line
- Consideration of Governor Brown’s Executive Order B-30-15: The 2016 STIP guidelines require regional agencies to consider the Executive Order – which calls for 40 percent reduction from 1990 levels in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 – when considering new projects for the 2016 STIP
- Identify the Exemptions: Regional agencies will now need to identify which proposed or current transportation projects are exempt from SB 375 – which set GHG reduction targets for each of the region’s transportation plans.
While we celebrate these improvements, there is still more work to be done to ensure that this state funding source prioritizes walking and bicycling. Right now – due to lack of funding – it is likely that the 2016 STIP Fund Estimate and Guidelines will be delayed from the original August adoption date. With that delay, the National Partnership will work with our partners to submit a follow-up letter to further emphasize that the 2016 STIP must prioritize transportation projects – specifically bicycle and walking – that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support our state goals.
For those who want to get involved, please email Chanell at chanell “AT” saferoutespartnership “DOT” org