Will the 2016 ITIP continue to fund more highway projects or align with new sustainable laws to promote multi-modal transportation?
December 7, 2015 1 Comment
In October, the draft 2016 Interregional Transportation Improvement Program (ITIP) was released for public comment. The ITIP funds transportation projects that improve travel for the movement of people and goods across California. As noted in the 2016 ITIP, this is one of the many state funding programs that covers a wide breadth of areas including high-speed rail, intercity passenger rail, bus transit, active transportation, urban rail, and more.
Unfortunately in the past, we’ve seen a vast majority of ITIP funding go towards highway expansion projects that do include robust active transportation components such as complete streets. Without these types of meaningful active transportation improvements, we will not meet our greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals or create livable, sustainable communities where everyone can walk or bicycle to key destinations such as work, school, and home. With limited state funds, it is critical that our state transportation dollars fund projects that promote increased physical activity and help us reach our climate goals.
In November, the Coalition for Active Transportation Leadership (CATL) submitted comment letter on the draft 2016 ITIP, calling for:
- Prioritization of projects that reduce GHG, improve public health, and meaningfully benefit disadvantaged communities: For the 2016 ITIP, transportation projects that achieve multiple co-benefits, align with our goals to reduce GHG, and meaningfully benefit disadvantaged communities should be prioritized for spending.
- Apply 2016 State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) performance indicators and cost-effectiveness criteria to reprogrammed projects in the 2016 ITIP: With limited state funding available, the 2016 ITIP has reprogrammed previous ITIP projects instead of funding new transportation projects and elected to not use the 2016 STIP performance measures and cost-effectiveness criteria. We believe this is a missed opportunity to reprogram ITIP projects on their ability to move forward our climate goals. For the 2016 ITIP, we recommend using the 2016 STIP performance measures and cost-effectiveness criteria to elevate the projects with the highest ability to reduce GHG.
- The 2016 ITIP should not fund any highway expansion projects: We are concerned that the 2016 ITIP continues to move forward capacity expansion projects despite how they could undermine our ability to meet our state’s climate goals. We recommend the ITIP, in the 2016 reprogramming and going forward, does not fund any highway expansion projects.
- Projects should clearly state the improvements and how they will benefit communities: Projects should explicitly detail project impacts – both positive and negative in terms of environmental health and safety, as well as any benefits provided in terms of mobility, safety, and public health.
We submitted our comments in November and plan to continue our work with Caltrans and the California Transportation Commission (CTC) to further improve the 2016 ITIP. In the coming months, there will be public hearings on the ITIP so stay tuned for more information.