California Legislature Passes Transportation Funding Package, Including $1 Billion For ATP!

california_state_capitol_front_1999Yesterday the California Senate and Assembly passed the long-gestating transportation funding package after a long debate. Senate Bill 1 will provide 10 years worth of funding for transportation improvements across the state, including $1 billion in new funding for the Active Transportation Program. This funding will be folded into the State Highway Account and will likely be disbursed annually or biannually in $100-200 million increments as part of the regular ATP Cycle process.

We’ve been monitoring the transportation funding proposal for several years as it morphed from a “special session” of the California legislature in 2015 that ended without resolution in November 2016, to SB 1 and AB 1 in December 2016. The bill is not perfect and our coalition has had many concerns along the way, including the last-minute insertion of an exemption of trucks from diesel emissions standards. But we also made significant process in the final bill, boosting ATP from $800 million to $1 billion; significantly boosting public transportation spending; removing CEQA exemptions for roadway projects; and removing cap-and-trade revenue from the bill out of concerns about fluctuating auction proceeds.

Below you can read the coalition statement we issued with over 30 of our partners following the passage of the bill. A print copy is available here:

For Immediate Release

April 6, 2017

 Coalition statement about passage of SB1

 Statement from 32 organizations representing walking, bicycling, public transit, public health, social equity, environmental, and environmental justice concerns on today’s passage of transportation funding bill SB 1

 SB 1 will make major improvements to the transportation system in California, and our coalition of more than 80 organization supported many elements of the package. We appreciate the bill’s focus on fixing roads first and investing significant dollars in public transportation and safe walking and biking, yet we believe there is still more work ahead to target and prioritize transportation investment to benefit disadvantaged communities.

 Several key improvements to SB 1 would have won our support for the package. However, transportation justice means both funding the transportation needs of low-income communities and protecting vulnerable residents from health and other harms. Unfortunately, the bill also includes an unacceptable loophole to allow diesel trucks to keep polluting in communities already burdened with poor air quality. We cannot support a deal that sacrifices public health for public transportation — California communities need both.

 “We deeply appreciate all the work that went into making this bill as good as it was. It has come a long way, and that represents significant progress for public transportation, walking, and biking.” –Joshua Stark, State Policy Director, TransForm.

 As amended recently through the efforts of the Governor, Legislative leadership, Transportation Secretary Brian Kelly, and others, SB 1 now:

  • Triples our investment in public transportation relying on stable revenue sources compared to a previous version of the bill,
  • Nearly doubles the state’s funding for safe walking and biking,
  • Does not further encumber Cap-and-Trade revenues,
  • Eliminates dangerous and unnecessary changes to CEQA,
  • Supports regional and local planning efforts for sustainable communities,
  • Includes funding for workforce development.

 “We commend the Legislature and Governor for including new transit operating funds in SB 1. More frequent and affordable bus service will connect low-income families, seniors and students to opportunity, and help us meet our climate goals.” –Richard Marcantonio, Managing Attorney, Public Advocates Inc.

“Transportation remains the single largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions in California. With our state’s visionary climate goals, it’s critical that our transportation dollars keep us on track to achieve these goals. SB 1 provides $25 million a year to support local and regional agencies’ planning efforts to build sustainable, equitable, and healthy communities. These types of investments will put us on the right track to achieve our state’s ambitious climate goals.” –Chanell Fletcher, Associate Director, ClimatePlan

 “We’re proud that a diverse coalition of more than 80 groups committed to environmental justice, climate protection, public health, and sustainable transportation stood in solidarity throughout this process. Our collective effort moved this deal a long way toward providing safer, cleaner, and more affordable transportation options, and we were disappointed that the last-minute deal adding the trucking provision kept us from supporting.” –Jeanie Ward-Waller, Policy Director, California Bicycle Coalition

 “Together we will continue to fight to reverse this “dirty trucking” policy and ensure that the communities most burdened by poverty and by air pollution from transportation benefit from the state’s investments in transportation. We will continue to fight, in short, for transportation justice.” –Bill Magavern, Policy Director, Coalition for Clean Air

 “We look forward to working with our allies throughout California to ensure that our state’s investments in transportation infrastructure and services benefit—and do not burden—disadvantaged communities, rural and urban alike.” –Phoebe Seaton, Co-Director, Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability

“The passage of the transportation package represents a crucial investment in public transit, but the exemption of ports from our clean air standards is too high a price for our most vulnerable communities. Californians should not be forced to choose between infrastructure improvements, access to public transportation, and the health of their families.” –Sarah Rose, CEO, California League of Conservation Voters

* * * *

Statement issued by the following organizations: Bike East Bay, California Bicycle Coalition, California League of Conservation Voters, California Walks, Central California Asthma Collaborative, Center for Climate Change and Health, ChangeLab Solutions, ClimatePlan, Climate Resolve, Coalition for Clean Air, COAST, Ditching Dirty Diesel Collaborative, Greenlining Institute, Housing California, Investing in Place, Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, Medical Advocates for Healthy Air, Natural Resources Defense Council, Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition, PolicyLink, Public Advocates, Regional Asthma Management and Prevention (RAMP), Safe Routes to School National Partnership, Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition, Shasta Living Streets, San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, Sunflower Alliance, TransForm, Trust for Public Land, Walk Long Beach, and Walk Oakland Bike Oakland

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