Implementation of SB1 Transportation Law Moves Ahead

The California Transportation Commission (CTC) continued public workshops to get input on guidelines for the many grant programs created by this year’s transportation funding bill, SB 1. On July 21, CTC staff came to Los Angeles for stakeholder input into the Congested Corridors and Local Partnership programs. We are pleased that the Congested Corridors program will seek to reduce congestion by emphasizing people rather than just cars–meaning that solutions like biking and walking that reduce congestion would be eligible. However, we are concerned that CTC’s plan to create separate formulaic grant pools in the name of geographic equity misses an opportunity to steer funds to communities enduring the worst pollution, regardless of the size of the MPO in which they are located. We will keep working to influence SB1’s implementation, and will keep you posted as funding opportunities arise.

Cap-and-Trade Renewal Passes, But With Concerning Provisions

As has been widely reported, on July 18, the Legislature passed the climate bill AB 398 which extends the state’s cap-and-trade program through 2030. The extension was approved by a two-thirds majorities in both houses, a margin sought by Governor Brown to stave off potential constitutional challenges. Revenues from the cap-and-trade system are deposited into the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, which in turn funds in part or in whole several programs that the National Partnership advocates for due to their ability to fund active transportation. This includes a portion of the Active Transportation Program, as well as critical grant programs for transit capital and affordable housing that can include active transportation in eligible projects. We are relieved that allocations to these programs will be extended along with the cap-and-trade system, as early negotiations indicated that legislators were considering ending those investments in favor of returning cap-and-trade proceeds to residents in the form of vouchers. Securing a two-thirds majority, however, required compromises that we fear may drastically weaken the state’s ability to reach its greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets, and exacerbate inequities and environmental injustice. Most problematic is the ban on local Air Resources Boards limiting or regulating polluting industries such as oil refineries in their districts. The extension of cap-and-trade does little to nothing to change the status quo in which such environmental hazards are disproportionately located in low income communities and communities of color.

%d bloggers like this: