Workshops solicit input on targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions

CARB pic

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) hosted three workshops on Senate Bill (SB) 375 in Bakersfield, Los Angeles and San Francisco to discuss the staff recommendations for regional greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.

Originally adopted in 2010, SB 375 set out to utilize the transportation planning process to achieve greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals as part of the state’s strategy on climate change. SB 375 legislation requires each Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) to create a Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) to achieve GHG reduction. This year, CARB initiated a process with the state’s MPOs to revisit and update their targets for reducing GHG.

CARB staff analyzed how to reach California’s climate and air quality goals, considering what each MPO could achieve with additional funding (such as the new funding approved through SB1).  The CARB staff report makes the case for stronger SB 375 targets and highlights how it would enable the state to make significant strides to achieve its goals of a 25 percent reduction in GHG by 2035. CARB’s Scoping Plan identifies a reduction in Vehicles Miles Travelled (VMT) as a critical strategy to reduce GHG. Furthermore, the staff report’s analysis of the Scoping Plan’s demonstrated public health co-benefits of community health and air quality as a result of SB 375 reduction targets of GHG and VMT. CARB staff ultimately proposed an increase for each MPO for their 2035 targets. For example, SCAG’s new targets would change from a reduction of 13% (though the region is on track for an 18% reduction) to a reduction of 21%, and MTC’s would change from a 15% reduction (though the region is on track for a 16% reduction) to a 19% reduction. CARB’s recommendations were met with mixed sentiments from MPOs and their jurisdictions, especially from the SCAG region, who were concerned that the targets were greater than they could meet.

At the Los Angeles workshop, opponents of higher targets expressed concern over current transportation spending formulas, which they say give little flexibility to support projects that reduce VMT. Some were also concerned that increased VMT from lower gas prices, known as the rebound effect hurts the MPO’s ability to maintain current GHG reduction. However, public health and active transportation advocates–including the National Partnership–hailed CARB’s proposed targets saying it is critical step for GHG reduction progress. Advocates also supported the targets from a social equity standpoint pointing out that the pollution burden weighs most heavily on the health of low-income and disadvantaged communities. Furthermore, additional resources from SB 1, the Volkswagen settlement and the Transformative Climate Communities Program (which total $53B over the next ten years) will give MPOs adequate funding to invest in climate strategies.

Comments are being accepted on proposed targets until July 28th. CARB will convene a roundtable to finalize staff recommendations in September and October.

 

 

 

 

Coming Soon: 2017 Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Competition

The Strategic Growth Council (SGC) has released the final version of the guidelines for the 2017 Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities program (AHSC). This program provides grants for transit-oriented development that reduces greenhouse gas emissions.  It focuses on increasing the accessibility of housing, jobs, and key destinations through walking, biking and transit.  We are pleased with how the final guidelines incorporate many of the recommendations that we and partner organizations made that will maximize the impact of this program.  The competition is expected to open on October 2, 2017.  Watch our webinar from earlier this year about how to form partnerships between housing and transportation to prepare to apply.

Metro Approves Measure M Guidelines!

After months of hard work and input from community members, advocates, and the Metro Policy Advisory Council and staff, the Metro Board of Directors unanimously adopted the Measure M Master Guidelines last Thursday, June 16. Included in the approval was Motion 38.3 by Directors Garcia, Bonin, Solis and Hahn that altered the Measure M Highway Subfunds program to reflect goals of Metro’s Complete Streets policy—and in doing so prioritizing a more multimodal approach to reducing traffic and making streets safer for all road users. The Safe Routes to School National Partnership joined local partners in showing support for the motion by sending Metro Board of Directors a letter and providing testimony at Thursday’s meeting.

Adoption of the Guidelines is a significant milestone, but there’s still much work to be done. There remain questions about the applicability of Metro’s Complete Streets Policy across Measure M programs, in addition to concerns regarding project eligibility and performance metrics criteria.

Over the next two years Metro will develop administrative procedures for certain components of the Guidelines. For example, both procedures for determining Multi-Year Subregional Programs project readiness, along with Metro Active Transportation Program procedures and funding availability criteria will be established within one year. Check out the full administrative procedure development timeline here.

Next steps: The Metro Policy Advisory Council (PAC) will next meet on July 11 from 1:30-3:30 pm at SCAG headquarters to establish a work plan for the months to come as it considers the administrative procedures and the update to the Long Range Transportation Plan.

Measure M Guidelines Update: Read Our Comment Letter and Next Steps

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership submitted a comment letter to Metro regarding the draft Measure M Guidelines last week. You can read our full letter here. Be sure to also check out a letter submitted by our partners at Investing in Place that we signed on to.

Next steps: The Metro Policy Advisory Council (PAC) will continue to convene monthly, meeting next on June 6th at SCAG headquarters. At the June meeting Metro will present its initial revisions to the Guidelines for input. It is never too late to get involved! PAC meetings are open to the public and a great way to stay up to date on important discussions and provide crucial feedback. Find more information on the PAC here.

Apply for a Youth Leaders Training

CalBike and California Walks have released a call for applications for the Walk & Bike Youth Leaders Program. They are aiming to invite a diverse group of 10 youth between ages 16-23 to participate in the program, which will include a four month satellite advocacy training curriculum and culminate in October with a youth advocacy summit in Sacramento in conjunction with the CalBike Summit. The goals of the program are to provide youth an opportunity to build advocacy skills and learn about the policy process, to engage their ideas and energy in our summit as well as in CalBike’s and CA Walk’s future policy agenda, and to contribute to development of a pipeline of future walking and biking leaders. Deadline to apply is May 31!

Youth for the Environment and Sustainability (YES) Conference

Some 500 junior high and high school students from around the region swarmed the Bay Area Metro Center in February for the fourth annual YES Conference. Teen activists presented to their peers on such topics as “Proving That Climate Change Is Not a Hoax” and “Go Away, Throwaway,” to inspire participants to be environmental leaders in their schools and communities. Read more on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission News Page.

Transportation Equity Act Advances

AB 179 (Cervantes), which aims to restructure the California Transportation Commission (CTC) to ensure diverse representation that promotes equitable transportation planning and protect public health, passed out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee and is headed to the Assembly floor. This bill would require that at least one of the eleven voting members of the CTC have qualifications working directly with those communities in the state that are most significantly burdened by, and vulnerable to, high levels of pollution, including, those communities with racially and ethnically diverse populations or with low-income populations. Find a letter of support that you can send here.

Caltrans Finalizes Statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan

Caltrans has adopted “Toward an Active California,” the State’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan. This document is California’s first statewide plan that lays out the policies and actions that Caltrans and its partner agencies will take to achieve the department’s ambitious statewide goals to double walking and triple bicycling trips by 2020. The plan’s vision statement is that by 2040, people in California of all ages, abilities, and incomes can safely, conveniently, and comfortably walk and bicycle for their transportation needs. We have provided comments on the plan before, and are pleased with how the plan has clear action steps to advance Safe Routes to School, biking and walking. Read more on Steetsblog.

California State Budget and the Active Transportation Program

The Governor Jerry Brown administration released its May Revision to the State budget on May 11. The May Revise does not include major changes to transportation funding, as that was handled in a major transportation deal that resulted in the the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, SB 1. SB 1 provides ten years’ worth of funding for transportation improvements across the state, including $100 million a year in new funding for the Active Transportation Program (ATP). The May Revise includes an additional $395,000 and two positions for the California Transportation Commission (CTC) to manage the expanded Active Transportation Program. In addition, at its last meeting, the CTC adopted a plan to use some of the funding that is immediately available to the ATP from the passage of SB 1 to fund some of the high scoring projects from the last ATP round of applications (cycle 3).

We’re Hiring: Senior California Policy Manager

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership is seeking an energetic and detail-oriented professional with strong knowledge of California state policy and active transportation technical assistance skills to join the National Partnership as our California Senior Policy Manager. We welcome applicants with a passion for advancing safe walking and bicycling to school and in daily life to increase physical activity levels and create livable, equitable, sustainable communities.

The California Senior Policy Manager will serve as the lead for the National Partnership’s state policy work in California and will also provide significant technical assistance to build capacity in low-income communities, including how to submit competitive applications for the Active Transportation Program (ATP). The overarching goal of this position’s work is to ensure that state funding and policies are supportive of Safe Routes to School and active transportation, and to help equip low-income communities to apply for funding and implement effective Safe Routes to School and active transportation initiatives.

We are particularly looking for individuals that have:

  • The policy know-how to shape California state policy and funding on active transportation and Safe Routes to School, along with related issue areas like equity, land use, housing, education, climate, and health.
  • Previous hands-on experience with California’s Active Transportation Program application process, either as a reviewer, grantwriter, consultant, or implementing a project.
  • The skill-set necessary to provide technical assistance to help communities apply for and implement successful Safe Routes to School and active transportation projects.
  • A high level of attention to detail and project management ability paired with excellent writing and verbal communications skills.
  • Experience working in building consensus with coalitions with multiple viewpoints.

Please review the job description for more details about the position responsibilities and qualifications. The salary range for this at-will position is $65,000 – $75,000 depending on experience and qualifications, plus health insurance benefits, paid time off, and optional participation in a deferred compensation plan. A PC computer, telephone and internet access will be provided. Successful candidates will work from their home office, and must be based in California.

To Apply: Interested applicants should submit (via email) a cover letter, resume and three writing samples in one PDF file to hr@saferoutespartnership.org. Ensure that the subject line of your email includes the text “Senior California Policy Manager.” We are not accepting email or telephone call inquiries.

Receipt of applications will be acknowledged with an email reply. Applications will be accepted until May 1, 2017 COB. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, so candidates are encouraged to apply early.

We look forward to hearing from qualified candidates interested in joining our dynamic, visionary and growing national non-profit. Visit www.saferoutespartnership.org for more information about our organization.

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership is an equal opportunity employer committed to assembling a diverse staff with a wide range of life experiences.  Women, people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ candidates, and people with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. 

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