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This year, California has many new opportunities to dramatically improve - even re-imagine - our state’s transportation focus in ways that offer real choices to all residents.
With leadership from the Governor and legislative leaders, as well as the largest Freshman class of legislators since 1966 giving Democrats a two-thirds majority in both houses, this next session may be pivotal. In his "State of the State" address, the Governor emphasized the need for our transportation agencies to prioritize our needs in light of climate change and air quality.
Key bills that TransForm is supporting include:
- AB 1051 (Assemblymember Bocanegra) : Directing cap-and-trade funds to transportation choices and affordable homes
- AB 431 (Assemblymember Mullin): Funding Sustainable Communities
- SB 391 (Desaulnier): the California Homes and Jobs Act
- SB 1 (Steinberg): Resurrecting redevelopment agencies
- SCA 4, SCA 8, SCA 11: Empowering democracy by lowering the voter threshold
- AB 1194 (Ammiano, Pérez, Alejo, Levine, Pan): Safe Routes to Schools
- AB 1193 (Ting): Bike design flexibility
- AB 229 (Speaker Pérez): Funding local infrastructure
- AB 1290 (Speaker Pérez): California Transportation Commission
- AB 1002 (Assemblymember Bloom): Funding Sustainable Communities
Key transportation and land use bills to follow in 2013
Last year’s first greenhouse gas auction netted the state significant revenues for fighting climate change in a new and innovative way: putting a price on greenhouse gas pollution. Companies paid the state for allowances to emit these gasses, and even the small number of allowances auctioned resulted in over $285 million in revenues.
Auction revenues must be used for projects and programs that reduce greenhouse gasses and help mitigate the impacts of climate change. With nearly 40% of our state's greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation, investments in transportation choices offers an opportunity to significantly reduce emissions while also improving health, equity, the economy and the environment.
Assemblymember Bocanegra’s AB 1051 recognizes that bicycle and pedestrian facilities, affordable homes near transit, transit capital operations that prioritize equity and greenhouse gas emission reductions, and energy efficiency upgrades for low-income Californians are important priorities. TransForm fully supports AB 1051 (for bill text, click here).
For more ways you can help, (including talking to State leaders in-person), check out our Transportation Choices Campaign site, and sign our petition to tell the Governor just how these revenues can truly improve our lives.
Local governments are currently struggling to fund the implementation of SB 375, California’s landmark law which integrates land-use and transportation planning in ways that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This bill, which TransForm is co-sponsoring with our allies the Nonprofit Housing Association of Northern California and Greenbelt Alliance, would authorize Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to put before voters funding measures that implement their Sustainable Communities Strategies. As shown in our Windfall for All materials, transportation choices can save residents billions per year, and this bill empowers our local government representatives (who sit on the MPO boards) and voters by letting them decide to fund their region’s work to improve their infrastructure in effective and equitable ways (click here for bill language).
Our allies at Housing California are sponsoring Senator DeSaulnier’s bill, which would create thousands of jobs building affordable housing. The bill would add a $75 recording fee to non-residential real estate transactions, raising $500 million annually for state investment in affordable home production and leveraging an additional $2.78 billion in federal, local, and bank investment in homes and jobs for Californians. Check out their informative website here. TransForm supports this great bill (click here for bill language).
Based in large part on last year’s SB 1156, this bill is Senator Steinberg’s proposal to remake some of the powers of Redevelopment Agencies, but to streamline the process, foster cooperation between cities and counties, protect school funding, support affordable homes and refocus investment in transit-oriented areas. (Click here for bill language and information).
Our current system for approving local tax measures effectively gives each “no” vote the same power as two “yes” votes by requiring a two-thirds threshold (66.67%) for approval. Last November in Los Angeles, over 1.9 million voters said yes to more transportation choices but lost to the 970,000 that said no. In Alameda County the margin was even closer – over 66.5% said yes – but the measure still lost.
Many legislators recognize that, though a new, local tax measure should be popular, today’s draconian requirement simply runs counter to our democratic form of government. No fewer than seven bills currently propose lowering the voter threshold for local projects - and three of them, SCA 4(Liu), SCA 8(Corbett), and SCA 11(Hancock), would do so for transportation.
TransForm supports these efforts to empower the overwhelming majority of Californians through the democratic process.
This bill would ensure the continuation of the Safe Routes to Schools program by dedicating a minimum of $46 million. TransForm supports this effort to maintain this effective and important program (click here for bill text).
Current law requires local governments to adhere to the Highway Design Manual for bicycle design on roads. This bill would allow local governments to use bicycle designs that meet specified safety standards through means beyond those specified by the Highway Design Manual (click here for bill text).
This bill authorizes “Infrastructure and revitalization finance districts” for purposes of raising funds for public infrastructure such as transportation, sewage, watersheds, libraries, child care facilities, parks, and others.
This bill makes a host of changes to better align the California Transportation Commission’s structure and direction to support more integrated land use and transportation efforts, such as SB 375 implementation.
This bill adds $6 to vehicle registration to fund programs and projects consistent with Sustainable Communities strategies.
You can look up the latest bill information here.
For more information or to get active please make sure you sign up on e-mail, twitter or facebook, and contact Josh Stark for more information.