TransportiCA Note: Below are TransForm's 2016-17 Budget Recommendations, resulting from their annual Transportation Equity Advocacy Day, having occurred 16-17 May.
Increase Dedicated Investment in Active Transportation
Walking and bicycling are the healthiest and least polluting forms of transportation; accordingly, targeted investments in active transportation are a smart and cost-effective strategy for advancing the state’s climate, health, and equity goals all at the same time. The Active Transportation Program (ATP)–the state’s dedicated source of funding for walking, biking, Safe Routes to School, and trail projects and programs–remains chronically underfunded, despite the overwhelming demand at the local level. We urge the Legislature to increase funding for the Active Transportation Program by $100 million from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF).
Increase Investment in Transit Operations
While we applaud the Administration for proposing an additional $400 million in GGRF monies to the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP), there remains huge need to fund transit operations and maintenance adequately, especially in disadvantaged and rural communities. Transit systems across the state are expecting a funding shortfall of $72 billion over the next decade, much of this needed for maintenance and preservation. Transit capital investments must be matched by investment in maintaining and operating our existing systems. Of the $400 million in GGRF proposed for the TIRCP, we recommend allocating $150 million to the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program.
Fund a Transit Pass Program
Well-designed transit pass programs have been proven to increase mode shift and transit ridership, fill empty seats, and create lifelong riders in a new generation. This one-time investment should be seen as a down-payment on a multi-year program to make transit affordable for low-income students and others who depend on it. We recommend creating a Transit Pass Program for college, university, and K-12 students and low-income residents, and funding it with $50 million in GGRF from the $400 million proposed for the TIRCP.
Mandate Complete Streets Improvements on Roadway Maintenance Projects
Repaving and roadway rehabilitation projects provide a critical opportunity to redesign the layout of the road to move people more efficiently on transit, foot, and bicycle. Walk and bike improvements provide healthy, safe, and affordable transportation options for residents that use these roadways–especially in low-income and communities of color that have the greatest mobility and safety challenges–helping to facilitate mode shift and move more people more efficiently within the same right-of-way. We urge the Legislature to require any new funding for repair, maintenance, and rehabilitation projects to include robust Complete Streets components to ensure we are maximizing road improvement dollars to also improve walking and bicycling access.
Leverage Transportation Investments to Create Jobs for Vulnerable Californians
California’s low-income communities and communities of color experience the most severe barriers to training, education and family-sustaining jobs and careers. Our transportation investments create thousands of jobs, especially as the Governor’s budget proposes to increase revenue by several billion dollars. We urge you to ensure that our state’s new transportation revenue meaningfully benefit our most vulnerable Californians by requiring transportation agencies to implement these workforce training and employment strategies.