SACRAMENTO, CA – A report released today by the California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) identifies the need to better align governance models and funding programs with goals calling for a more equitable and sustainable transportation system outlined in many existing state and regional transportation plans. The report comes on the heels of the Newsom Administration’s proposed $9.1 billion investment to expand mobility options for Californians and create a safer, faster, and greener transportation system, including $4.2 billion to complete electrified high-speed rail construction in the Central Valley and $4.9 billion for transit and rail projects, climate adaptation, bicycle and pedestrian safety, and active transportation.
The California Transportation Assessment (AB 285 report), conducted by researchers at the University of California Institute of Transportation Studies (UC ITS), offers an assessment of how transportation planning and funding in California supports long-term common goals, including building and maintaining a transportation system that advances State climate goals and meets the transportation needs of all Californians. In preparing the report, the UC ITS analyzed state and regional transportation plans and institutions, funding allocations to various state, regional, and local transportation programs and funding sources, and the legal frameworks that govern how transportation funds are spent in California.
“Despite clear commitment and established targets, the California Transportation Assessment demonstrates a clear divergence between our climate and other goals as a state and the outcomes of our transportation system as it exists today” said California Strategic Growth Council Executive Director Lynn von Koch-Liebert. “Importantly, the report points to important policy issue areas to further explore and accelerate to achieve our collective state goals.”
The Assessment summarizes findings and recommendations across five working papers – Transportation History, Statewide Transportation Plans, Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), Funding Programs, and Flexibility and Implication of Funding Programs – each evaluating specific transportation funding and planning activities and institutional structures advancing or inhibiting California from reaching stated goals. Key findings from the papers include:
- There is a gap between the vision for a more climate friendly and equitable transportation system and actions and infrastructure spending decisions;
- Transportation projects in the pipeline are rarely reevaluated to assess their alignment with current state priorities;
- Institutional structure for transportation is complicated and decision-making levers can be disparate or hard to pinpoint;
- Institutions (such as Metropolitan Planning Organizations, among others) that have been given key responsibilities for meeting climate and equity goals do not necessarily have the appropriate levers to fulfill those responsibilities;
- Critical work is underway to align transportation funding with state climate and equity goals, namely the Climate Action Plan for Transportation Infrastructure (CAPTI) and some of the regional plans, including MTC’s Plan Bay Area 2050 and SANDAG’s San Diego Forward.
The report builds on CAPTI, which the California State Transportation Agency finalized last year to detail how the state recommends investing billions of discretionary transportation dollars to combat and adapt to climate change while supporting public health, safety, and equity.
“The state is taking bold steps to create a more resilient, accessible and sustainable transportation system,” said California State Transportation Agency Acting Secretary Elissa Konove. “While the report highlights that we have more work to do, CAPTI gives us a framework to prioritize projects that increase transportation choices, reduce carbon emissions and reduce our dependence on driving – all with an eye toward advancing our climate, equity, and public health goals.”
The report also builds on findings within the California Air Resource Board’s (CARB) 2020 Mobile Source Strategy showing that even under the most aggressive scenarios for zero-emission vehicle adoption and a rapid transition to cleaner fuels, California will not be able to meet its climate commitments by relying solely on a shift in transportation technologies to cleaner modes such as zero emissions vehicles.
Initial stakeholder engagement included consultation with numerous State agencies involved in transportation, regional planning, and related activities in California, several briefings at public meetings, interviews with nearly 100 key informants in the sector, and 300 comments from stakeholders on various of the research project’s components. The California Strategic Growth Council will continue stakeholder engagement through a series of public surveys and briefings.
In addition, SGC will host consultations and meetings relating to specific areas identified to further develop actionable solutions, including aligning existing funding programs with state goals; updating and better aligning among existing state and regional plans; reevaluating project and program funding and reviewing the current transportation project pipeline; assessing the roles of State transportation institutions; and assessing MPO and local government roles and responsibilities. If members of the public are interested in submitting feedback or participating in this process, they can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
California Strategic Growth Council:
Emily Breslin, Deputy Director of Communications and External Affairs
email@example.com | (916) 301-3236
About the California Strategic Growth Council
The California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) is a cabinet-level body chaired by the Director of the California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research and tasked with coordinating and working collaboratively with public agencies, communities, and stakeholders to achieve sustainability, equity, economic prosperity, and quality of life for all Californians with a focus on the state’s most disadvantaged communities. SGC implements its mission through four key activities: making investments in infrastructure and conservation programs, conducting outreach and providing technical assistance to support of communities seeking to access these investments, and leading and supporting integrated policy initiatives that align with SGC’s mission.