Categories
Complete Streets Education/Webinars Public Health

CA Dept of Public Health Webinar: “Speed and Ped Safety” on Jan 27

What’s Speed Got to Do with It?

To register for this webinar, please click on the link below.  If you have not done so in the past, you will need to download the GoTo Webinar software.  Please register in advance as capacity is limited.

For questions please contact:

Karissa Anderson
PedSafe Program
California Department of Public Health
karissa.anderson@cdph.ca.gov


Join us for a Webinar on January 27
Please join us for a presentation and discussion on speeding and its relationship to pedestrian safety and injury.  Our featured speaker is Roberta McLaughlin, Senior Transportation Engineer with the Division of Traffic Operations at Caltrans.
Title: What’s Speed Got to Do with It?
Date: Thursday, January 27, 2011
Time: 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM PST
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.
System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server
Macintosh®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.4.11 (Tiger®) or newer
Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/908725907
Categories
California Policy Complete Streets Education/Webinars Public Health Transportation Funding

Safe Routes to School Conference Highlights Role of Public Health

The Second Annual Sacramento Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Conference held on November 11, 2010 highlighted the role of active transportation in children’s health, while providing resources for local governments and school districts across California.

Public Health Impacts

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership’s California Policy Manager, Jessica Meaney, led the conference describing how SRTS programs are a way to create environmental, policy and behavioral changes which increase physical activity and prevent childhood obesity. Citing that a third of peak morning vehicle traffic in southern California is a result of school-related trips, the speaker noted the opportunities that exist for SRTS program to promote children’s health while making a significant impact on reducing vehicle trip demand. Sarah Underwood, UC Davis Master of Public Health Candidate, shared statistics demonstrating that the risk of childhood health problems far exceeds more commonly feared parental risks such as abduction. The “stranger danger” concern often expressed as a reason for parents to not allow their children to walk or bike to school was challenged by the following statistical realities of the likelihood that a child would:

  • Become overweight or obese in Sacramento region: 1 in 3
  • Have asthma in Sacramento region: 1 in 6
  • Be struck by lightning next year: 1 in 500,000
  • Be abducted by a stranger next year: 1 in 610,000

More statistics and leading health research on the link between promoting active transportation to schools and childhood health can be found on the National Safe Routes to School Partnership website. Additionally, the California Department of Public Health recently launched the Safe Routes to School Technical Assistance Resource Center within the California Active Communities.

Federal and State Funding Sources

California Active Communities provided extensive information on funding sources for California Safe Routes to School projects and programs, focusing heavily on non-infrastructure grant opportunities. While California SRTS funding is limited to local governments and requires a 10% match for infrastructure projects around schools grades K-12, federal SRTS funding includes Metropolitan Planning Organizations, local governments and school districts (if partners with government agency) – requiring no match for both infrastructure projects and programs for schools grades K-8. Both the federal and state SRTS programs provide grants ranging from $500,000 to $1 million, and will having their next funding cycle in spring 2011. California Active Communities provides a select list of funding for California SRTS projects from the State of California Department of Public Health, Office of Traffic Safety, and Department of Transportation, and Air Resources Board as well as the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Highway Administration, and the National Center for Safe Routes to School:

Categories
California Policy Complete Streets Education/Webinars Environmental Justice GHG Reduction Local Government Metropolitan Planning NewsFlash Public Transit SB 375 Transportation Funding

Sacramento Regional Coalitions Support “Safe Routes for All” MTP Scenario

At tonight’s public workshop for SACOG’s 2035 Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP 2035) 93% of individuals and 100% of group tables voted for the Scenario 3 option — which places the greatest investment in existing communities and would result in a 17% reduction in per capita greenhouse gas emissions (greater than the 16% SB 375 regional target assigned by CARB). After speaking with SACOG’s Executive Director after the workshop today, it was clear that the support for Scenario 3 was also well represented during this month’s  previous workshops across the region.

With overwhelming support for a more cost-effective, equitable, and environmentally sustainable MTP Scenario, could the SACOG region have public support to create a plan that achieves these objectives to an even greater extent? Policy in Motion founder, and researcher on SB 375 Implementation believes the answer is a resounding YES.

Safe Routes for All is a concept that embodies achieving the sustainability “3-E” agenda which supports federal, state, regional, and local goals for healthy and thriving communities.  Approving a Sustainable Community Strategy within the SACOG MTP 2035 process that emphasizes financial investments in existing communities with a focus around active transportation access to schools would be a way to not only serve as an example of how a Metropolitan Planning Organization can exceed SB 375 greenhouse gas reduction targets, but also support many other co-benefits such as healthier communities and neighborhood quality of life.

A coalition of organizations and individuals is forming to advocate for Safe Routes for All in walkable and bikeable communities throughout the six-county SACOG region. They believe that all people – including children, seniors, mobility disabled, transit dependent, and walkers and bicyclists – deserve access to a safe and reliable transportation network. They are asking SACOG to create and analyze a 4th Scenario, or make moderate funding shifts within Scenario 3  to support this concept of Safe Routes for All.

The key component to achieve this sustainability objectives that are more cost-effective and equitable is to shift funding priorities from regional transportation mobility projects that move people between communities to local transportation projects/programs that connect people within communities — focusing on access to goods, services, transportation options and employment opportunities.

In order to achieve this funding would shift toward “Fix it First” policies which support roadway, transit, bicycle, and pedestrian maintenance and operation — followed secondly by investments in “active transportation” infrastructure and programs. A Safe Routes for All plan would also prioritize housing investments to support existing community needs, such as access to goods, services, transit and employment opportunities.
Policy in Motion will be partnering with the Sacramento Complete Street Coalition to demonstrate how shifting investments toward existing community needs supports the region’s vision for long-term economic vitality, healthier and safer neighborhoods, and efforts to lead California in what SB 375 implementation can truly achieve.
Other organizations involved in this effort include:
  • WALKSacramento
  • Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates
  • Breathe California of Sacramento- Emigrant Trails
  • Sacramento Walking Sticks
  • Coalition On Regional Equity
  • Ubuntu Green
  • Environmental Council of Sacramento
  • Safe Kids Greater Sacramento
  • Gray Panthers of Sacramento
  • Mothers’ Support Network
  • Bicycle Advocates of Rancho Cordova
  • Folsom Area Bicycle Advocates
  • Design Sacramento 4 Health
  • Davis Bicycles!
  • Sacramento ACHIEVE
Categories
California Policy Education/Webinars Local Government Transportation Funding

League of California Cities Positions on Propositions: No 26, No 19, Yes 22

The League Opposes both Propositions 26 and 19; Supports Proposition 22

League of California Cities

No on Prop 22

Proposition 22, the Local Taxpayer, Public Safety and Transportation Protection Act, on the November 2010 statewide ballot, would:
  • Prohibit the State from taking, borrowing or redirecting local taxpayer funds dedicated to public safety, emergency response and other vital local government services. Prop 22 would close loopholes to prevent taking local taxpayer funds currently dedicated to cities, counties, special districts and redevelopment agencies. It would also revoke the State’s authority to borrow local government property tax funds.
  • Protect vital, dedicated transportation and public transit funds from State raids.  Prop 22 would prohibit the State from redirecting, borrowing or taking the gasoline excise tax (HUTA) allocated to cities and counties for local street and road maintenance and improvements. Prop 22 also prohibits the State from taking or redirecting public transportation account revenues dedicated to public transit.
  • Protect local taxpayers by keeping more of our local tax dollars local where there’s more accountability to voters, and by ensuring once and for all that our gas taxes go to fund road improvements. Prop. 22 also reduces pressure for local tax and fee increases that become necessary when the State redirects local funds

Coalition List: Organizations : list of all groups who are supporters of Prop. 22

Transportation & Transit : describes how measure helps ensure funds intended for transportation & transit are protected from state raids

Community & Local Services : describes how measure helps protect local services from state raids

No on Prop 26

The League joined the California Tax Reform Association and the Sierra Club California as part of a panel opposing Prop. 26, the Stop Hidden Taxes Measure, before a joint hearing held by the Senate and Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committees on Sept. 29.

Witnesses included representatives from the Legislative Analyst’s Office and municipal attorney Michael Colantuono who testified on the potential effects of the measure on state and local government. Colantuono explained that the wording of the measure raises many questions about the scope of the measure’s impact on state and local revenue authority, much of which would likely have to be clarified through litigation.

League representatives also testified that the measure was drafted in a manner that was extremely broad and subject to wide interpretations that could undercut local ability to protect the public health, safety and welfare, further constrict local revenue authority, and that approval of the measure would result in litigation taking years to resolve.

The Wine Institute as well as John Dunlap, former California Air Resources Board chair, testified in support of Prop. 26. However, after being pressed by legislators with questions on the interpretation of specific provisions, these witnesses admitted that they were not the individuals who drafted the measure. Assembly Member Anthony Portantino (D-Pasadena) later stated that it was noteworthy that those who had drafted the measure were not there.

The League’s analysis of Prop. 26 is available on the League’s website. A sample resolution for cities to use to express opposition to Prop. 26 is also available on the League’s website.

No on Prop 19

The Assembly and Senate Public Safety Committees held a joint hearing on Sept. 21 on Prop. 19, the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010. As part of the local government panel of witnesses, the League expressed concerns about the implementation process challenges that would be created if the measure passes next month. Other witnesses included the numerous proponent and opponent stakeholders representing business, law enforcement, the criminal justice system, and community activists.

The League officially opposes Prop. 19 because of its potential to increase crime, the unsatisfactory experience with medical marijuana implementation, and the measure’s breadth and poor drafting. These policy concerns far outweigh the potential for additional local revenue that is touted by the proponents of the measure.

At the request of the committees, League staff provided testimony addressing how cities might implement Prop. 19 if it passes. Staff testified that the numerous ambiguities and legal interpretations of Prop. 19 will make for a difficult process. Each city will address their local needs in a different manner, as appropriate for their city. League staff shared snapshots of what the cities of Galt, San Jose, Rancho Cordova, and Oakland have done in either response to medical marijuana or in preparation for the legalizing of marijuana to show the wide range of possible implementation strategies that cities may use.

The League also communicated that because of the challenging questions Prop. 19 poses for land use and zoning, the adoption of local ordinances could be a drawn out process – a delay that individuals could use to their own advantage which would be to the detriment of local resources and their fellow community members.

The League’s analysis of Prop. 19 is available on the League’s website.

Categories
California Policy Education/Webinars Local Government NewsFlash Transportation Funding

TransForm’s Positions on Propositions: No 23, No 26, Neutral 22


November 2010 Statewide Ballot Initiatives

TransForm’s Positions

No on Prop. 23, the Dirty Energy Initiative

No on Prop. 26, the Polluter Protection Initiative

Neutral on Prop. 22

Why TransForm Opposes Proposition 23

TransForm strongly recommends a “NO” vote on Prop 23. Texas oil companies and other major polluters are spending millions of dollars to push this ballot proposition, deceptively titled the “CA Jobs Initiative,” which will actually gut California clean energy and air pollution standards and destroy hundreds of thousands of new and future good-paying clean and green jobs.

Prop 23 is designed to kill California’s world-renowned innovative approaches to cleaning the air, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and spurring the growth of the new green economy. Prop 23 backers Valero and Tesoro, two massive Texas-based oil and energy companies, are among the nation’s biggest polluters and their California oil refineries are among the top ten sources of pollution in our state.

Prop 23 proponents claim that we just can’t afford to pursue cleaner air, reduced greenhouse gas emissions or improved health. But, the reality is that California’s clean air and green energy laws serve as global best practices models; spurring half a million new jobs in our state alone, improving our air and water quality and thereby benefiting the health and well-being of all Californians, and leading the way to a new paradigm that will reduce costs for governments, businesses and households.

Green energy and clean tech represent the one area of our economy that has continued to grow rapidly during the recession. Prop 23 would keep us dependent on fossil fuels, force us to pay more for dirty energy, foul our air and water, harm public health, and kill California’s best hopes for a healthy, successful future. Vote “NO” on Prop 23.  Learn more.

Why TransForm Opposes Proposition 26

TransForm recommends a strong “NO” vote on Prop 26. Prop 26 would amend the California Constitution so that nearly all regulatory fees would be redefined as taxes and therefore require approval by a 2/3 vote of the legislature or by a costly local election also requiring a supermajority.  A 2/3 vote is virtually impossible in today’s political climate.  If Prop 26 passes, environmental, consumer and public health safeguards would be severely weakened and the problems facing our communities would be dramatically further exacerbated.  The independent Legislative Analyst’s Office has found that Prop 26 could end up adding billions of dollars in additional costs each year to our state and local budgets.

Prop 26 aims to weaken essential environmental, consumer and public health and safety programs by making it virtually impossible for communities to cover the most basic costs of maintaining the critical systems and resources on which we all rely: roadway accident response, hazardous waste and oil spill cleanup, gas pipeline safety programs, air pollution monitoring and mitigation, public health and safety programs related to drunk driving, restaurant health inspections, provisions for security during large events, and many, many more.  Communities simply will not be able to function if they must mount a public election and win a 2/3 vote every time they need to manage and respond to activities that impose costs on the community.  To make matters worse, Prop 26 places the burden of proof on governments to demonstrate that a fee is not a tax.  This will lead to expensive litigation as well as even more costly elections.

Impacts on Transportation

Prop 26 poses a tremendous threat to state and local efforts to ensure a safe, affordable and reliable transportation network for all Californians.  According to the Yes on Prop 26 campaign’s own literature, the initiative would limit the ability of communities and the state to provide numerous critically important transportation-related services and programs, including:

  • road maintenance (fixing potholes, resurfacing roadways, maintaining bridges)
  • road safety and accident response programs
  • efforts to alleviate traffic congestion
  • expansion of local public transportation options

Should Prop 26 pass, our communities and the state government would be unable to collect the revenues necessary to fix potholes, keep street surfaces and bridges in good condition, reduce traffic congestion, expand the public transportation system, or manage road safety programs that keep accidents to a minimum and provide for rapid response when accidents do occur.  After decades of deferred maintenance and disinvestment, California can not afford to let its transportation infrastructure deteriorate any further.  Yet Prop 26 would essentially lock in the status quo and block any meaningful effort at comprehensive reform.

The three main transportation funding mechanisms threatened by Prop 26 are: the Vehicle Registration Fee (VRF), the Vehicle License Fee (VLF), and local sales taxes.  These mechanisms are explored in greater detail below along with an analysis of likely Prop 26 impacts on the recently enacted “gas tax swap.”

Vehicle Registration Fee (VRF)

The VRF is actually a suite or package of “user” fees that must be paid annually to register and use a particular vehicle in the state.  The specific fees and amounts that must be paid to register a particular vehicle vary greatly and depend on a range of factors, including things like: the type of vehicle, what the vehicle will be used for, the county of residence, and whether the owner wants to use special license plates.

It is difficult to calculate total revenues generated by the VRF family of fees as many of these fees go to different entities.  The total amount of revenues collected statewide via VRF fees is somewhere in the range of $1 to $2 billionper year.  These revenues are allocated to: the CHP and DMV, state highway and roadway construction and maintenance, state general fund needs, and various city and county transportation programs and related local air quality improvement efforts.

Should Prop 26 pass, it would prevent the state and local governments from increasing the various fees that currently constitute the VRF without a 2/3 vote.  Prop 26 does exempt from the 2/3 vote requirement any charges “imposed for a specific benefit conferred or privilege granted directly to the payor that is not provided to those not charged and which does not exceed the reasonable costs to the State of conferring the benefit or granting the privilege to the payor.”  However, it appears that none or almost none of the fees constituting the overall registration fee package grant exclusive privileges to the payor and thus it appears that none or almost none of these fees would be exempted from Prop 26.  Although registration fees allow payors to drive particular vehicles, drive on safer or better-maintained streets, and breathe cleaner air, none of these privileges are exclusive to payors.  A non-payor might borrow a payor’s vehicle and receive the benefits.  A non-payor might not own a vehicle but still receive the benefits of better streets whenever riding in a taxi or on a bicycle.  Everybody benefits from cleaner air.  The only registration fee that appears to fall within the exemption is the license plate fee.  The privilege of using a license plate is granted directly and exclusively to the payor.  Of course, if the license plate registration fee exceeds the “reasonable costs to the State of conferring the benefit,” then the exemption would not apply.

In short, it appears that all or nearly all vehicle registration fees in California would effectively be locked in at current levels by Prop 26.  Given that historically these fee levels have been altered repeatedly and easily based on evolving circumstances, Prop 26 would almost certainly result in a rapidly growing disparity between the monies being collected and the real needs on the ground.  Drivers would almost certainly experience even more rapidly deteriorating and less safe roadways and longer wait times for help when an accident or emergency occurs.  Air quality programs would also likely suffer without the ability to increase funding.  And given the state’s reliance on certain VRF funds to balance the state budget, Prop 26 would almost certainly exacerbate the state budget deficit in coming years.

Vehicle License Fee (VLF)

The VLF was established in 1935 in lieu of a property tax on vehicles.  The VLF must be paid annually and the amount is calculated based on the value of the vehicle; as a vehicle depreciates over time, the VLF goes down.  The DMV sends all VLF revenues, other than administrative overhead costs, to the cities and counties for use on local programs and projects.  In its current form, the VLF generates approximately $4 billion annually.  The VLF is the third most important source of general revenues for cities and counties (after property and sales taxes).  VLF revenues fund a wide range of local programs and projects, including transportation.

Over the last twelve years, the VLF has been dramatically reduced so that Californians are now paying a much smaller percentage of the value of their vehicles and the amount of VLF revenues available for local programs has decreased.  Additionally, during the last few years of extreme budget challenges, the state has been borrowing VLF revenues to help balance the state budget.  The state has backfilled a portion of the monies that used to go to local governments but the overall movement has been a decrease in monies available for local programs.  Should Prop 26 pass, it would become virtually impossible to increase the VLF.  This would make it far more difficult to increase or even simply maintain funding for local programs.  There is already a huge backlog of local projects and programs that need funding.  Prop 26 would kill our ability to meet these needs and also make it more difficult for the state to find sufficient revenues to backfill the VLF monies taken from local governments for state purposes.

Local Sales Taxes

Local sales taxes are the second most important and valuable source of revenue for local community needs.  Prop 26 would essentially freeze local sales taxes and the related programs in place today and prevent California communities from being able to address changing circumstances or needs by modifying the programs or funding mechanisms.

It is extremely difficult to quantify the extent of the severity of the impacts Prop 26 would have on local sales taxes and the programs they fund.  A 2/3 popular vote is already required when a local government proposes a sales tax to pay for a specific program.  However, only a majority vote is currently required when a local government proposes a sales tax for general purpose needs.  Many communities that have attempted to pursue the general purpose tax approach have found it impossible to generate sufficient public support to garner just a simple majority approval vote because people do not want to support higher taxes without knowing precisely how the money will be spent.  Of course, many communities that have attempted to pursue the specific tax approach have found it impossible to generate sufficient support to garner a 2/3 vote because no matter how valuable or important the service that needs funding, getting 2/3 of the voters in any given community to support higher taxes is virtually impossible.

Local sales taxes are critically important and already very difficult to pass.  California’s communities are struggling to meet the most basic demands of residents and businesses in an equitable and efficient manner.  Prop 26 will kill the capacity of many communities to maintain any reasonable level of services or quality of life.

The Gas Tax Swap

This past spring, the governor signed into law two bills that constitute what is commonly referred to as “the gas tax swap.”  The gas tax swap did the following:

  • repealed the state sales tax on gasoline
  • increased the state excise tax on gasoline by 17.3 cents/gallon and indexed the excise tax to generate the same revenues that would have been collected from the now defunct sales tax
  • increased the sales tax on diesel fuel by 1.75% and allocated 75% of these revenues to local transit agencies and 25% to state transit programs
  • decreased the excise tax on diesel from 18 cents to 13.6 cents for revenue neutrality

Although the gas tax swap did not create a formula that would allow for necessary future increases in state and local allocations to public transportation, it did stabilize the limited revenues available for transit.  Given that in recent years the state has been diverting huge amounts of money from state transit funding in order to balance the budget, the gas tax swap created a mechanism to ensure that transit agencies at least receive the bare minimum of what they need to function.

Should Prop 26 pass, it would scuttle the gas tax swap.  This would likely mean that transit operators would again be exposed to volatility and an overall trend of reductions in revenues available from year to year.  Given Prop 26’s 2/3 vote requirement for increasing fees, it would become virtually impossible to secure the funds needed to expand the public transportation system in coming years.  Although it is not currently possible to determine with certainty the total future statewide funding needs for transit, there are currently tens of billions of dollars worth of unmet public transportation needs.

Conclusion

Prop 26 is an extremely dangerous initiative.  Its passage would wreak havoc with our ability to maintain the most basic and critical programs: public health services, toxics mitigation and clean-up, alcohol and tobacco harm reduction campaigns, food safety, and much more.  California faces numerous challenges these next years, from jobs to education, energy and infrastructure, water, housing and climate change.  Prop 26 would prevent us from having the capacity to successfully meet these challenges.  TransForm strongly urges you to vote “NO” on Prop 26 and to also engage your friends, colleagues and loved ones about the issues at stake.  The campaign against Prop 26 is grossly underfunded so the only way we’re going to defeat this one is if we all spread the word: vote “NO” on Prop 26!

No on Prop 26.  Learn more.

Why TransForm is Neutral on Proposition 22 – the Local Taxpayer, Public Safety and Transportation Protection Act

After wrestling at length with the details of this initiative, TransForm will remain neutral on Proposition 22.  We offer the following analysis and rationale for this position.  We encourage everyone to read the voter guide and ballot information for more details.

Prop 22 is a proposed amendment to the state constitution that aims to limit the state’s ability to borrow or take from local governments funds used for transportation, redevelopment, or other local government projects and services.  One of TransForm’s highest priorities is ensuring sufficient stable funding for public transportation.  The possibility of protecting local transportation funding with an initiative like Prop 22 is extremely compelling.  Prop 22 would ensure that certain critically important local funding streams would not be raided by the state.

If passed, Prop 22 would impact revenues available for the state’s General Fund, the state’s transportation funds, and local government funds, including local funding streams that support local public transportation and affordable housing programs and services.  The three main revenue streams impacted by Prop 22 are: state fuel taxes, local property taxes, and the vehicle license fee.  If Prop 22 becomes law, it would reduce or eliminate the state’s authority to:

  • use state fuel tax revenues to pay down the debt on state transportation bonds
  • borrow or exchange the allocation of state fuel tax revenues
  • redirect local property tax revenues that fund redevelopment agencies to other local government programs
  • shift property tax revenues from cities, counties and special districts to schools
  • use vehicle license fee revenues to reimburse local governments for state-mandated costs

By restricting and prohibiting the state from borrowing or redirecting funding streams that support local government operations, Prop 22 would protect several key local funding mechanisms for public transportation and affordable housing.  However, given the complexities of the programs at issue, it is not possible to predict all of the actual impacts, including potential unintended consequences, of Prop 22.  The complexity, the uncertainty, and the sense that we need to focus more on expanding resources are the main reasons TransForm has decided to remain neutral on this initiative.

Public Transportation

The majority of fuel tax revenues collected in California are routed through state level programs but a portion of these revenues go to local governments to fund local transportation programs and services.  State government currently has the authority to borrow the local revenues to maintain sufficient state cash flows or to balance the state budget.  The state must repay these funds, plus interest, within three years.  Prop 22 would prohibit the state from borrowing the local portion of fuel tax revenues, protecting their uninterrupted use by local governments.  This would allow local governments to maintain current funding for transportation programs but force the state to pursue other mechanisms to address borrowing needs, such as cutting other programs or increasing taxes.

The state uses some of the fuel tax revenues it receives to pay down debt servicing costs associated with voter-approved state transportation bonds.  Debt servicing costs the state approximately $1 billion per year.  Prop 22 would restrict the state’s ability to use fuel tax revenues to pay down the debt associated with transportation bonds.  If the state can not continue to use its fuel tax revenues to cover debt servicing costs, the state might spend these revenues on transportation projects such as roads, highways and public transportation infrastructure.  However, the state would be forced to dedicate an additional $1 billion per year from the General Fund to pay down the debt servicing costs.  This would exacerbate the state deficit by adding approximately $1 billion per year to General Fund obligations, requiring the state to reduce spending on other programs or increase taxes.

Affordable Housing

Under current state law, property tax revenues are used by local governments for a range of services but the specific allocations are governed by state law.  A portion of property tax revenues are used by local governments to fund the work of local redevelopment agencies which, in turn, use some of the money to fund affordable housing development.  The state is currently allowed to alter the allocations of property tax revenues by, for example, requiring monies otherwise intended for local redevelopment agencies to be spent on local schools.  During times of severe state fiscal difficulties, such as now, the state is also allowed to borrow local property tax revenues, for up to three years, in order to balance the state budget.

Prop 22 prohibits the state from altering local allocations of property tax revenues and also prohibits the state from borrowing property tax revenues.  As a result, if Prop 22 passes, redevelopment agency funding would be protected and this would protect some existing efforts to ensure affordable housing projects are built.  However, the state would be required to raise taxes or cut other programs in order to balance the budget and ensure sufficient funding for other local and statewide needs.

Conclusion

Prop 22’s restrictions on state borrowing or altering allocations of local funds would result in more secure funding for local and state transportation programs and more secure funding for local affordable housing programs.  Because of TransForm’s commitment to protecting and expanding funding for transit and affordable housing, these are strong arguments to support Prop 22.  The negative impacts of state diversions of local funds are glaringly obvious and Prop 22 would protect some very important local government revenue streams.  Californians have repeatedly voted to support higher local fees and taxes in order to fund local investments, yet our state government has repeatedly stepped in to divert these local revenues to cover state needs.  These diversions have contributed to local government cuts to road maintenance, public transportation, and redevelopment agencies.  Preventing or minimizing the negative impacts of state diversions of local monies is arguably reason enough to support Prop 22.

On the other hand, Prop 22 would also increase the state deficit by approximately $1 billion per year and make it more difficult for the state to increase its allocations for a range of critical needs, including possibly transportation.  Given the complexity of the funding streams and the overlapping responsibilities for program management at the state and local levels of government impacted by Prop 22, the possibility that there may be additional changes to relevant portions of state law prior to the November election via the budget or legislative process, and the likelihood that there will be litigation concerning portions of the initiative if it is passed by the voters, it is not possible to predict with certainty the real-world implications of Prop 22.  There are simply too many variables and unknowns.

By exacerbating tensions between the state and local levels of government, Prop 22 might make it more difficult to secure increased long-term state funding for key programs, including public transportation and affordable housing.  Ballot-box budgeting often has unforeseen consequences.  It was incredibly challenging for the two TransForm staff who worked on this, Graham Brownstein, an attorney, and Stuart Cohen, with a Master’s in Public Policy from UC Berkeley, to understand Prop 22.  We still do not fully understand the implications, especially the transportation component.  If you read the link we provide below to the state’s official voter information guide section on Prop 22, you will see that the state does not exactly shed a lot of light on the intricacies of the possible implications of the initiative.  This begs the question: does bringing multi-faceted and highly complex policy decisions like this to voters improve our governance system?

Regardless of what happens with Prop 22, local and state levels of government in California must increase their commitment to public transportation and ensure that funding keeps pace with the needs of a growing, urbanizing, and aging population.  The issues at stake in the debate over Prop 22 are profoundly complex and important.  There is no shortage of pain and suffering to go around: at the state and local levels and in homes, schools and offices across California.  All levels of government in California need additional revenues to meet fundamental obligations.  Public transportation and affordable homes are at the top of TransForm’s list but health and social services are also being decimated, especially for the poor, and our educational system is being starved as well.  Regardless of what happens with Prop 22, TransForm will continue to work at the local, state and federal levels to secure long-term stable funding for world-class public transportation and walkable communities for all Californians.  Please visit the state’s voter guide for more information on Prop 22.  We wish you the best in deciding how to vote on this initiative.

For more information on Prop 22, visit the following link to the state’s official Voter Guide analysis: http://voterguide.sos.ca.gov/pdf/english/22-title-summ-analysis.pdf

Contact State Policy Director Graham Brownstein for additional information and analysis of TransForm’s positions.

Categories
California Policy Complete Streets Education/Webinars GHG Reduction Metropolitan Planning

Women’s Transportation Seminar to Host SB 375 Luncheon with Mike McKeever: Oct 20th @ SACOG

HeaderWTS, Advancing Women in Transportaation - Home link

MISSION STATEMENT

Women’s Transportation Seminar of Sacramento (WTS Sacramento) is an organization devoted to supporting professional success in the transportation field by promoting excellence, growth, opportunity, and recognition. We provide an interactive forum for the advancement of multi-modal transportation issues.

WTS Sacramento is pleased to announce that its October 20 lunch program will feature Mike McKeever, Executive Director of the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG). To attend, please register here by October 18.

WTS Sacramento Members, please note: the October program will also serve as the Annual Members’ Meeting. We will take a few moments at the beginning of the program to conduct Chapter business.

Reminder: we are seeking applications from female students studying transportation-related fields for our 2010 Scholarships! Please help us spread the word to eligible high school, undergraduate and graduate students! Scholarship information can be found by clicking here.

October Program:

Implementing SB 375 – Transportation and Land Use Planning to Meet Our Regional GHG Reduction Targets

Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Speaker:  Mike McKeever, Executive Director, Sacramento Area Council of Governments


Please join WTS Sacramento on October 20 to hear Mike McKeever speak about his role in the design and implementation of Senate Bill (SB) 375. SB 375 requires each Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) to consider the impact of land use patterns and transportation choices on Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and develop a Sustainable Communities Strategy that will meet regional GHG emission reduction targets for passenger and light duty vehicles. The California Air Resources Board (ARB) recently adopted the regional GHG emission reduction targets for each MPO. SACOG’s targets are a seven percent reduction by 2020, and a 16 percent reduction by 2035.

Mr. McKeever will share his considerable knowledge about the target setting process. He served as the chair of ARB’s Regional Targets Advisory Committee (RTAC), which recommended a process for the ARB to use in setting the targets. Mr. McKeever will discuss the challenge of determining what would be ambitious and achievable targets, and how the state’s MPOs have worked together to meet this challenge. And, he will share his thoughts on how our region’s transportation system and land uses will need to evolve by 2020 and 2035 in order to meet our targets.

DATE: Wednesday, October 20, 2010

TIME:

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Registration/Mingling/Lunch Served

12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m. Speaker Presentation

12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Q&A

LOCATION:

SACOG Board Room

1415 L Street, Suite 300, Sacramento, CA 95814
RSVP BY REGISTERING AT THIS SITE BY OCTOBER 18:
http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=ps5omucab&oeidk=a07e31q8qxq810962a5

Contact Dave Lopez, dlopez@markthomas.com, if you encounter any problems with registering.

COST: Free for WTS Members, $15 for Non-Members

All no-shows will be charged a fee of $15

PARKING: Click here for parking options.

For light rail transit options or directions, plan your trip at: http://www.sacog.org/about/index.cfm

http://infoweb.sacrt.com/

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Categories
Education/Webinars GHG Reduction Local Government Public Transit Research

UC Davis Sustainable Transportation Seminar to Host Fall 2010 Webinar: Handy, Lubell, Cervero to Present

October 13, 2010: Encouraging Sustainable Travel, Part II

Introductions by Larry Orcutt, Caltrans Division of Research & Innovation

Presentations & Speakers:

Photo of Susan Handy How Do We Get More People Bicycling? Evidence from the Davis Bicycle Studies
Susan Handy – Sustainable Transportation Center

Communities throughout the US are giving increased priority to bicycling as a mode of transportation. However, it is not clear what factors are most important in promoting bicycling in these communities. A 2006 survey of residents of six small U.S. cities shows that bicycle ownership and use depend on individual characteristics, as well as aspects of the physical environment and the social environment. Critical factors include how much a person enjoys bicycling and how comfortable they are bicycling. In addition, bicycling-oriented people tend to “self-select” bicycling-oriented communities as places to live. Among characteristics of the physical environment, distances to destination are most important. Bicycle infrastructure seems to play an indirect role through its influence on comfort and safety. For the social environment, negative perceptions of other bicyclists seem to be a greater deterrent to bicycling than positive perceptions are an encouragement. These results suggest that to foster bicycling, communities must adopt land use policies that put destinations within bicycling distances of residents and create a safe bicycling environment through investments in infrastructure and other policies. To increase bicycling substantially, communities must also create programs that encourage bicycling by increasing comfort levels and changing the way their residents think about bicycling.

Dr. Susan Handy is a Professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy and the Director of the University Transportation Center at the University of California Davis.  Her research interests focus on the relationships between transportation and land use, particularly the impact of land development patterns on travel behavior, and on strategies for reducing automobile dependence.  She is a member of the Committee on Women’s Issues in Transportation and the Committee on Transportation Education of the Transportation Research Board.

Photo of Robert Cervero Are TODs Over-Parked?
Robert Cervero – University of California Transportation Center

Apartments that provide more parking than needed near rail stations, critics argue, drive up the cost of housing, consume valuable land near transit, and impose environmental costs like water pollution from enlarged impervious surfaces. We surveyed multi-family housing near suburban rail stations and asked professional planners about parking ordinances that account for transit. We found that vehicle trip generation rates for some projects were well below ITE standards and that adjacent land uses and proximity to transit matter. Based on this analysis, we recommend parking policies for state and local agencies to consider, particularly in light of climate legislation (AB 32, SB 375).

Robert Cervero works in the area of sustainable transportation policy and planning, focusing on the nexus between urban transportation and land-use systems. Besides his academic and directorship appointments at Berkeley, Professor Cervero is also a faculty affiliate of the Energy and Resources Group, the Institute of Transportation Studies, the Center for a Sustainable California, the Berkeley Center for Future Urban Transport, and the Global Metropolitan Studies Center. His current research is on the intersection of infrastructure, place-making, and economic development as well as urban transformations and their impacts on travel behavior. He is a frequent advisor and consultant on transport projects, both in the U.S. and abroad.

Photo of Mark Lubell City Adoption of Environmentally Sustainable Policies in California’s Central Valley
Mark Lubell – Sustainable Transportation Center

Problem: Sustainability remains “the current object of planning’s fascination,” as Campbell described it in 1996, but it is unclear what causes local governments to adopt environmentally sustainable policies and whether they are effective once adopted. Purpose: The goal of this article is to explain why communities adopt environmentally sustainable policies.

Methods: We develop an environmental policy sustainability index for 100 incorporated cities in California’s Central Valley using a combination of survey and archival data. We then use regression and cluster analyses to test which independent variables expressing three theoretical perspectives (Tiebout’s public goods development model, Peterson’s fiscal capacity model, and Logan and Molotch’s interest group/growth machine model) are best at explaining this index.

Results and conclusions: The results suggest that sustainable policies are more likely to occur in cities with better fiscal health and whose residents are of higher socioeconomic status. These findings raise important questions about the relationship between developed and developing cities that were not raised in previous studies, which focused only on major metropolitan which focused only on major metropolitan areas in the United States.

Takeaway for practice: Our results suggest that small, less-developed cities will need substantial technical, financial, and planning assistance to move toward greater sustainability. Many medium-sized, more developed cities may also need technical assistance, but are otherwise capable of becoming more environmentally sustainable.

Categories
California Policy Education/Webinars GHG Reduction Local Government

Local Government Technical Resources

Local governments play a critical role in helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions — below are a few resources to support cities and counties with limited staff and fiscal capacity to initiate Climate Action Plans.

Cool Planet Project

The Climate Registry administers an energy efficiency and climate change mitigation program called the Cool Planet Project with electric and gas utilities throughout North America.  The Cool Planet Project is funded by Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric and funds funds the following for “utility customers” (e.g. local governments) FOR FREE for the first year of participation:

  • One year membership in California Climate Registry (for GHG inventory)
  • Third party verification of GHG inventory
  • Public relations services provided to communicate environmental leadership to the public
  • Strengthens an organization’s voice among industry peers and national policy makers

Cool California

Cool California is a partnership of the State of California Air Resources Board, Energy Commission, Public Utilities, and University at Berkeley.  Its mission is to provide all Californians with the tools they need to take action to protect the climate and keep California cool.  The partnership has developed a Local Government Toolkit to identify cost saving actions, financial resources, and case studies to assist local governments with achieving GHG emission reductions.  Cool California provides resources to local government to establish baseline GHG emission inventories and guide the development of a Climate Action Plan.

Statewide Energy Efficiency Collaborative (SEEC)

The Statewide Energy Efficiency Collaborative is a new alliance to help cities and counties reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save energy. SEEC is a collaboration between three statewide non-profit organizations and California’s four Investor Owned Utilities.

SEEC Members:

SEEC provides education and tools for climate action planning, venues for peer-to-peer networking, technical assistance and recognition for local agencies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy use.  The collaborative effort is designed to build upon the unique resources, expertise and local agency relationships of each non-profit organization, as well as those of the four investor owned utilities.


Categories
California Policy Education/Webinars Local Government NewsFlash

Strategic Growth Council to Host “Smart Schools for Sustainable Communities: Aligning Sustainable Communities Planning and Public Education in California” — August 31

On August 31, 2010, in Sacramento, the California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) will host our first policy roundtable: Smart Schools for Sustainable Communities: Aligning Sustainable Communities Planning and Public Education in California, in Sacramento. One of the statutory objectives of the SGC is to recommend policies and investment strategies and priorities  to the Governor, the Legislature and other state agencies. We as Californians highly value education and invest billions of dollars in constructing and operating our schools. Community quality and schools are intricately connected and greatly impact our children’s future. Yet, we have not thought strategically how we can connect our investment in building schools to leverage state goals in other areas including improving the quality of our communities, the environment, and the health of our children. I hope that you can join me for an interactive dialogue with state wide decision makers that I know will be engaging and informative.

Date: August 31, 2010

Time: 1-5pm

Location: Health Professions High School, 451 McClatchy Way, Sacramento, CA 95818 (Map/Directions: here)

GOALS

The overall goal of this half-day meeting is to bring together statewide leaders in education, planning, and policy to discuss promising strategies for connecting schools to the creation of healthy, sustainable communities in California. Our three key objectives include:

1. Learn about the federal Housing and Sustainable Communities programs and their connections to education

2. Identify key opportunities to better link schools to the creation of sustainable communities in California, including

  • integrating schools into regional Sustainable Communities Strategies and local planning activities
  • school siting, design, and green construction policies
  • linking school curriculum and sustainable communities

3. Suggest policy strategies to leverage opportunities for improving educational experiences and realizing sustainable communities

BACKGROUND

California has been making tremendous financial and policy investments in improving educational quality and in making our cities and regions more livable and economically sound. Although schools and community quality are intricately connected, rarely do we think about linking policies across these sectors. This forum begins a conversation of doing so, building on recent statewide activities including the Senate Bill 375, federal Sustainable Housing and Communities Program, Senate Select Committee on School Facilities, and the California Department of Education’s new vision and guiding principles for school facilities that enhance achievement for all students.

This invitational state policy roundtable brings together the work of state, regional, and local agencies in the planning of sustainable communities and presents a unique opportunity to leverage California’s ongoing investments in educational innovations and school facilities. As state policy leaders and local communities work towards creating more economically resilient, vibrant, and sustainable communities, young people, and schools can, and should, play important roles.

The event is a collaboration between the Strategic Growth Council, California Department of Education (CDE), UC Berkeley’s Center for Cities & Schools, and other partnering state agencies.

This meeting will be limited in size to ensure that we have time and space to dialog and learn from one another. If you are able to join us, please RSVP to Anna Marie Young (annamarie.young@opr.ca.gov) by August 25, 2010.

An event description and tentative agenda are linked here: 2010 Smart Schools Aug 31 Agenda

I hope to see you on August 31st,

Heather Fargo

Executive Policy Officer
Strategic Growth Council

Categories
California Policy Education/Webinars SB 375

Policy “Makers and Shakers” Celebrate at Policy in Motion Open House

Guests enjoy tours of Policy in Motion's urban office space and garden patio

Lauren ‘Iolani Michele was joined by dozens of California’s policy “makers and shakers” on Tuesday, August 10th in celebrating the completion of her MS thesis and graduate degree from UC Davis, launch of her new policy analysis & education business, personal and professional name change, and all the health & happiness that 2010 has brought this year.  We all influence policy – whether in its initial formation as an idea, the evolution of an idea over time and discussion, the final stages of making an idea a reality, or forming choices around ideas made for or by us.

Anyone can be a policy “taker,” but an effective policy process relies upon “makers” and “shakers”

Click Here to View Full Album of Open House Pictures

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Policy "makers and shakers" enjoy good conversation, local wines, and raw-vegan appetizers

Policy advisors, board/commission members, SB 375 implementation staff, and committee consultants  from the State of California’s Department of Transportation, Energy Commission, Air Resources Board, Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, Institute of Transportation Studies,  and Senate Transportation and Housing Committee had an opportunity to exchange ideas with prominent NGO leaders from TransForm, ClimatePlan, and Environmental Defense Fund; consultants from leading environmental and transportation planning firms such as Fehr & Peers; and Sacramento’s local/regional planners from the County, Air Quality Management District, and SACOG.

“Lauren, you add so much to the transportation policy dialogue. Thanks.”

~ Sarah Michael, Advisor to Commissioner Boyd, California Energy Commission

Raw-vegan appetizers prepared by raw chef Margaret Gomes with local Sacramento ingredients
Lauren Michele features 2010 Transportation Research Board poster on “California’s SB 375 Implementation”