Categories
California Policy Cap and Trade GHG Reduction High-Speed Rail State Policy Sustainability Transportation Funding

Governor Signs Plan to Spend $1.5B in Cap-and-Trade Dollars

Clean Transportation Receives $900 Million from Cap-and-Trade Revenue 

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed two bills that outline a plan to spend $1.5 billion on environmental initiatives using money from the state’s recently renewed cap and trade program.  The bills were signed on Saturday, hours after lawmakers approved the plan to spend most of the money on incentives and rebates to promote a cleaner vehicle fleet.

$900 Million of the funds will be allocated to clean transportation projects – a substantial increase compared to previous years ($680 million for the last four years combined)

This amount is on top of the $900 million allocated according to formula, including $375 million for the State High-Speed Rail Project.

California has set an ambitious goal to have 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025. Lawmakers hope the rebates will help close the price gap between traditional and electric vehicles.

Here is a breakdown of how the Low Carbon Transportation funds will be spent: 

  • $140M – Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (consumer rebates for electric or fuel cell passenger cars) 
  • $140M – Freight Equipment Advanced Demonstration; Pilot Commercial Deployment Project
  • $100M – Enhanced Fleet Modernization Program and Plus Up Project (low-income assistance for vehicle scrap and replace); School Buses; Light-Duty Equity Pilot Projects (e.g. electric carsharing in disadvantaged communities)
  • $180M – Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project ($35M must go to zero-emission buses)
  • $85M – Agricultural Diesel Engine Replacement and Upgrades 

Additionally, $255 Million will be allocated for AB 617 Implementation:

  • $250M – Community Air Protection (95% to South Coast, San Joaquin Valley, and Bay Area Air Districts; 5% to other Air Districts via CARB) 
  • $5M – Technical Assistance Grants to Community Organizations (i.e. consultants/experts) 

   

____________________________________________________
Lauren Michele, Principal / Founder, Policy in Motion
 
Policy in Motion offers planning practitioners, policymakers, and public agencies an understanding of how to integrate sustainability policy into transportation infrastructure and land use decisions. Lauren Michele’s 2011 book, “Policy in Motion: Transportation Planning in California after AB 32” explores the State’s evolving policies for sustainable living through transportation planning. Lauren’s 2012 film documentary, “Policy in Motion: Growing Beautiful Communities” continues to explore how an integrated approach to transportation planning and funding based on “People-Oriented Development” (POD) can improve community quality of life while meeting California’s environmental and economic goals. Policy in Motion’s book and film are available for purchase online at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and www.policyinmotion.com.
Categories
NewsFlash

California Launches Free Electric CarShare Pilot Program

Sacramento Launches Electric Vehicle CarShare Program in Three Affordable Housing Communities

In partnership with the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District (AQMD), Policy in Motion is pleased to announce the launch of Our Community CarShare Sacramento, a new electric carsharing pilot program serving disadvantaged communities. This Sacramento AQMD program is funded by California Climate Investments: Cap-and-Trade Dollars at Work and operated by Zipcar with the goal of increasing access to zero-emission vehicles and enhancing clean mobility options.

Our Community CarShare provides hundreds of residents in three Sacramento affordable housing complexes with free access to eight electric Kia Souls. Six of the zero-emission vehicles are stationed at the residential communities and two additional vehicles will be available for reservation by registered users at the Sacramento Valley Train Station.

Eligible residents of Alder Grove, Edgewater, and Mutual Housing at Lemon Hill will have access to these exclusive community cars for short trips like errands, appointments, and meetings. The first 300 qualifying members will receive a free membership and may use the cars up to three times a week, with a maximum three hours reservation period (9 hours per week total). Zipcar operates the reservation system and will maintain the fleet. Residents are currently signing up for the program at www.ourcarshare.orgor with printed surveys at our workshops, and will soon be reserving the vehicles using Zipcar.com or self-service kiosks on site. There will be no cost to use Our Community CarShare for the residents.

Photos, articles, and videos from the press event and community outreach can be found on our Facebook page at Facebook.com/ourcarshare. Here’s what some of the residents are saying about the program:

“I can’t wait. It will help a lot of people out who currently have no means of transportation!”

“I’m really excited. I’m going to be the first customer! It helps you feel more independent.”

Policy in Motion partnered on this pilot project to create the unique branding and marketing of Our Community CarShare Sacramento, including the development of the logo and website, www.ourcarshare.org and Facebook.com/ourcarshare. Policy in Motion is also working with the residents at all three communities on outreach and education to help ensure the participants can successfully use the program. This includes generating educational materials regarding carsharing and electric vehicle trip planning — as well as conducting multi-lingual workshops on the membership process involving participant eligibility, surveys, and program-specific Zipcar registration. Additional trainings will take place to help residents understand how to charge, use, and reserve the cars. Other elements of the program outreach include the development of site-specific information binders for on-site housing staff, working individually with staff to understand the program, and identifying resident “Community Ambassadors” at each location who are volunteer champions for the program, assisting other residents and helping to monitor that the cars are plugged in when parked. Policy in Motion is also tracking the successes and challenges in implementing this innovative pilot project so that the program may expand and improve in future years and be replicated in other cities.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) provided a $1.3 million grant through California Climate Investments, a statewide program that invests cap-and-trade proceeds, particularly in disadvantaged communities. The Sacramento Metropolitan AQMD was awarded the project funding through a competitive grant process.

“Our Community CarShare Sacramento provides access to clean, free transportation to residents of disadvantaged communities,” said Larry Greene, Sacramento AQMD’s Executive Director. “Mobility is vitally important in today’s economy, and bringing zero-emission transportation options to all residents is critical to protecting air quality and health.”

Other program partners include Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, Mutual Housing California, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, and the City of Sacramento.

“All Californians deserve to have access to the very cleanest vehicles, especially in the neighborhoods that need them the most,” said CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols. “This investment is a triple play: It helps clean the air, fights climate change and improves the quality of life for those who live in these communities. That’s a good use of cap-and-trade proceeds by any measure.”

Vehicle emissions contribute more than 70 percent of the pollutants that form ground-level ozone in Sacramento. The region does not meet federal health standards for ozone. High ozone concentrations trigger asthma attacks and damage lungs. Reducing transportation emissions is Sacramento’s best path toward protecting air quality.

The Sacramento Metropolitan AQMD protects air quality on behalf of the residents of Sacramento County. For more information, visit airquality.org.

California Climate Investments

Our Community CarShare Sacramento is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment – particularly in disadvantaged communities.

The cap-and-trade program also creates a financial incentive for industries to invest in clean technologies and develop innovative ways to reduce pollution. California Climate Investments projects include affordable housing, renewable energy, public transportation, zero-emission vehicles, environmental restoration, more sustainable agriculture, recycling and much more. At least 35 percent of these investments are made in disadvantaged and low-income communities. For more information, visit www.caclimateinvestements.ca.gov.

 

____________________________________________________
Lauren Michele, Principal / Founder, Policy in Motion 

Policy in Motion offers planning practitioners, policy makers, and public agencies an understanding of how to integrate sustainability policy into transportation infrastructure and land use decisions. Lauren Michele’s 2011 book, “Policy in Motion: Transportation Planning in California after AB 32” explores the State’s evolving policies for sustainable living through transportation planning. Lauren’s 2012 film documentary, “Policy in Motion: Growing Beautiful Communities” continues to explore how an integrated approach to transportation planning and funding based on “People-Oriented Development” (POD) can improve community quality of life while meeting California’s environmental and economic goals. Policy in Motion’s book and film are available for purchase on-line at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and www.policyinmotion.com.

 

Categories
NewsFlash

Governor Doubles Transportation Cap and Trade Funding in May Budget Revison

2015-16 Cap and Trade Expenditure Plan

California Governor Jerry Brown’s May Budget Revision released last week includes a proposal to increase Cap and Trade expenditures by $1.245 Billion due to higher than anticipated AB 32 auction revenue. This proposed increase brings the total amount of Cap and Trade expenditures to $2.237 Billion, with the Transportation sector accounting for 72% of total funds.  SB 375 related programs — including SGC’s Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program ($400M), CalSTA’s Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program ($265M), and the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program ($100M) — account for 35% of the total cap and trade expenditures.  Additional proposals for transportation investments include CARB’s Low Carbon Transportation Program ($350M) and the High-Speed Rail Authority’s Project ($500M).

Details of the entire May Revise Summary can be viewed here:

Cap and Trade Resource Center
For an overview on how California’s cap and trade program works and a summary of 13 cap and trade funding programs, check out Policy in Motion’s “Cap & Trade 101” materials on-line at the Institute for Local Government’s website, download as a full brochure, and/or view as an Infographic!

Categories
California Policy Cap and Trade Education/Webinars GHG Reduction Livable Communities Local Government NewsFlash SB 375 State Policy Transportation Funding

Cap and Trade Resource Center Launches! Website + Infographic + Brochure (with a side of Podcast) 

Multi-Media Transportation Policy

This month, Policy in Motion is pleased to announce two exciting communications projects that will help local governments and interested stakeholders better understand the basics of transportation planning and new grant funding opportunities under California’s new Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.

If you happen to be one of the 216,000 people following Streetsblog podcaster, Jeff Wood, on twitter you may have heard that Policy in Motion’s Lauren Michele was recently featured on a podcast called Remaking California’s Transportation System for People and Their Environment. This first podcast in a three part series looks at California’s move to change the way transportation is funded and organized at the state level. With major environmental laws passed in the last decade that focus on reducing greenhouse gasses, California is on the cusp of great change. Lauren Michele and Kate White, Deputy Secretary for Environmental Policy and Housing at CALSTA, were hosted in Part 1 to talk about the new laws and the consolidation of state transportation departments under one agency.  Listen to the 13 minute segment on-line or on your phone here.

Policy in Motion worked with the Institute for Local Government (ILG) to launch a new “Cap and Trade Resource Center” this month – a one stop shop for locals to get a reader’s digest version of how California’s cap and trade program works, and what grant funding is available for local governments.  Lauren Michele developed the content and materials for ILG’s Resource Center, which summarizes 13 new and existing state agency grant programs funded through AB 32 cap and trade auction revenues that could fund or support local government sustainability efforts.

The information can be found on-line at ILG’s website, downloaded as a full brochure, and/or viewed as an Infographic!

Lauren Michele, Principal / Founder, Policy in Motion.

Lauren earned a Master’s of Science degree from the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies after working as a transportation planning professional at Fehr & Peers, a climate change policy analyst at the Center for Clean Air Policy in Washington D.C., and an air quality program assistant at the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District.  At the UC Davis Urban Land Use and Transportation Center (ULTRANS) she focused on the links between California’s Senate Bill 375 and developing federal climate/energy legislation and the transportation reauthorization.  Her academic work includes teaching undergraduate courses in Transportation Policy at UC Davis and experiential learning while living and researching multi-modal transportation planning in Europe.

Lauren organized and served as Policy Director for the Transportation Coalition for Livable Communities — a coalition which includes the California Alliance for Jobs, California Transit Association, National Resources Defense Council, League of California Cities, State Association of Counties, and the Metropolitan Planning Organizations and Councils of Governments throughout the state. The Coalition promotes the investment of cap and trade revenue to address both the greenhouse gas reduction goals of AB 32 and critical transportation system maintenance and operation needs that build on the framework of SB 375 and other GHG reduction strategies.

Her firm, Policy in Motion, specializes in sustainable transportation policy.  Policy in Motion offers planning practitioners, policy makers, and public agencies an understanding of how to integrate sustainability policy into transportation infrastructure and land use decisions.  Lauren Michele’s 2011 book, “Policy in Motion: Transportation Planning in California after AB 32” explores the State’s evolving policies for sustainable living through transportation planning, and identifies how outdated regulatory frameworks must be aligned with supporting paradigm shifts if California is to move forward in a truly unified vision for “People-Oriented Development” and transportation.  Lauren’s 2012 film documentary, “Policy in Motion: Growing Beautiful Communities” continues to explore how an integrated approach to transportation planning and funding based on “People-Oriented Development” (POD) can improve community quality of life while meeting California’s environmental and economic goals. Policy in Motion’s book and film are available for purchase on-line at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and www.policyinmotion.com.

 

Categories
NewsFlash

$130M Approved Today for Sustainable Communities in California!

$130M Approved Today for Sustainable Communities in California!

Policy in Motion would like to applaud the Strategic Growth Council and agency partners for taking the time to revisit the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program Guidelines (AHSC) and approving them at today’s hearing.

The principle change in the guidelines was to make greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction per dollar the primary criteria for project selection.  While the public testimony was dominated by a discussion over the weight of scoring the affordability vs GHG reduction of projects, the SGC approved the updated guidelines to include the amount of GHG reduction achieved per grant dollar requested as a major focus of scoring criteria in order to ensure this program maximizes our limited dollars in the most effective way to meet our AB 32 and SB 375 goals.  Given this is the FIRST year we have done this brand new program, it is essential that we have metrics in place to assess the success of this program next year – GHG per dollar levels the playing field between large urban projects and smaller rural projects to equitably ensure that all applicable projects are competing based on how much GHG reduction they are getting from the amount of grant dollars requested.  Additionally, being able to point to this particular metric is critical for the long-term viability of the AB 32 Cap and Trade Program.  The first year AHSC program is going to yield 13-25 projects across the state that will be looked at next year as pilot examples for whether the process worked or didn’t – and the overall GHG reduction that was achieved from the total grant program will be pointed to by the Legislature, Administration, and stakeholders.

In addition to maximizing the investment in this program by highlighting GHG reduction as scoring criteria, the updated guidelines also include a greater role for the Metropolitan Planning Organizations in reviewing the applications to ensure that we are implementing regional SB 375 Sustainable Communities Strategies to best meet the needs of our communities.

GHG Methodology

Some concerns were also raised at today’s hearing regarding the use of perhaps outdated data in the CalEEMod and CMAQ tools that are to be used to score applications’ GHG reduction quantification.  CalEEMod doesn’t account for affordable housing very well, nor does it account for urban land use characteristics like the “8D’s” (major factors that reduce VMT).  These “8’Ds” are: density, diversity, design, destination, distance to transit, development scale, demographics, and demand management.  These D-factors are critical if we are to really examine how an integrated, land use and transportation project will reduce GHG emissions.  That said, new data that has been peer reviewed could be incorporated into CalEEMod.  However, why not use some of the latest tools SGC and nearly all of the state’s MPOs have been using for SB 375 GHG reduction quantification from land use already?: UrbanFootprint. What is unique about UrbanFootprint is that it is a platform that can hold whatever latest data is out there – whether that’s affordable housing or land use characteristics.  In fact, UrbanFootprint already includes a rigorous transportation and land use component based on the “8Ds.”  And what’s even cooler is that it has the capacity – with the help of pioneers like TNC and Sonoma County carving the path – to build a rigorous conservation and agriculture component so we could use ONE platform for both the AHSC program and its complimentary (smaller yet equally important younger brother program) Sustainable Agricultural Conservation and Lands Program. That way we can really look at both sides of the coin in a holistic way to implement SB 375 through both urban infill and rural conservation of land.

So What’s Next?

Project concepts are due in one month so time to roll up your sleeves!

Want More Background Info?

Check out Policy in Motion’s previous blog posts on this topic:

Lauren Michele, Principal/Founder, Policy in Motion.

Lauren earned a Master’s of Science degree from the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies after working as a transportation planning professional at Fehr & Peers, a climate change policy analyst at the Center for Clean Air Policy in Washington D.C., and an air quality program assistant at the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District.  At the UC Davis Urban Land Use and Transportation Center (ULTRANS) she focused on the links between California’s Senate Bill 375 and developing federal climate/energy legislation and the transportation reauthorization.  Her academic work includes teaching undergraduate courses in Transportation Policy at UC Davis and experiential learning while living and researching multi-modal transportation planning in Europe.

Lauren organized and served as Policy Director for the Transportation Coalition for Livable Communities — a coalition which includes the California Alliance for Jobs, California Transit Association, National Resources Defense Council, League of California Cities, State Association of Counties, and the Metropolitan Planning Organizations and Councils of Governments throughout the state. The Coalition promotes the investment of cap and trade revenue to address both the greenhouse gas reduction goals of AB 32 and critical transportation system maintenance and operation needs that build on the framework of SB 375 and other GHG reduction strategies.

Her firm, Policy in Motion, specializes in sustainable transportation policy.  Policy in Motion offers planning practitioners, policy makers, and public agencies an understanding of how to integrate sustainability policy into transportation infrastructure and land use decisions.  Lauren Michele’s 2011 book, “Policy in Motion: Transportation Planning in California after AB 32” explores the State’s evolving policies for sustainable living through transportation planning, and identifies how outdated regulatory frameworks must be aligned with supporting paradigm shifts if California is to move forward in a truly unified vision for “People-Oriented Development” and transportation.  Lauren’s 2012 film documentary, “Policy in Motion: Growing Beautiful Communities” continues to explore how an integrated approach to transportation planning and funding based on “People-Oriented Development” (POD) can improve community quality of life while meeting California’s environmental and economic goals. Policy in Motion’s book and film are available for purchase on-line at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and www.policyinmotion.com.

 

Categories
Education/Webinars Mentorship

Happy Holidays from Policy in Motion

The holiday season is always a good time for reflection on what we’ve achieved in the transportation and sustainability planning profession, as well as thinking about the upcoming year’s goals.  However, the other 11 months of the year often fly by us in a frenzy as we are inundated with deadlines and meetings.  Here at Policy in Motion I’ve learned a trick to balancing out the immediate demands of work with long-term thinking: MENTORING

It may sound like something that just requires more time, but incorporating professional and personal mentorship into our schedules is the best thing we can do not only for our future transportation and planning leaders, but for ourselves too.

I started the Policy in Motion “Career Development” Mentorship Program in 2011 as a way to bridge student interests with real-world projects.  I’ve since worked with half a dozen high school, undergraduates, and grad school students on projects in the Sacramento region and it has been a joy to see these bright leaders go on to pursue careers in the public, private, and academic transportation sectors.

This year I have the great pleasure of mentoring a young professional through the American Planning Association’s “Planning+Leadership+Advancement+Networking” (PLAN) Mentorship Program with 10 other mentors and their mentees.  Say hello to Emily!

Emily Alice Gerhart is a recent graduate of UC Davis, with a Bachelor of Science in Community and Regional Development and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations.  She is a project coordinator at WALKSacramento, a non-profit that promotes walkable communities through active transportation planning and advocacy.  She currently works on a variety of projects, leading a Safe Routes to School project in West Sacramento, reviewing development projects and plans, and analyzing regional policies related to Complete Streets. Emily was an invited speaker at the Pedestrians Count! 2014 statewide conference in May 2014, where she gave a presentation on using social media to achieve pedestrian advocacy and outreach goals. In Fall 2014, she was accepted into the American Planning Association award-winning PLAN Sac Valley mentorship program for aspiring planners.  Emily Alice is passionate about creating safe public spaces and promoting active transportation through urban and environmental design.

Here are a few easy tips on how to help students succeed:

  • Share internship opportunities with related programs at local Universities. For example, contact Cynthia Goldberg at the UC Davis Internship and Career Center with internship announcements related to environmental planning/policy at clgoldberg@ucdavis.edu.
  • Volunteer with college outreach activities through a local professional organization, such as the Women’s Transportation Seminar, American Planning Association, Urban Land Institute, or the Institute of Transportation Engineers.
  • Encourage your agency, company, or organization to make donations to local scholarship funds.  Most professional organizations have a student scholarship program. Share information about these scholarship opportunities with local teachers and advisors.
  • Meet for coffee — invite a young professional at your organization or someone you met in a meeting out for a morning coffee.  The best mentorship is subtle, casual, and genuine.
  • Bring a student or young professional with you next time you have a WTS luncheon, ITE holiday party, APA planning program, or ULI happy hour. Introduce them to others in the field. Mentorship breeds easily :)

Happy Holidays Everyone!

 

Categories
NewsFlash

SB 375: Still Ambitious & Achievable?

Hope everyone had a Thanksgiving full of love and gratitude. Hard to believe it’s already the last month of 2014! Approaching a new year is a great time of reflection on where we’ve been and what our goals are going forward. I’d like to take this opportunity to offer some reflections on one of the key areas in the transportation sector: SB 375.

In 2008, California established a process and program for regional GHG reduction from land use — SB 375.  SB 375 was crafted to be a performance-based, yet flexible, approach to meeting greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals. It successfully blended the need for “ambitious” GHG reduction goals with an “achievable” and practical approach so that cities and counties could ultimately create significant changes in land use patterns.  Because it is actually land use, not transportation investments, that create the most GHG reduction impacts.  This successful approach emerged not magically overnight, but after a year of collaboration via the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) Regional Targets Advisory Committee who examined the best approach to create meaningful GHG reduction goals for SB 375.  And it was that process that led to every MPO creating a Sustainable Communities Strategy that actually hit the State-assigned GHG target for their region.  Remember the Alternative Planning Strategy?  That was supposed to be the Plan B for any MPO who couldn’t create a Regional Transportation Plan that hit its target — but because of the performance-based approach in the crafting of these plans, MPOs were all able to make it happen.

Now it’s time to help those responsible for IMPLEMENTING these plans — local cites and counties.  Local governments deserve the same thoughtfulness and approach that worked for the MPOs if we want to see SB 375 be truly successful.  It is the responsibility of the State to ensure that the all the great work done to date follows in the original spirit of SB 375:  tackling these ambitious GHG goals through an achievable, performance-based approach — maximizing GHG reduction while creating ample flexibility for the communities who must now implement these regional plans.

As we approach 2015 in an era of cap and trade funding possibilities, we have an incredible opportunity to make this happen.  But only if we do it right.  Lack of funding for the SB 375 process presents a threat to AB 32 and all of the existing work that CARB and the MPOs have done since 2008.  Funding individual transportation and housing projects alone that happen to be consistent with the Regional Transportation Plan isn’t really what SB 375 is about, nor is that the way to maximize ambitious GHG reduction.  Funding should be prioritized to projects that create the greatest GHG benefits under the Sustainable Communities Strategy. While the cap and trade program is a start, it needs not only more attention in the administration of the first year funding, but significantly more funding for future years.  And the only way to make the case for more funding is to show that we can do a really good job with limited resources in the first year.

So what do we need to do?  I think we need to look backward before we can look forward.  Six years ago we decided to pass a landmark bill that included in it a process for collaboration with technical, policy, and political experts.  We then identified what was needed: better transportation and land use modeling so that we could create these plans.  The Strategic Growth Council allocated $12 million in Prop 84 funding to the MPOs so that they could build modeling capacity to make this process actually take off. That’s what we need now, but it’s time to shift focus from the MPOs who have been so successful in helping us get this far and figure out how we can empower local communities to do the implementation side.  Because local agencies and institutions are at the front lines of implementing SB 375. Let’s ensure that local government gets the chance it now needs to create “ambitious and achievable” SB 375 implementation.

Cap and trade is our one shot this decade to make SB 375 work.  For the next year let’s focus on giving locals maximum flexibility to achieve maximum GHG reduction.  And the great thing?  When we empower communities to come up with their own innovative solutions they not only reduce GHG emissions even more than expected, but they maximize other community benefits like better health, better access, and better quality of life.

For more background on SB 375 check out the policy blog archives on www.policyinmotion.com for articles such as this one from 2011:Targets and Goal Setting

 

Categories
NewsFlash

ICP is the new TOD

Introducing three new words: Integrated Connectivity Projects.

Kudos to the Strategic Growth Council for coming up with a new acronym in their Draft Program Guidelines for the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program (AHSC).

The concept of the ICP is to expand the definition of TOD to include areas that have the potential to improve transit by improving other transportation infrastructure that provide access to existing or new public transit or shuttle stops.  An ICP would include at least one of the following infrastructure-related capital uses of funds:

  • Housing Developments (e.g. construction of green/vegetated roofs)
  • Housing-Related Infrastructure (e.g. water, sewer or other utility service improvements and relocation)
  • Transportation- or Transit-Related Infrastructure (e.g. the reconstruction or resurfacing of sidewalks and streets; bicycle paths; traffic calming projects like roundabouts)
  • Green Infrastructure (e.g. easements and rights of way)
  • Or Planning Implementation if combined with any of the above (e.g. analysis to update adopted General/Specific Plans, zoning ordinances which are required to implement a capital project)
  • Note: Policy in Motion strongly recommends that commercial-related infrastructure development be eligible given that commercial use near transit reduces VMT even more than housing development near transit

There would also be a variety of eligible applicants that could apply for grant funding for an ICP in their community. The Public Agency that has jurisdiction over the Project Area would be a required applicant, either by itself or jointly (co-applicant) with any of the following: Joint Powers Authority, Public Housing Authority, Transit Agency/Operators, School District, facilities district or other special district, developers (profit and/or non-profit).

The guideline’s 81 pages of flow charts and matrices are far from simple to understand at first glance (or second), but the reality is integrating land use and transportation projects are not simple problems with simple solutions.  I don’t think any of us fully understand the SGC’s guidelines at this point, but I would say that’s actually an excellent indication that we are on track to a meaningful program with real-world implementation that works.  I’d also like to give kudos to SGC for taking on an extremely complicated approach to integration of infrastructure and programs that will be difficult — but certainly not impossible — to quantify GHG emissions and co-benefits.  Leveraging the incredible work done by California’s regional and local governments will be not just important, but essential, in achieving a flexible and durable program that maximizes our goals under this program.

The purpose of the AHSC Program is to reduce GHG emissions through projects that implement land use, housing, transportation, and agricultural land preservation practices to support infill and compact development.  The AHSC Program is supported by auction proceeds derived from the California Air Resources Board’s Cap and Trade Program, and appropriated in the annual State Budget to the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. $130 million has been allocated to this program for this fiscal year.  The guidelines recommend that no less than 30 percent of these funds be allocated to Integrated Connectivity Projects and no less than 40% to Transit Oriented Development projects.  The total dollar amount is likely to double next year and see significant increases after that.

 

Lauren Michele, Principal/Founder, Policy in Motion.  Lauren earned a Master’s of Science degree from the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies after working as a transportation planning professional at Fehr & Peers, a climate change policy analyst at the Center for Clean Air Policy in Washington D.C., and an air quality program assistant at the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District.  At the UC Davis Urban Land Use and Transportation Center (ULTRANS) she focused on the links between California’s Senate Bill 375 and developing federal climate/energy legislation and the transportation reauthorization.  Her academic work includes teaching undergraduate courses in Transportation Policy at UC Davis and experiential learning while living and researching multi-modal transportation planning in Europe.

Lauren currently serves as Policy Director for the Transportation Coalition for Livable Communities — an organization which includes the California Alliance for Jobs, California Transit Association, National Resources Defense Council, League of California Cities, State Association of Counties, and the Metropolitan Planning Organizations and Councils of Governments throughout the state. The Coalition promotes the investment of cap and trade revenue to address both the greenhouse gas reduction goals of AB 32 and critical transportation system maintenance and operation needs that build on the framework of SB 375 and other GHG reduction strategies.

Her firm, Policy in Motion, specializes in sustainable transportation policy.  Policy in Motion offers planning practitioners, policy makers, and public agencies an understanding of how to integrate sustainability policy into transportation infrastructure and land use decisions.  Lauren Michele’s 2011 book, “Policy in Motion: Transportation Planning in California after AB 32” explores the State’s evolving policies for sustainable living through transportation planning, and identifies how outdated regulatory frameworks must be aligned with supporting paradigm shifts if California is to move forward in a truly unified vision for “People-Oriented Development” and transportation.  Lauren’s 2012 film documentary, “Policy in Motion: Growing Beautiful Communities” continues to explore how an integrated approach to transportation planning and funding based on “People-Oriented Development” (POD) can improve community quality of life while meeting California’s environmental and economic goals. Policy in Motion’s book and film are available for purchase on-line at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and www.policyinmotion.com.

Categories
NewsFlash

Top 5 Ways SGC Can Score Big for California

STRATEGIC GROWTH COUNCIL TO OVERSEE MILLIONS IN GRANTS FOR COMMUNITIES

With over $100 million now dedicated in the State Budget to sustainable communities and 20% of future cap and trade revenues secured, our attention turns to the California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) who will establish guidelines and oversee the implementation of this program.

The vision of the Strategic Growth Council for “healthy, vibrant, and resilient California communities” is one that lends itself to innovation, partnership, and empowerment of those communities the Council seeks to activate.  This Sustainable Communities Cap and Trade Program is a perfect opportunity to advance the vision that SGC has set forth to accomplish.

Communities and the elements that make them vibrant are complex – as much as we would like to have the same silver bullet solution across the state, the reality is that we need a funding program as robust and innovative as the communities it will serve. Likewise, we need to have a Strategic Growth Council that understands the complexities of land use, transportation, and travel behavior interactions and how to implement on the ground transformation. And that’s not simple despite how much we would all wish it to be. We need regional expertise and local engagement on our side – and that means an SGC that empowers and leverages those technical and political resources. Unfortunately, the statute passed by the Legislature to guide the spending of the cap and trade funds is ambiguous and incomplete.  It will be up to the SGC to fill in the gaps to make this program an effective complement to SB 375 and a transformative force in California land use and transportation policy.

Considering these 5 approaches could help SGC score big for California:

1) Evaluate proposals based on the regional GHG impact of the transportation investments.

2) Encourage and reward projects that are integrated with land use changes. Land use is where the big gains in GHG reduction can be found and this linkage is at the heart of SB 375. Isolated, single purpose projects don’t get the GHG reductions we need.

3) Provide local flexibility in project design. The state shouldn’t try to limit the types of projects local governments develop so long as they reduce GHG emissions and contribute to community goals.

4) Develop rigorous modeling and monitoring protocols and make the results public. Allowing flexibility at the local level works if we evaluate to a common goal—reducing regional GHG emissions—and select projects on that basis.

5) Empower the regions. SB 375 requires regions to develop and implement workable plans.  Cap and trade dollars should support those goals and help the regional agencies do the job the state has given them.
Lauren Michele, Principal/Founder, Policy in Motion.

Lauren earned a Master’s of Science degree from the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies after working as a transportation planning professional at Fehr & Peers, a climate change policy analyst at the Center for Clean Air Policy in Washington D.C., and an air quality program assistant at the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District.  At the UC Davis Urban Land Use and Transportation Center (ULTRANS) she focused on the links between California’s Senate Bill 375 and developing federal climate/energy legislation and the transportation reauthorization.  Her academic work includes teaching undergraduate courses in Transportation Policy at UC Davis and experiential learning while living and researching multi-modal transportation planning in Europe.

Lauren currently serves as Policy Director for the Transportation Coalition for Livable Communities — an organization which includes the California Alliance for Jobs, California Transit Association, National Resources Defense Council, League of California Cities, State Association of Counties, and the Metropolitan Planning Organizations and Councils of Governments throughout the state. The Coalition promotes the investment of cap and trade revenue to address both the greenhouse gas reduction goals of AB 32 and critical transportation system maintenance and operation needs that build on the framework of SB 375 and other GHG reduction strategies.

Her firm, Policy in Motion, specializes in sustainable transportation policy.  Policy in Motion offers planning practitioners, policy makers, and public agencies an understanding of how to integrate sustainability policy into transportation infrastructure and land use decisions.  Lauren Michele’s 2011 book, “Policy in Motion: Transportation Planning in California after AB 32” explores the State’s evolving policies for sustainable living through transportation planning, and identifies how outdated regulatory frameworks must be aligned with supporting paradigm shifts if California is to move forward in a truly unified vision for “People-Oriented Development” and transportation.  Lauren’s 2012 film documentary, “Policy in Motion: Growing Beautiful Communities” continues to explore how an integrated approach to transportation planning and funding based on “People-Oriented Development” (POD) can improve community quality of life while meeting California’s environmental and economic goals. Policy in Motion’s book and film are available for purchase on-line at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and www.policyinmotion.com.

 

Categories
NewsFlash

California Budget Deal on Cap and Trade Program Reached : Transportation Comes Out on Top

BUDGET CONFERENCE COMMITTEE REACHES COMPROMISE ON CAP AND TRADE

Today the Legislature put forward an agreement for how to spend AB 32 Cap and Trade revenues for Fiscal Year 2014-15, as well as an expenditure plan for future years. Policy in Motion whipped up a quick reader’s digest on The Good, The Bad, and The Beautiful:

The Good:

  • For the first year of the program’s funding (2014-15), transportation-related programs will receive over 70% of the $872 million allocated.  This includes $250M for High-Speed Rail; $25M for Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program; $25M for Low Carbon Transit Operations; $65M for Affordable Housing; $65M for Sustainable Communities; and $200M for Low Carbon Transportation.
  • For future years (beginning in 2015-16), SB 375 related programs will receive 35% of cap and trade revenues on a continuously appropriated basis.  This includes 10% for Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (administered by Caltrans and CTC); 5% for Low Carbon Transit Operations (via State Transit Assistance formula); 10% for Affordable Housing; and 10% for Sustainable Communities.
  • Additionally, the High Speed Rail Authority will receive 25% of continuously appropriated funding for the construction of the High Speed Rail.

The Bad:

  • Misses the opportunity for a competitive process to get the best projects on the ground and encourage innovation – which is really at the heart of this market-based economic approach of doing a cap and trade program.
  • Does not consider the cost of how much GHG reduction we can get per dollar spent – though it seems like a lot of money, the reality is we only have a limited amount of dollars to ensure that California meets its AB 32 greenhouse gas reduction goals.
  • No dedicated funding for active transportation – bicycling, walking, and the land use patterns necessary to facilitate bikable and walkable communities is vital for any comprehensive transportation funding program.
  • No dedicated funding for street maintenance – as we invest in new transit buses and promote urban infill development maintaining a basic state of good repair is not only necessary for the cars and buses using urban roads but is a vital piece of complete and safe streets as bicyclists and pedestrians also are users of pavement.

……And the Beautiful:

  • Now that we have funding allocated for sustainable communities we need to look forward toward working with the Administration to develop guidelines that will grow beautiful communities through “people-oriented development.” We must keep this vision through the implementation process of revenue allocation from the AB 32 cap and trade program.

Lauren Michele, Principal/Founder, Policy in Motion.

Lauren earned a Master’s of Science degree from the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies after working as a transportation planning professional at Fehr & Peers, a climate change policy analyst at the Center for Clean Air Policy in Washington D.C., and an air quality program assistant at the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District.  At the UC Davis Urban Land Use and Transportation Center (ULTRANS) she focused on the links between California’s Senate Bill 375 and developing federal climate/energy legislation and the transportation reauthorization.  Her academic work includes teaching undergraduate courses in Transportation Policy at UC Davis and experiential learning while living and researching multi-modal transportation planning in Europe.

Lauren currently serves as Policy Director for the Transportation Coalition for Livable Communities — an organization which includes the California Alliance for Jobs, California Transit Association, National Resources Defense Council, League of California Cities, State Association of Counties, and the Metropolitan Planning Organizations and Councils of Governments throughout the state. The Coalition promotes the investment of cap and trade revenue to address both the greenhouse gas reduction goals of AB 32 and critical transportation system maintenance and operation needs that build on the framework of SB 375 and other GHG reduction strategies.

Her firm, Policy in Motion, specializes in sustainable transportation policy.  Policy in Motion offers planning practitioners, policy makers, and public agencies an understanding of how to integrate sustainability policy into transportation infrastructure and land use decisions.  Lauren Michele’s 2011 book, “Policy in Motion: Transportation Planning in California after AB 32” explores the State’s evolving policies for sustainable living through transportation planning, and identifies how outdated regulatory frameworks must be aligned with supporting paradigm shifts if California is to move forward in a truly unified vision for “People-Oriented Development” and transportation.  Lauren’s 2012 film documentary, “Policy in Motion: Growing Beautiful Communities” continues to explore how an integrated approach to transportation planning and funding based on “People-Oriented Development” (POD) can improve community quality of life while meeting California’s environmental and economic goals. Policy in Motion’s book and film are available for purchase on-line at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and www.policyinmotion.com.