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 GHG Reduction Metropolitan Planning Modeling/Tools Publications SB 375

Caltrans Releases Statewide Interregional Blueprint: Lauren Michele’s UC Davis Master’s Thesis Research Integrated into Report for Initial Phase of SB 391 Compliance

In a time where both state and federal efforts are pointing toward sustainable planning, Lauren Michele had a unique opportunity to integrate her M.S. Thesis research under the Urban Land Use and Transportation Center (ULTRANS) at UC Davis into the California Interregional Blueprint Phase I Narrative.

Caltrans partnered with ULTRANS to develop a narrative analysis as an initial baseline assessment of the relationship between current plans for the statewide transportation system and regional land use visions. This Phase I Report focuses on regional transportation plans and regional blueprint plans from the State’s four largest metropolitan planning organizations and the eight metropolitan planning organizations working collaboratively in the San Joaquin Valley.

Lauren Michele explains how her work on the California Interregional Blueprint complies with Senate Bill 391 (2009) during a Caltrans Stakeholder Workshop

The California Department of Transportation is expanding the State’s trans­portation planning process to include the development of a state level trans­portation blueprint focused on interregional travel needs. The California Interregional Blueprint (CIB) will articulate the State’s vision for an integrated, multimodal interregional transportation system that complements regional transportation plans and land use visions. The CIB when fully developed will become the foundation of the 2040 update to the State’s long-range trans­portation plan, the California Transportation Plan (CTP).

The CIB will help evaluate how well our collective plans (both State and regional) will address future demand for interregional travel, while meet­ing our goals for a sustainable transportation system. It will strengthen and add relevance to the existing CTP policy plan and will expand the understand­ing of the interactions between land use and transportation investments, especially those related to greenhouse gas emissions. This understanding will position us to respond to new legislative requirements (SB 391) for the next CTP update that require the plan to define the statewide transportation system that meets our climate change goals under AB 32 and SB 375. The ultimate benefit of this effort will be stronger partnerships, with regional and local agencies and tribal governments, and better data for improved deci­sion-making at the State, regional, and local level.

The California Interregional Blueprint will integrate proposed interregional highway, transit, rail (including high-speed and intercity rail), intelligent transportation system, and goods movement and other transportation system and strategic plans into a common framework for analysis. The CIB will be completed in two phases. As part of Phase I, the Department compiled project data from the State’s long range planning documents – as well as projects from Regional Transportation Plans (RTPs) developed by the State’s Metro­politan Planning Organizations and Regional Transportation Planning Agen­cies – to define the future interregional transportation system. Using regional growth and land use projections in regional blueprint plans and RTPs, the resulting system will then be analyzed to determine how well it will meet projected demand. As more advanced tools and data become available, the project concepts and strategies along with growth and land use projections will be modeled, and their impact on various outcomes, including greenhouse gas emissions, will be quantified.

The report is broken into sections below for easier download, but only viewable in Internet Explorer:



Categories
California Policy Local Government Public Transit Transportation Funding

California Transit Association’s Position on Propositions: Yes on 22

From original broadcast by Community Television of Santa Cruz County

California Transit Association Executive Director Joshua Shaw has been traveling throughout the state speaking to transit agency governing boards and other organizations about Proposition 22, the Local Taxpayer, Public Safety and Transportation Protection Act.

If approved by voters on November 2, the measure would halt state raids on a variety of local funds, including nearly $1.8 billion a year in funding for public transit.

At right is the full video of Shaw’s presentation before the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District’s Board of Directors on September 24.  The board is among more than 1,300* community groups, businesses, local government organizations and elected officials who have officially endorsed the measure.

*-as of October 8

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 Local Government Transportation Funding

$50 Million from Caltrans Available for Transportation Safety Improvements – 12/09/10 Deadline

SRTS - CA - Network

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Funds for Transportation Safety Improvements – Bike and Pedestrian projects eligible

HSIP Funds – Deadline 12/9/10

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Good Afternoon,

Help get the word out and encourage local jurisdictions to apply for funds to address roadway safety issues – and make streets safer for students, pedestrians, bicyclists and more on local roads.

There is approximately $50M available for this call. Applications need to be submitted to Caltrans District Local Assistance Engineers by Thursday, December 9, 2010.

HSIP funds are eligible for work on any publicly owned roadway or bicycle and pedestrian pathway or trail that corrects or improves the safety. Some examples include (in no particular order – and longer list can be found on the Caltrans HSIP webpage)

  • Installation and maintenance of signs (including fluorescent yellow-green signs) at pedestrian-bicycle crossings and in school zones
  • An intersection safety improvement
  • An improvement for pedestrian or bicyclist safety or for the safety of persons with disabilities
  • Construction of a traffic-calming feature
  • Transportation safety planning
  • Improvement in the collection and analysis of safety data
  • Construction and operational improvements on high-risk rural roads
  • Conducting road safety audits

Those who are near Los Angeles or Ventura are encouraged to attend the Caltrans HSIP training coming up next week.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010
9:00 am to 12:00 noon
Caltrans District 7 Headquarters Building
100 South Main Street, 1st Floor, Room 1.040 B

Thursday, October 21, 2010
9:00 am to 12:00 noon
Caltrans Ventura Satellite Office
950 County Square Drive, Suite 112
Ventura, CA 93003-5442

To find out more and RSVP for these trainings, email Tammi Altamirano at tammi_altamirano@dot.ca.gov or call Dale Benson at at 213-897-2934.

More info on how to apply and applicant guidelines please visit Caltrans HSIP webpage.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Kind Regards,
Jessica Meaney
California Policy Manager
Safe Routes to School National Partnership

Contact Information

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email: jessica@saferoutespartnership.org

phone: 213 221-7179

web: http://www.saferoutespartnership.org

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Categories
California Policy Federal Policy Local Government Metropolitan Planning Modeling/Tools Research Transportation Funding US HUD

SACOG and CSU Fresno Receive $5.5 million from HUD Sustainable Regional Planning Grant Funding

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has selected the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) as a recipient of a $1.5 million Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant. Only about 1 in 5 applicants received an award.

Background on the grant:

The HUD funds will help the Sacramento region plan for the construction of housing and employment centers in high-frequency transit areas, including using CEQA streamlining under SB 375. The funds will also be used to integrate natural resources planning with other local and regional planning, and a study of how to better integrate federal, state, regional and local plans, policies and programs.

This funding, from the Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant program, is part of a new federal Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities, led by HUD, the Department of Transportation, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

What the grant funds:

  1. Increase the construction of housing and employment centers in high-frequency transit areas that promote social equity, inclusion, access to opportunity, public health, and neighborhood revitalization and reduces environmental impacts.
  2. Integrate housing, land use and transportation planning and programs.
  3. Integrate natural resources planning to protect valuable environmental assets and increase housing opportunities near employment centers.
  4. Use the Sacramento region as a pilot test to develop comprehensive recommendations and a handbook to improve the integration of federal, state, regional and local plans, policies and programs for the purpose of effectively implementing place-based planning.

Who will be involved in implementing the grant:

  • SACOG
  • Valley Vision
  • Cities & counties across the Sacramento region
  • Sacramento Housing & Redevelopment Agency (SHRA)
  • UC Davis Center for Regional Change
  • UC Davis Urban Land Use and Transportation Center
  • Urban Land Institute, Sacramento Chapter
  • Regional Water Authority (RWA)

The only other California grant recipient was for California State University, Fresno Foundation in the amount of $4 million.  Click HUD Grant Finalists for a list of all award recipients across the country.

Categories
GHG Reduction Local Government Transportation Funding

$500K Grant Program from SACOG: Sacramento Region Air Quality and Infill Streamlining Program

To: Land Use Planners in the Sacramento Federal Non-attainment Area (SFNA) for Federal air quality standards

The Sacramento Region Air Quality and Infill Streamlining Program (ISP) is a $500,000 grant program to provide technical and financial assistance to government agencies with land use authority, and to facilitate community planning projects in infill locations, including rural economic development locations, that improve air quality through land use measures that help reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT).

Last week, an announcement was made about discussions regarding the new Infill Streamlining Program (ISP), a $500,000 grant program to provide technical and financial assistance to government agencies with land use authority, including rural economic development locations, that improve air quality through land use measures that help reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT).   The ISP can provide up to $100,000 per project in technical assistance and direct funding combined.

The program sponsors are requesting your feedback via a brief email, to help improve the program’s user-friendliness. We would like an idea of the range of projects that jurisdictions would be submitting for this program. We will use this information to inform the program process, while still meeting program goals.

If your jurisdiction is potentially interested in applying, please email a one paragraph description of any project that you might consider submitting under this program. Jurisdictions may submit as many ideas for projects as they wish.  Program staff may contact you as follow-up to your e-mail and ask questions regarding thoughts about the program.

Draft project eligibility criteria include the following:

*      A request for technical assistance for a clearly defined community planning project in a specific infill location;

*     Ability to improve air quality by reducing VMT through land use measures;

*     Consistency with and support smart growth or SACOG Blueprint Principles (reference for Blueprint Principles:  www.sacog.org/regionalfunding/betterways.pdf)

Please send potential project description ideas by no later than Wed, October 13 to Molly Wright with the Local Government Commission at mwright@lgc.org. If you have questions, please contact Molly at (916) 448-1198 x329.

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/

Quick Links
Sacramento Chapter Website

Become a Member!

More About Us


Categories
NewsFlash Transportation Funding US DOT

USDOT: $776 Million in “State of Good Repair” for Transit

FTA 28-10
Monday, October 4, 2010
Contact: Paul Griffo
Tel: (202) 366-4064

U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces $776 Million in ‘State of Good Repair’ Dollars for Nation’s Urban and Rural Bus Systems

Targeted Funding Strengthens Transit Safety, Reliability by Addressing Industry’s Equipment Repair and Maintenance Backlogs

WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced a combined $776 million for urban and rural transit providers in 45 states and the District of Columbia to help bring buses, bus facilities and related equipment into a state of good repair.  Money from the Federal Transit Administration’s new State of Good Repair discretionary grant program will go to 152 projects.

“Safety is our highest priority, and it goes hand-in-hand with making sure our transit systems are in the best working condition possible,” said Secretary LaHood. “The millions of people who depend on transit each day to get to work, to school or to the doctor expect a safe and comfortable ride.”

The FTA estimates that more than 40 percent of the nation’s buses are currently in poor to marginal condition.   The Department released a report in June 2010, The National State of Good Repair Assessment Study, which estimated that the cost of bringing the nation’s rail and bus transit systems into a state of good repair is close to $78 billion. The report drew on data from 43 of the nation’s rail and bus operators in both rural and urban areas.

The State of Good Repair money was made available in response to the needs cited in this study and reflects the Department’s commitment to strengthening and modernizing transportation across the nation.  The program is designed to help transit providers deliver safer, more reliable rides, operate more efficiently and lower fuel costs. Projects include replacing aging buses with fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles, constructing new bus shelters and maintenance facilities, installing updated fare boxes and installing fleet tracking systems.

“America’s transit users want bus service that is safe, reliable, comfortable, and clean,” said FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff. “These funds will go a long way in helping more than 100 urban and rural transit agencies deliver the high quality bus service that Americans deserve.”

FTA reviewed nearly 400 project applications representing $4.2 billion in funding requests from transit providers across the country. The list of selected projects can be found at http://www.fta.dot.gov/news/news_events_12067.html

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