California Policy NewsFlash Public Transit Transportation Funding

Policy in Motion Provides Support for TransForm’s “Invest in Transit” Campaign

Invest in Transit

Learn More Here to Sign on Your Support!

Invest in Transit is a statewide campaign targeted at California’s leaders to make public transportation fast, frequent and affordable. It was launched in response to crippling shortfalls for public transportation, continued state funding cuts, and a recognition that our economy, environment, and quality of life truly ride on whether or not we invest in transit now.

Invest in Transit is a campaign of TransForm, an award-winning nonprofit dedicated to creating world-class public transportation and walkable communities throughout California. Invest in Transit seeks to show our leaders that individuals, businesses, and organizations across the state want to get public transportation back on track.

Billions of dollars for California’s public transportation has been redirected for other uses over the past decade. Public transportation received less than 1 of 5 state dollars it should have between 2004 and 2008! You can see the negative impacts in every community: reduced service, higher fares, and broken down buses and trains.

If our state leaders take action in two ways, they can get California back on track with building and maintaining robust, efficient public transportation throughout the state:

    1. Protect state funding for public transportation from being taken for other uses, plus set funding at levels that ensures transit runs safely and meets the needs of a rapidly growing population.
    1. Give local and regional entities more authority to establish and manage their own funding sources for public transportation.
    California households with good public transportation save thousands of dollars each year in transportation costs compared with California households with little or no access. Gas prices are only the beginning of a long list of expenses that come with driving: insurance, parking, tolls, maintenance, and even the occasional parking ticket quickly add up to a lot. AAA listed the cost of owning and driving a medium-sized sedan 10,000 miles in 2010 at $7,285.

    Good public transportation also triggers the kind of efficient, transit-oriented development that saves governments on a range of infrastructure costs: roads, water supply, and utilities. Given our struggling state and local budgets, investing in transit is a way to create needed savings.

    For more detailed information on TransForm’s work to win world-class public transportation across California, visit TransForm’s website. You can read about current legislation we’ve taken a position on and the latest on the policy front including analysis and proposed policies.

    Complete Streets NewsFlash Public Health

    WALKSacramento Bids Farewell to Founder Anne Geraghty & Welcomes Teri Duarte as New Executive Director

    The WALKSacramento Board and Staff gathered at Lauren Michele’s midtown townhome for a gluten-free and vegan potluck following a walking tour of the Newton Booth midtown neighborhood. The sun was shining for our walk — which included highlights such as Temple Coffee, Revolution Wines, 29th St Light Rail, Natural Foods Co-op, Alexan Condos, tree lined streets, and walkable alleys. While enjoying all the “food for walking,” we were joined by former WALKSacramento Board Member Larry Greene who surprised Anne with a few old memories. We all enjoyed discussing the past and future of WALKSacramento!

    Click here to view the photo album!

    California Policy Metropolitan Planning NewsFlash Public Transit Transportation Funding

    Reconnecting America: MTC Commits $10 Million to the Bay Area Transit-Oriented Affordable Housing Fund

    For Immediate Release
    Contact Rebecca M. (Becky) Sullivan
    Communications Director
    (w) 202-429-6990, ext. 206
    (c) 202-412-5573
    March 23, 2011


    (March 23, 2011) Today, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) – the metropolitan planning organization (MPO) for the San Francisco Bay Area – officially committed $10 million to the Bay Area Transit-Oriented Affordable Housing Fund (TOAH Fund). MTC’s critical commitment to play the top-loss role in the fund has been instrumental in raising the additional capital. The fund will launch at the end of March with MTC’s $10 million matched by $40 million in foundation and private funding.

    “Without MTC’s initial investment, it is unlikely this would have been possible at all, let alone so quickly,” said Reconnecting America’s Chief of Staff Allison Brooks. “Reconnecting America is delighted that this fund has become a reality, and will result in lasting, sustainable affordable housing for working families in one of the nation’s hottest housing markets.”

    Brooks sits on the advisory board of the fund, which helped to select the fund manager and set the policy parameters and goals for the fund.

    The Bay Area transit-oriented development fund is a revolving fund that will provide loans for both property acquisition and predevelopment costs for affordable housing in transit nodes throughout the region. The goal is to provide affordable capital to allow housing developers to secure and/or develop properties near transit for new development or conversion to affordable housing. Loans will target MTC’s Priority Development Areas with good transit access to regional employment centers.

    The TOAH Fund has been catalyzed by the Great Communities Collaborative and the MTC, and is being managed by a consortium of six community development finance institutions (CDFI) led by the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) and comprised of the Enterprise Foundation, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, the Opportunity Fund, Northern California Community Loan Fund and the Corporation for Supportive Housing.

    Reconnecting America and the Center for Transit-Oriented Development (CTOD) have worked for a number of years to help set the stage for this momentous event.

    The fund grew from an effort to help create a financial resource that could be utilized to ensure that transit-oriented communities are enriched with adequate levels of housing affordable to a diversity of incomes in the San Francisco Bay Area. To that end, the Great Communities Collaborative, of which Reconnecting America is a founding member, commissioned the Center for Transit-Oriented Development and the Bay Area Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) to conduct an initial feasibility study for a type of structured fund that would be targeted to acquiring properties near quality transit for the purposes of building and preserving affordable housing, mixed-use development and other critical communities amenities. ( Download the report )

    That report and subsequent work by CTOD staff and members of the Great Communities Collaborative set the stage for the largest commitment of a metropolitan planning organization to a fund of this kind.

    The role of foundations to fund such an effort was described by Reconnecting America and the Center for Transit-Oriented Development in a report exploring the role community development finance institutions could play in promoting equitable transit-oriented development. (Download the report)

    # # #

    Reconnecting America is a national nonprofit that is helping to transform promising ideas into thriving communities – where transportation choices make it easy to get from place to place, where businesses flourish, and where people from all walks of life can afford to live, work and visit. Reconnecting America is the managing partner of the Center for Transit-Oriented Development, the only national nonprofit effort funded by Congress to promote best practices in transit-oriented development. Reconnecting America is also a founding partner of Transportation for America, a broad coalition of housing, environmental, equal opportunity, public health, urban planning, transportation and other organizations focused on creating a 21st century national transportation program. For more information visit our website,

    California Policy NewsFlash Transportation Funding

    CALCOG News: CA Budget Update

    by California Association of Governments

    March 17, 2011

    Sign Up for CALCOG News Updates Here!

    Gas Tax Swap Passes both Senate & Assembly!

    The Gas Tax Swap passed both houses last night. The Senate voted on the AB 105 first, passing it 39 to 0. It then moved over to the Assembly (surprisingly quickly), where it passed 69-4. Although nothing is a done deal until its sent to the Governor and is signed, this is very good news. Members who reached out to their Legislators should take the time to thank their members–they are not likely to get a lot of “thank yous” after this budget is finished.

    Elimination of Redevelopment One Vote Shy in Assembly

    The vote to end eliminate redevelopment (SB 77) came up one vote shy of getting 2/3 approval in the Assembly. Chris Norby (R, Orange County) is the lone Republican who voted for the bill. But the bill will be up again as soon as today. Last night, Governor Brown was in the Speaker’s offices meeting with individual members to help get the required number of votes.

    SB 77 Language DOES NOT include COG Pass-Through for L&M Funds. The version that the Assembly voted on DOES NOT INCLUDE the provision that would require COGs or RPTAs to be the pass through for Low and Moderate Income Housing Funds (As reported in the March 14 edition of CALCOG News). Our best information that the language was included in a version that was preferred by some legislators and housing advocates, but ultimately the governor’s language (which did not include the pass through language) went into the bill.

    Other Budget Votes

    Both the Assembly and the Houses have returned this morning and are currently in caucus (11:45 am). Here is a summary of what occurred last night (Blatantly lifted from CSAC’s Executive Direcor’s Watch – another good source for local government information)

    Federal Policy Transportation Funding US DOT

    DC Streetsblog: Boxer Pushes LaHood on Financing (VMT Tax) for Transportation

    by Tanya Snyder on March 10, 2011

    Senator Barbara Boxer got down to brass tacks on transportation funding in a committee hearing yesterday, even as DOT Secretary Ray LaHood remained vague on how to pay for the president’s ambitious proposal. Boxer said she’s not in favor of raising the gas tax, but she’d like it to be indexed to inflation. “We don’t even know if the president would go that far with us,” she said, but clearly something needs to be done.

    Boxer: It’s a good news, bad news story. Good news, because people are getting better fuel economy; bad news because the Highway Trust Fund is slipping. And I’m looking for ways to get more money in there but they’re hard to come by. And because I drive a hybrid I’m not paying my fair share.

    Ranking Member James Inhofe: That’s all right, you ought to see what I’m driving. We average out.

    Boxer: I’m sure we average out. But you’re paying more for the roads than I am. I may be on the road as long as you are but I’m getting 50 miles to the gallon. So I’m not filling up the car and you’re paying more than I am. So it’s not fair to him [Inhofe] – I mean I think I’m wise to this, but we all should pay our fair share. So I think vehicle-miles-traveled is the way to go but I don’t seem to get much excitement when I mention it. I think we could do it easily, when you re-up your registration, this is how many miles I have now, then – but I don’t have any takers. Indexing the gas tax – indexing, not raising it – I could do that.

    Boxer started the hearing with a ringing endorsement for a major expansion of the TIFIA loan program. She said both she and House Transportation Committee Chair John Mica “embrace a much more robust TIFIA program.”

    She said the federal government is almost entirely shielded from risk with TIFIA. She alluded to the leveraging that is possible when federal funds are used right, using as an example the Crenshaw/LAX Light Rail project in Los Angeles, which made more than $500 million available at a cost of just $20 million to the federal government.

    TIFIA loans only cover up to a third of a project, with local and state matches covering the rest. Boxer suggested allowing TIFIA to cover half of the project. DOT Budget Director Chris Bertram said that would be a mixed blessing – fewer projects could get federal money and less private investment would be involved, but it could be beneficial for projects that have a harder time attracting private investment.

    Boxer asked Secretary LaHood, who was testifying at the hearing before the Environment and Public Works Committee, to support a TIFIA expansion. “In your budget, you call for a very large six-year bill,” she said. “But you really don’t – you say you look forward to working with us on how to fund it. I would respectfully suggest – and this is just me, speaking for myself – that this TIFIA program could be of enormous consequence. My understanding is that we are funding it at a very low level and the requests far surpass what we’ve been funding it at.”

    But Secretary LaHood wasn’t nearly as specific as Boxer about how to fund the president’s $556 billion transportation proposal. He responded to Boxer’s push for expanded TIFIA funding by saying, “We like TIFIA,” and throwing in that he also likes the infrastructure bank and tolling. The president’s budget for 2012 authorizes $450 million for TIFIA – almost four times more than the amount authorized in SAFETEA-LU.

    LaHood has been telling lawmakers, “We want to work with Congress on that,” when they ask him for funding justification for the president’s ambitious transportation proposal. The EPW hearing was the fourth time in a week that LaHood has appeared before Senate panels to be grilled about where the money for the plan was supposed to come from – especially with a gas tax hike off the table.

    But when is that “working with Congress” part supposed to begin, if not now, while appearing daily before Senate committees that are trying to have a conversation with him about it? When asked about that after the hearing, LaHood just repeated, “We’re going to work with Congress.” But what funding options are even open for debate? “I’m not even going to get into that,” he said. “I’m going to wait to sit down in a room with these members of the House and Senate and see where they want to go.”

    Both LaHood and Boxer also referred to a provision in the House budget proposal that would call for unobligated TIGER funds to be rescinded. The Senate is stalemated on the budget right now. LaHood and Boxer both condemned the call for rescissions. LaHood said the rescissions were a bad idea if Congress is trying to create jobs.

    “People are expecting this money,” LaHood said. “And some of them are starting to realize now that if H.R.1 were to pass in the Senate, this money would come back to the federal treasury. And their dreams and aspirations and projects for high-speed rail, for transit, for light rail projects, streetcars and other things, roads and bridges, it would come back to the treasury.”

    “They just cut the legs out from under these TIGER grants,” Boxer said.


    Students in Motion: Policy in Motion Seeking Applicants for “Career Development” Internship Program

    Policy in Motion’s “Career Development” Mentorship Program is designed to mentor Senior Policy/Planning Students into careers in transportation or city planning and policy within the Sacramento region. The program is designed as a work exchange where students will provide policy support through research and outreach for hands-on learning in business development and personal mentorship into career networks around California’s Capitol.

    Policy in Motion Intern Responsibilities:

    • Research on federal and state policy projects
    • Outreach related to business development
    • Minimum 3 month commitment at 5 hours/week
    • Weekly meeting in Sacramento to discuss intern responsibilities and mentor opportunities

    Policy in Motion Mentor Responsibilities:

    • Resume Building
    • Strategic Networking
    • Legislative Exposure
    • Weekly meeting in Sacramento to discuss intern responsibilities and mentor opportunities

    Policy in Motion is currently seeking 1-2 interns who are interested in a commitment to career and/or business development in the field of sustainable transportation policy and planning. There will be ample flexibility with student schedules (midterms/vacation) and work location will be primarily conducted remotely for student transportation convenience. There will be in-person meetings once a week per the intern/mentor responsibilities at a location which will be accessible by public transportation – as well as travel to additional meeting opportunities related to career development/networking in the Sacramento region.

    Interested candidates can e-mail a resume to Lauren Michele, Principal/Owner of Policy in Motion by Sunday, March 20th: . Informal Telephone Interviews to be held the week of March 21th. In-Person Interviews to be held the week of March 28th. Start Date of Friday, April 1st for first intern/mentor meeting.

    *Interviews will be fun and informal*

    California Policy Environmental Justice Federal Policy NewsFlash

    Policy in Motion Receives Underutilized DBE & Small Business Certification with New USDOT Rule to Expand Program

    Policy in Motion is certified as an Underutilized Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE). The firm’s UDBE Certification is linked here — and can be found in the DBE Database under Firm Identification Number 39354

    WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced in January a final rulemaking that will help economically and socially disadvantaged businesses take advantage of opportunities to participate in federally funded highway, transit and airport projects. The final rule, issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), will also hold states and local agencies more accountable for including disadvantaged businesses in their transportation plans.

    The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program helps small businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals compete for government contracts. The Department also requires state and local transportation agencies to establish goals for DBE participation.

    The Department of Transportation’s new rulemaking will require greater accountability from state and local transportation agencies for including disadvantaged businesses in their spending plans. Those that fail to meet established goals for DBE participation will be required to evaluate why the goals were not met and offer a plan to help meet the goal in the future.

    In addition, the final rule will adjust the personal net worth limit for DBE owners for inflation from the present $750,000 to $1.32 million. The current limit was set in 1989 and has not been adjusted since.

    The Department of Transportation’s rulemaking will also add provisions to ensure that prime contractors fulfill commitments to use DBE subcontractors. State and local agencies will be required to monitor each contract to make sure prime contractors are fulfilling their obligations and do not dismiss DBE subcontractors without good cause. The rule also requires state and local agencies to create a plan for improving the use of small businesses, including DBEs.

    Another major change under the rulemaking will reduce burdens on small businesses seeking DBE certification in more than one state. As a result of today’s rulemaking, all states will be required to accept DBE certifications obtained in other states, unless the state finds good cause not to accept it. The rule establishes a process for resolving issues with respect to eligibility raised by states concerning out-of-state firms.

    The Department anticipates issuing a proposed rulemaking to make changes in its regulation for airport concession DBEs paralleling those in today’s final regulation.

    The U.S. Department of Transportation’s final rule to improve the DBE Program appeared on the Federal Register’s Electronic Public Inspection Desk today. For the full Federal Register notice please click here.


    NewsFlash US DOT

    USDOT: Nation’s Highway Traffic Reaches Highest Level Since 2007

    FHWA 03-11
    Wednesday, March 2, 2011

    Nation’s Highway Traffic Reaches Highest Level Since 2007

    WASHINGTON – Americans drove three trillion miles in 2010, the most vehicle miles traveled since 2007 and the third-highest ever recorded, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced today. The increase in traffic volume comes as the U.S. in 2009 posted its lowest number of traffic fatalities and injuries since 1950.
    “More driving means more wear and tear on our nation’s roads and bridges,” said Secretary LaHood. “This new data further demonstrates why we need to repair the roads and bridges that are the lifeblood of our economy.”

    The Secretary noted that Americans drove 0.7 percent more, or 20.5 billion additional vehicle miles traveled (VMT), in 2010 than the previous year. Travel increased by 0.6 percent, or 1.4 billion VMT, in December 2010 compared to the previous December. It is the tenth consecutive month of increased driving.

    The new data, from the Federal Highway Administration’s monthly “Traffic Volume Trends” report, show the South Gulf area, a bloc of eight states ranging from Texas to Kentucky, experienced the greatest regional increase in December 2010 at 46.6 billion VMT, an increase of 624 million miles traveled compared to the previous December.
    With an increase of 11.1 percent, or 156 million additional miles traveled, Nebraska led the nation with the largest single-state increase that month, and rural driving outpaced urban driving across the country.

    “These data are critical to identifying and evaluating patterns of use on America’s road system, which help us to make decisions about investments in critical infrastructure,” said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez. “Repairing our nation’s roads, bridges and tunnels will help us ensure safety, strengthen the economy and build for the future.”

    To review the VMT data in FHWA’s “Traffic Volume Trends” reports, including that of December 2010, visit