Federal Policy NewsFlash US EPA

Governing :: Washington Gov. Gregoire To Head EPA


BY:  | NATION | JANUARY 4, 2013

Outgoing Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire, a former Governing Public of the Year, will be named administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) soon, according to a report by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

The newspaper cited “a very private prediction from a very senior source in Washington’s congressional delegation.” Gregoire served as the director of the Washington Department of Ecology before being elected as Attorney General in 1992. She was elected governor in 2005.

Lisa Jackson, the EPA head during President Barack Obama’s first term, resigned on Dec. 27. Obama is expected to nominate numerous cabinet positions, including EPA administrator, next week.

Governing recognized Gregoire in 2007 as a Public Official of the Year, citing her reputation as a “negotiator-in-chief” and ability to forge compromise. One of her biggest accomplishment as director of the ecology department was reaching an agreement with the federal government in 1989 to clean up the disaster at the Hanford nuclear waste site.


California Policy Complete Streets Federal Policy GHG Reduction High-Speed Rail Livable Communities Metropolitan Planning Public Health Public Transit Safe Routes to School SB 375 State Policy Sustainability Transportation Funding

Transportation Funding: Past, Present, Future

Funding Beautiful Communities

The nature of transportation funding is a cycle of birth and death. Despite clear state policy goals to address the transportation sector’s 38% contribution to California’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory, funding for needed sustainable community investments to implement such goals has seen levels of uncertainty that make progress equally uncertain. From years of local public transit cuts and underfunded local road maintenance needs to recent slashes for complete streets and Safe Routes to School in the federal transportation bill – hope still prevails with billions approved by the State for high speed rail, possibilities for redevelopment reincarnation, and the promise of new cap and trade revenue from fuels. California not only has opportunities like leveraging its investments in high speed rail with cap and trade funding for sustainable communities, but will need to act on them given the dismal federal transportation reauthorization vision for integrated transportation and land use systems.

But it’s not all dismal!

On August 10th Growing Beautiful Communities will depict how an integrated approach to transportation planning and funding can improve community quality of life while meeting California’s environmental and economic goals.

Uncertainty can breed creativity. I made a documentary on that premise. California can make history. The State can leverage the lack of federal vision to do something really innovative for transportation funding in California – the same way the lack of federal GHG reduction leadership led to state climate action plans across the country starting here.

California has the potential to capitalize on its $8 billion investment in high speed rail and do everything the federal transportation bill is missing for transformative transportation — we can achieve a vision for sustainable communities and reduced greenhouse gas emissions through the creation of an integrated transportation funding program which:

  • Draws on a new source of transportation revenues, offering multi-year financial stability to communities and regions implementing projects
  • Creates flexibility to use funds for needed transit operations and maintenance investments
  • Provides funding for road and bridge repair to improve transportation efficiency
  • Expands active transportation, complete streets and transportation enhancement infrastructure
  • Incentivizes transportation innovation from regional and local governments
  • Measures meaningful performance to tie transportation investments to GHG emission reduction, as well as other benefits like health, energy, water, cost-effectiveness, and agricultural resources.
  • Integrates intercity, rural, and local transit, roads, and active transportation infrastructure with regional land use planning and local project implementation
  • Invests in existing communities by offsetting the high cost of infill development
  • Promotes inter- and intra-jurisdictional collaboration between institutions like local/regional planning departments and school and medical campuses

We can learn from the past, capitalize on the present, and make the future a reality through innovative transportation funding.

Education/Webinars Federal Policy GHG Reduction NewsFlash US DOT

ICF Webinar: Transportation Performance Management – Addressing Energy & Environmental Goals (2/29)

ICF International – Webinar

Learn: Transportation Performance Management – Addressing Energy & Environmental Goals

Reauthorization of the federal surface transportation program is anticipated to include a focus on performance management approaches to support effective decision making and increase accountability.

Energy and environmental goals are likely to play a role in this performance-based approach, potentially addressing issues such as energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, water and air quality, and habitat and wildlife.

Join ICF for a webinar that addresses the challenges and opportunities surrounding energy and environmental goals for a performance-based framework.

The webinar both builds on the work ICF has conducted exploring these issues for the Bipartisan Policy Center and the National Cooperative Highway Research Program and explores the categories of environmental measures appropriate for inclusion in transportation decision making.

Learn more about this webinar and register.

Date: February 29, 2012
Time: 12-1 p.m. EST
Location: Online
Register Now


Michael Grant

Frank Gallivan


Transportation Funding US DOT

US DOT Releases TIGER Grant Program Notice of Funding Availability

This morning the Department of Transportation will announce the availability of funds for the next round of the TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Discretionary Grant program.

The Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) can be found here:

As you will note, the Fiscal Year 2012 TIGER grant program will make $500 million available for projects having a significant impact on the nation, a metropolitan area or region.  In addition, as in prior rounds of funding, this year’s TIGER grants  are for capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure and are to be awarded on a competitive basis.  Projects will be evaluated on primary criteria that include safety, economic competitiveness, livability, environmental sustainability, state of repair and short-term job creation.

Please be aware of the following KEY DATES:

  • Deadline for Pre-Applications—    February 20th, 2012
  • Deadline for Final Applications— March 19th, 2012

The DOT pre-application system will open on or before February 13th.  Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit pre-applications and applications in advance of the application deadlines.

If you have any questions regarding the TIGER 2012 NOFA, please feel free to contact me.


Aaron Rosenthal

Associate Director | Governmental Affairs

Office of the Secretary | U.S. Department of Transportation
202-493-2234 office | 202-400-1098 cell


NewsFlash US DOT

State of Nevada Certifies Policy in Motion as Disadvantaged Business Enterprise! Small Business Re-Certification with City of Sacramento; UDBE in California

National Association of Professional Women

The National Association of Profession Women is the most rapidly growing and recognized association for professional women in the United States. Lauren Michele was nominated and selected to join this organization in September 2010.

Policy in Motion is certified with the City of Sacramento as an Emerging Small Business Enterprise (ESBE). The firm’s Small Business Certification is linked here and can be found on the Vendor Database – City Certification Number 32334. The City of Sacramento states that the “small business certification provides bid preference and other incentives.”

Policy in Motion is certified as an Underutilized Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) in the States of California and Nevada. The firm’s California UDBE Certification is linked here— and can be found in the DBE Database under Firm Identification Number 39354.  The firm’s Nevada DBE Certification can be found in the Vendors List under Vendor Number NV01335UCPN.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s DBE program provides a vehicle for increasing the participation by minority business enterprises in state and local procurement. Federal DBE regulations require state and local transportation agencies that receive DOT financial assistance, to establish goals for the participation of DBEs. Each DOT-assisted State and local transportation agency is required to establish annual DBE goals, and review the scopes of anticipated large prime contracts throughout the year and establish contract-specific DBE subcontracting goals. A percentage goal for DBE participation may be required on specific contracts, which is clearly stipulated at the time a contract is publicly advertised.

Please contact Lauren Michele if you are interested in contracting with Policy in Motion as an ESBE or UDBE


California Policy Education/Webinars Federal Policy Transportation Funding

Dec 8th Webinar: 2012 Federal Sustainability Policy and Funding Outlook

Applied Solutions Webinar: 2012 Federal Sustainability Policy and Funding Outlook

Date: December 8, 2011

Time: 9am Pacific/Noon Eastern

In 2011, local governments have seen concerted efforts in the U.S. House of Representatives to slash and cut important federal sustainability programs that benefit cities and counties. In efforts toward deficit reduction, Congress has sought to eliminate funding for renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean vehicles, smart growth, green infrastructure and more. This federal investment is critical to local efforts to reduce energy use, curb greenhouse gas emissions, improve air and water quality and decrease vehicle miles traveled. As communities have demonstrated, federal sustainability funding enables cities and counties to leverage additional public and private dollars, and helps to create new jobs and economic growth.

As local governments prepare for 2012, several key questions should be asked:

  • What types of federal sustainability funding will be available, and how can localities prepare to be competitive?
  • What types of technical assistance will be available from EPA, DOE, DOT and other federal agencies?
  • What federal sustainability policies are likely to be debated in Congress, and how will they impact cities and counties?

This webinar will last approximately one hour, and there is no cost to participate.

Speakers include:

Supervisor Valerie Brown, Sonoma County, California

Supervisor Brown will discuss the value of a local government voice at the federal level.

Michelle Wyman, Executive Director of Applied Solutions

Ms. Wyman will give an introduction to the Applied Solutions Webinar Series.

Andrew Seth and Matt Ward, Climate Communities

Mr. Seth and Mr. Ward will identify opportunities for cities and counties to support local priorities with federal sustainability funding next year, and provide an overview of the federal sustainability policy landscape in 2012.

Click here for more information and to sign up for the webinar.

About the Learning Network 

The Sustainable Communities Learning Network is a service for local officials offered by the Institute for Local Government in partnership with the Information Center for the Environment at the University of California, Davis, with support from the Strategic Growth Council and The California Endowment.

Federal Policy NewsFlash Transportation Funding

Senate EPW Committee approves MAP-21 Transportation Reauthorization Bill by 18-0 vote‎

The U.S.  Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) yesterday reported out S.1813  “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” (MAP-21), a bill to reauthorize  the nation’s transportation programs for two years at current funding levels. According to the committee,  its unanimous approval (18-0) of the bill “illustrates broad bipartisan support for  passage by the full Senate.”  The committee Friday released the 600 pages of draft text of the $109 billion bill, which includes an additional $12 billion over the current amount to account for inflation. The Senate Finance Committee, which is in charge of finding the additional $12 billion, has not yet announced where funding will come from.

Watch Senator Boxer (D-CA) at EPW Hearing on MAP-21

The bill would consolidate the number of federal transportation programs from 90 to 30. The bill also sets out a new path for project delivery that would allow agencies to better coordinate and would eliminate the lengthy National Environmental Policy Act review process for certain projects that will not have an environmental impact.

MAP-21 would not make significant changes to the existing program but does contain language that would speed project delivery and eliminate earmarks. The bill also contains a $1 billion annual expansion of the popular Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Program (TIFIA) loans.

The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program, which provides funding for state projects that reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality, would see some changes. The bill would add particulate matter as one of the pollutants addressed by the program, as well as require performance plans in large metropolitan areas to ensure the funds are being spent properly.

The bill would reform the controversial Transportation Enhancements program, which requires states to spend some money on non-highway projects including bike and pedestrian infrastructure. Under MAP-21, the TE funding would be moved under the existing CMAQ program, although it still would draw dedicated funds. States would also be eligible to apply for additional TE money under the surface transportation mobility program.

After the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee moved their draft transportation bill (MAP-21) out of committee with a successful bipartisan vote, Transportation for America Director James Corless offered this statement:

“The bipartisan passage of the MAP-21 bill in the Senate EPW Committee this morning provides a significant opportunity to move forward on a long overdue authorization of federal transportation policy with full funding to ensure we invest in America’s infrastructure. Key reforms in the bill would place a stronger emphasis on repairing and rebuilding our roads and bridges, while instituting performance measures that will help hold agencies accountable for the maintenance and operations of our transportation network.

“We will work with Chairman Boxer and Ranking Member Inhofe and the rest of the Committee to ensure that there is dedicated funding that prioritizes bicycle and pedestrian projects, strong workforce development provisions and smart transportation planning reforms. We are eager to address these issues so we can put the full strength and weight of our coalition behind the bill as it moves forward in order to make the most of our federal transportation dollars, put people back to work and deliver the transportation system that Americans need.”

S. 1813 is now headed to the full Senate for consideration,  where it will be combined with measures from the Senate Committee on Finance,  Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, and Committee on Banking,  Housing and Urban Affairs.

On the House side, the highway reauthorization proposal is currently  in the hands of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

The current surface  transportation bill expires on March 31.


Sources: E&E; T4A; EPW; FleetOwner


California Policy GHG Reduction Metropolitan Planning SB 375 State Policy US DOT

California Interregional Blueprint Stakeholder Workshops Nov 4 (Sacramento) / Nov 8 (LA) – Register Now!

Join us for upcoming workshops in Sacramento, Los Angeles, and on the Web to help shape California’s future transportation system!

Caltrans is sponsoring workshops to gather early input from state, regional, and local agency staff and interest groups on the development of the California Interregional Blueprint. The California Interregional Blueprint will measure the effectiveness of the State’s and our regional partners’ plans to increase mobility, lower greenhouse gases, and create more sustainable communities.

Workshops will be hosted in Sacramento and Los Angeles, and feature informational presentations, large group discussions and interactive, real-time, electronic polling (allowing instant feedback).  Workshops will also be simulcast on the Internet, allowing both in-person and webcast participants to participate in interactive polling exercises. (Please note:  If you intend to participate via webcast, you will need a computer with a high-speed Internet connection and speakers.)

Register for the workshops by clicking on the button below:

After registering, you’ll receive a confirmation email with directions to the workshop.   If you have questions, please contact Caroline Leary, Cambridge Systematics, at or via phone at (510) 879-4350 or 711 (TTY).  For physical accommodations or other assistance, please contact Caroline as soon as possible but no later than two working days prior to the workshop you plan to attend.

Friday, November 4, 2011
9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Sacramento Convention Center, Room 202
1400 J Street
Sacramento, California 95814

Tuesday, November 8, 2011
1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Caltrans District 7 Office, Room 01.040 A, B, C
100 S. Main Street
Los Angeles, California 90012



California Policy Metropolitan Planning Modeling/Tools NewsFlash SB 375 State Policy US DOT

CALCOG News: California Interregional Blueprint Workshops; CEQA Bills; Policy in Motion Highlighted

Federal News

Senate Committee Adopts “Clean” Reauthorization. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed a four month “clean” extension of the surface transportation reauthorization last week. Full Senate will consider next. The House of Representatives has yet to pass a “clean” authorization extension, but signals are that the four month extension should not run into too much trouble.

House Marks Up Transporation-HUD Bill. The House Transportation-HUD Appropriations Bill (summary table) is consistent with the Ryan budget and funds Highway Trust Fund programs at “sustainable” levels as estimated by the CBO, meaning that federal-aid highways is set at $27.0 billion, a reduction of $14.1 billion (or 34%). The bill cuts Amtrak subsidies from $563 to $227 million; eliminates funding for high speed, TIGER grant programs, and intercity passenger rail capital grants. It funds mass transit new/small starts at $1.554 billion.

Fun Federal Fact: Beginning in 1955 with Eisenhower, every administration but one has transmitted a Highway/Transportation bill to Congress. The exception? The Obama administration. While signaling strong support for infrastructure and transportation investments, the Obama administration stands out as the only one not to have transmitted a proposal to Congress (source Transportation Weekly).

NADO Federal Legislative Report Materials. A well done report with graphs, charts, and just enough words. It covers the latest news from Capitol Hill and the federal agencies. There is an overview of the policy and budget outlook for the remainder of this year, including an update on the Debt Deal, the Congressional Super Committee, the FY2012 appropriations process, and a transportation update.

CEQA Bills

There were a lot of rumors of potential back room CEQA reform deals this year. Many ideas finally found the light of day in the form of late-session amendments. Three made it to the governor’s desk, one will have to wait for next year. Making the cut are SB 292 (Padilla) (the LA stadium bill), AB 900 (Buchanon) (giving governor discretion to grant streamlining for “environmental leadership development projects”); and SB 226 (Simitian) (solar projects, but also allowing new streamlining for projects that meet performance standards developed by OPR in a number of areas, including greenhouse gases and public health).  The odd bill out was SB 931 (Dickinson) that would have allowed streamlining for employment centers and transit proximity projects.  But that is why they have two year bills.

California Interregional Blueprint November Workshops

Save the Date! CalTrans will hold two California Intraregional Blueprint (CIB) workshops in November.  The CIB provides a baseline for the California Transportation Plan and helps meet the requirements of SB 391 (requiring a state long range transportation plan to meet climate change goals). The CIB also complements RTPs. One session will seek input on the methodology that will be used to estimate GhGs for the 2015 California Transportation Plan. 

Dates & Places: November 4 (9:00 to 11:30 am) at the Sacramento Convention Center; November 8 at the CalTrans District 7 Headquarters (100 Main Street) in Los Angeles (9:30 am to Noon).  Both workshops will be webcast.

Quick Hits

  • Policy In Motion. Not every book is so tailored to our line of work. Policy in Motion: Transportation Planning in California After AB 32 explores the current land use-transportation-GHG framework in great detail and with a fresh perspective.  The forward by Air Resources Board member Dan Sperling calls out author Lauren Michele’s “nuanced eye” for implementation. At the very least this work will give you a fresh look at our new world of transportation and land use planning. (Cost: $55; which is nothing when compared to that new activity-based model you have your eye on).
  • Critique of Tea Party Reaction to SB 375. Not that this will make the Tea Party do an about=face on regional planning, but a recent opinion piece in Public CEO should give TP thought-leaders pause to consider a response.
  • America’s Next Top Model(er): Workshop Delayed. Last issue, we said CalTrans would offer a modeling workshop on September 22. But the date conflicted with the ARB hearing on SB 375 implementation. Rather than compete (which would be like giving a speech opposite a NFL football game), its been rescheduled for October 18, from 2 to 4 pm at the SACOG offices. The workshop is designed for executive directors and other policy makers (read: less math and more policy) and conveniently timed to coincide with the next COG Directors meeting. But we are doubtful that CalTrans will adopt our title (above) for the workshop.
  • 2 Million Californians Commute More than 45 Minutes One Way. This according to Census estimates are from 2005 to 2009.  “It used to be when you looked at Census data and saw that someone lived in Los Angeles and worked in San Francisco you assumed it was a mistake,” said Alan Pisarski, author of Commuting in America, “These days you cannot be sure.”
  • CalTrans on Proposed Stormwater Regs CalTrans has submitted a statement of concerns related to the costs of the proposed state regulations for the NPDES permit.
  • Emergency Communications. The Transportation Research Board (TRB) is hosting a competition for Communicating Concepts with John and Jane Q. Public: Transportation During Emergency Situations. TRB is looking for innovative practices in emergency preparedness.


California Policy Federal Policy Local Government Metropolitan Planning NewsFlash State Policy Transportation Funding

CALCOG News: California State Budget and Federal Reauthorization Impacts on Transportation

Click here to join the California Association of Councils of Government

State Budget Snapshot

All it took to get a state budget was to assume that the state will see $4 billion more in revenue than we thought before. Easy. That equates to $2 billion in revenue for every week the Legislature did not get paid . . .

But CALCOG members will want to be aware of a few items.  First, the Gas Tax Swap deal remains in tact. Second, the governor used his line item veto authority to eliminate funding for 47.5 CalTrans positions to review impacts of local projects (PIDs) on the state highway system. He also eliminated nearly $150 M in Prop 1B appropriations to enhance local transit routes and feeder systems to high speed rail due to the lack of a comprehensive state rail plan. Also of interest to COGs with RHNA responsibility is the veto of funding for several HCD positions that review housing elements.


In addition, Counties were “disappointed but not disheartened” that Realignment lacks dedicated revenues and constitutional protections, and inversely, cities are fuming over the two-bill “extortion” scheme to take redevelopment revenues, which are arguably dedicated and constitutionally protected under Proposition 22.

Federal Reauthorization: Bridging a $300 Billion Gap

At a time when California is asking its MPOs and regional transportation planning agencies to do more, Congress may be planning on giving them less–significantly less. The story from Transportation Nation is that funding expectations are spiraling downward. Under the proposal unveiled by House Transportation and Infrastructure Chair Mica, funding for road and transit investment will be reduced by 35 percent.  See the summary or full outline.  Transportation for America has a concise summary and analysis here. In February, the Administration proposed $556 Billion investment plan over 6 years.  The Mica proposal is for $230 billion. Transportation Issues Dailyhas posted a list (developed by Democrats) that estimates losses on a state by state basis that projects a $7.2 billion loss for California. There is a Committee hearing on July 12, but no language.


So far, besides typical partisian criticism, much of the immediate reaction has balanced some praise for some of the streamlining with very significant concerns about funding levels. Transportation Issues Daily has summarized several key reactions here, including a somewhat surprising response from the US Chamber of Commerce arguing for more funding. For more reactions, substantive and trivial, you can search Twitter under the #hashtag: “Micabill” (for those unfamilar with the term, you can Google “hashtag;” for those unfamiliar with Google, get help!).


So what does this mean? Will there be a bill before Sept 30, the day in which the current authorization expires? Who knows? The DC Streetblog reports that consideration of any bill before the August recess is unlikely (its not strategic to vote on spending bill before resolution of the debt service issue).  But the National League of Cities reports that Congress is poised to take on the issue.  Hmmmm.


Meanwhile, Senator Boxer has proposed a two year, $109 Billion reauthorization at current funding levels (plus inflation) and claims it will save 600,000 jobs. A good explanation of both proposals can be found at the AASHTO Journal.


The only thing that seems certain is that the uncertainty related to these revenue streams will remain for the short term future, which has its own consequences in terms of planning and project delivery.