How are Climate Investments Helping You?

California’s cap and trade auction proceeds are hard at work all around the state. The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund is making significant investments as California combats climate change. But exactly how extensive are these investments, and where in the state are they taking place?

TransForm, an independent non-profit, has launched a compelling tool attempting to show the scope of these investments. At a website titled ClimateBenefitsCA they’ve put together an interactive map, locating and detailing projects all around the state that are advancing cleaner, greener, and more affordable communities across California. Projects listed have received grants through programs like the Water-Energy Efficiency Program, the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program, the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program, and the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program.

We here at the State Transportation Agency and our departments know that any serious attempt to address climate change must involve an evolution of our transportation system. The California Air Resources Board has noted that currently the transportation sector is responsible for 37% of our total carbon emissions.

That’s why last month CalSTA announced $224 million dollars in competitive grants to 14 transit improvement projects around the state, which are collectively estimated to prevent 860,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions from entering our atmosphere. And this is merely the first round of funding from this program. In subsequent years, the program will continue to make targeted investments with cap-and-trade auction proceeds in transformative transportation projects that support high-quality public transportation and reduce emissions.

“When public transportation is efficient, affordable and enjoyable more Californians use it and that improves quality-of-life for everyone,” said California State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Kelly. “These grants help support nearly $720 million in transportation investments in clean, affordable and low-stress commuting and traveling options by improving the quality and reliability of public transportation choices. At a time of ever-increasing extreme weather—and an uncertain future—these investments help California take control of the emissions that cause climate change by offering more sustainable travel options.”

And these 14 projects are just part of an ongoing—and statewide—commitment to sustainable and affordable public transportation in California. For example, Caltrans has announced $24 million for 95 low-carbon transportation grants to transit operators across California and the Strategic Growth Council voted to approve $121.9 million in grants and loans for affordable, transit-friendly housing that encourages active transportation and transit usage. These and more climate investments are all visible on the map from TransForm, which you can view by going to http://www.climatebenefitsca.org/.

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