California climate investments paving the way to a more sustainable transportation system

SACRAMENTO – Across the state, California is making significant investments to combat climate change. Through the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF), cap-and-trade auction proceeds are improving the state’s energy efficiency, reducing waste and creating more sustainable communities.

Here in the transportation world, cap-and-trade proceeds are funding capital improvements that cut greenhouse gases by creating a more integrated transit system and reducing the number of miles people drive.

As early as August, we here at the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) will announce the projects selected from the 41 applications received for the next round of Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) grants. An estimated $449 million is available, primarily from auction proceeds from the Cap-and-Trade Program, to fund projects that will expand public transportation ridership and capacity to help the state meet its climate goals.

Last year, we awarded $224 million dollars in competitive grants to 14 transit improvement projects around the state through the TIRCP. Collectively these projects were estimated to prevent 860,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions from entering our atmosphere.

The following are a few of the ongoing transportation projects funded by the TIRCP:

  • Pacific Surfliner Transit Transfer Program: Thanks to $1.675 million in TIRCP funding, the Pacific Surfliner Transit Transfer Program offers free transfers between 23 daily Pacific Surfliner trains and 12 connecting local transit providers along a 351-mile route in San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Louis Obispo counties. The program encourages ridership on both passenger rail and local transit services – resulting in fewer cars on the road and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Bravo! Route 560 Bus Service: A $2.3 million grant from the TIRCP to the Orange County Transit Authority allowed for the launch of a faster, more environmentally friendly commute option for travelers between Santa Ana and Long Beach. The Bravo! route gives commuters an average travel time savings of 15 percent over the existing Route 60 service, which currently takes more than 90 minutes from Santa Ana to Long Beach. Buses on the route also run on cleaner-burning compressed natural gas.

This year, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) also approved $74.6 million in funding for 131 local projects aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving public transportation through the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program (LCTOP).

The LCTOP receives a continuous appropriation of 5 percent of total cap-and-trade funds, and is designed to improve transportation mobility with a priority on serving disadvantaged communities. In this year’s funding round, 85 of the 131 projects awarded funding specifically targeted disadvantaged communities. Last year, the LCTOP awarded $24 million for 95 low-carbon transportation grants to transit operators across the state.

For a full list of this year’s LCTOP funded projects, click here.