New Sustainable Transportation System Envisioned

For generations, people have come to California to live and work in one of the most vibrant and diverse places on Earth.  Our transportation system supports our quality of life by providing residents access to opportunities and delivers goods to market.  However, the livability and economy of California faces new challenges in the era of climate change — and the transportation system must do our part to reduce these threats to our environment and health.  Per the requirements of Senate Bill 391 (2009), this is the first California Transportation Plan (CTP) published that provides a pathway for our sector to help meet our State climate goals.  Fortunately, climate goals can be achieved while providing Californians with what they most seek from the transportation system—quality mobility choices to reliably get them to their destinations.

With approved Sustainable Communities Strategies, our regional partners are already leading the way towards transportation and land use patterns that will provide cost-effective transportation solutions and also improve livability in our communities.  Such regional plans value efficient land use by locating more housing closer to job centers and recognize consumer demand by proposing to invest in multiple modes.  This CTP 2040 builds upon these regional efforts and articulates how the State will reinforce them and take further state-level action to build a more sustainable future.  The CTP 2040 has six overarching goals:

  • Improve Multimodal Mobility and Accessibility for All People
  • Preserve the Multimodal Transportation System
  • Support a Vibrant Economy
  • Improve Public Safety and Security
  • Foster Livable and Healthy Communities and Promote Social Equity
  • Practice Environmental Stewardship

Each goal has a series of related implementation strategies to reach the goals over the next twenty-five years. By 2040, California will have completed an integrated rail system linking every major region in the State, with seamless one-ticket transfers to local transit.  Responding to the desires of millennials and aging baby-boomers alike, we will further invest in complete, safe pedestrian and bicycle networks.  Through the CTP 2040, we reiterate a “fix-it first” approach that will improve operations and lower maintenance costs for our highways, roads, and bridges.  In partnership with sister agencies, we are advancing a California Sustainable Freight Action Plan to support the freight economy and meet greenhouse gas reduction goals.  We will continue to support the deployment of zero-emission vehicles and other technology innovations.

Achieving the goals of the CTP 2040 will take significant effort and deep partnerships with regional, local and tribal governments. However, the plan and associated modeling demonstrates California can achieve a low carbon transportation system that meets State policy objectives of livable communities, economic growth and emission reductions.   We encourage all our partners to review the plan, and find opportunities to align their own actions to support a sustainable transportation system.

The CTP 2040 is available at http://www.californiatransportationplan2040.org

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Wes Lum with his fold-up bicycle. Showing how fold-up bikes are used during mass transit.

Unveiling Metrolink’s Tier 4 Locomotives

On July 18th, Metrolink unveiled its new Tier 4 locomotive at Los Angeles’ Union Station. The state-of-the-art locomotives will reduce particulate matter and nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 85 percent.  In addition to the environmental benefits, the new Tier 4 locomotives will also move passengers more quickly and reliably.

Metrolink is the first commuter rail agency nationwide to purchase the Tier 4 locomotives.  More than $110 million in funding for the project was provided by various state partners including CalSTA through the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) and the California High-Speed Rail Authority through Rail Connectivity funding.

 

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.

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STATE ISSUES DRAFT PLAN FOR FREIGHT SYSTEM OF THE FUTURE

SACRAMENTO- State agency leaders today released the Draft California Sustainable Freight Action Plan, an ambitious document that lays a foundation for modernizing California’s multi-billion dollar freight transportation system.

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Developed in response to Governor Brown’s Executive Order B-32-15, which calls for a single integrated action plan for California, the Draft Action Plan was drafted by the California State Transportation Agency, California Environmental Protection Agency, Natural Resources Agency, California Air Resources Board, California Department of Transportation, California Energy Commission and Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development with broad stakeholder input.

The Executive Order directs the state agencies to pursue a shared vision to “improve freight efficiency, transition to zero-emission technologies and increase the competitiveness of California’s freight system.” Benefits include meeting the state’s freight infrastructure, public health, air quality and climate goals.

The Draft Action Plan responds to the Governor’s Executive Order by articulating one shared vision to improve the efficiency of California’s freight system while reducing its pollution, all the while bolstering the competitiveness of California’s goods movement system nationally and internationally.

Key components of the Action Plan include:

  • A long-term 2050 vision and guiding principles for California’s future freight transport system.
  • Targets for 2030 to guide the State toward meeting its long-term vision:
    • Improve freight system efficiency 25 percent by 2030.
    • Deploy over 100,000 zero-emission vehicles/equipment and maximize near-zero by 2020.
    • Foster future economic growth within the freight and goods movement industry.
  • Identified opportunities to leverage State freight transport system investments.
  • Actions to initiate over the next five years to make progress towards the Draft Action Plan’s vision and target.
  • Pilot projects to achieve concrete progress in the near-term.
  • Additional concepts for further exploration and potential development.

“Future investments of public dollars in freight require a smart approach that accounts for both environmental stewardship and the need for new infrastructure to accommodate a growing freight sector,” said CalSTA Secretary, Brian P. Kelly. “While some may see these as competing priorities, this Draft Action Plan suggests we don’t have to choose between these important objectives, but can achieve both through more prudent planning and investment. I look forward to perfecting the document with input from our many stakeholders in the days ahead.”

Achieving the Draft Actiotruck2n Plan’s objectives will require strategic partnerships and well-coordinated investments in new technologies and major infrastructure upgrades. The plan provides an opportunity for leveraging new federal, State, local and private investment for these freight transport system improvements.

California’s freight system is the most extensive and interconnected freight system in the United States and is composed of several deep water seaports, cargo airports, border crossings, and a vast warehousing and distribution sector, all connected by a network of over 11,000 miles of railroad track and Interstate and state highways. Each component is critical and the system depends on these interconnected facilities working in concert to move freight in and out of California to the rest of the nation and across the globe. California’s freight-dependent industries account for more than $740 billion in revenue and more than 5 million jobs in 2014.

“This is an unprecedented effort to partner with the freight sector to help bolster the competitiveness of California’s freight industry,” said Governor Brown’s senior jobs adviser Mike Rossi. “The freight sector has already invested heavily in modernization and the Action Plan helps advance those efforts while reducing emissions through commercially viable and affordable technologies.”

While freight transport in California is a major economic engine for the state, emissions from ships, harbor craft, trucks, locomotives, cargo equipment, aircraft and other freight participants account for about half of toxic diesel particulate matter (PM 2.5), 45 percent of the emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) that form ozone and fine particulate matter in the atmosphere, and 6 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in California. Many of these pollutants are emitted in close proximity to communities and pose health risks to nearby residents, highlighting the need for additional steps to protect public health.

“The draft we are releasing today represents an unprecedented collaboration among government agencies, in keeping with the importance of the freight sector to our economy and our environment,” said CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols. “The plan commits to include all stakeholders at every step in the process, from refining goals and selecting pilot projects through implementation into the coming decade. Our challenge is to deliver both public health and economic benefits at our ports, on our highways, and in our communities throughout the state.”

The Draft Action Plan builds on existing State agency strategies, including the California Freight Mobility Plan, Sustainable Freight Pathways to Zero and Near-Zero Emissions Discussion Document and the Integrated Energy Policy Report. Broad stakeholder input provided over the past several months, including 11 workshops across the state, inform this Draft Action Plan.

The Draft Action Plan is available now for stakeholder and public feedback through July 6, 2016. Additionally, agency staff will present it as an informational item at public meetings of the California Freight Advisory Committee, the California Transportation Commission and California Air Resources Board in May.

“The Energy Commission is pleased to work in partnership with our sister agencies and engaged stakeholders across the state to develop this draft action plan,” said Energy Commissioner Janea A. Scott. “Reducing pollution from the freight sector will help California to meet its clean air standards and climate goals.”

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The Governor’s Executive Order on Sustainable Freight can be found at:
https://www.gov.ca.gov/news.php?id=19046

The Draft Action Plan is available for public review and comments at: http://www.casustainablefreight.org

The State Agencies are requesting comments by July 6, 2016. Comments can be submitted electronically at: www.casustainablefreight.org

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Active Transportation Program Call for Projects Now Open

SACRAMENTO – The California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) is excited to announce that project applications for the Active Transportation Program (ATP) Cycle 3 are now being accepted. Approximately $240 million in state and federal funding is available for projects that encourage the use of active modes of transportation, like biking and walking.

In March, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) approved the final 2017 ATP guidelines. Applicants can apply for the funding through the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). The application period closes June 15.

The ATP was created in September 2013 with the signing of Senate Bill 99 (Chapter 359, Statutes of 2013) and Assembly Bill 101 (Chapter 354, Statutes of 2013) by Governor Brown. The ATP consolidated a number of federal and state transportation programs into a single program with a focus on making California a leader in active transportation.

In 2015, the ATP provided approximately $215 million in funds for 114 Statewide and Small Urban and Rural program projects. An estimated 88 percent of the funding directly benefits disadvantaged communities. An additional $143 million in ATP funds went to 93 Metropolitan Planning Organization projects.

A few of the projects selected during the last cycle include:

• Approx. $1.5 million for Safe Routes to Schools safety improvements and a community outreach program for kindergarten through eighth grade in Humboldt County, California.
• Approx. $600,000 for a pedestrian connection project at Rio Vista Elementary School in Contra Costa County.
• Approx. $400,000 for the development of an Active Transportation Plan in the greater downtown district of the city of Stockton.
• Approx. $400,000 for the Pico Rivera Regional Bikeway Project in L.A.

For more information, including guidelines to apply and eligibility requirements, visit http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/LocalPrograms/atp/cycle-3.html. For more information on projects funded in Cycle 2, visit http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/LocalPrograms/atp/cycle-2.html.

Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program Generates Statewide Interest

The Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) funds projects that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by expanding public transportation ridership and capacity.  On February 5, 2016, the TIRCP began a Call for Projects for the second round of program grants with an application deadline of April 5.

This year’s Call for Projects resulted in 41 project applications for a total of $3.1 billion in requested funding.  Currently, an estimated $449 million is available, primarily from auction proceeds from the Cap and Trade Program.  It should also be noted that the Governor’s Budget proposes additional Cap and Trade auction proceeds and loan repayments to further increase the total amount available for this second round of program grants.  The enthusiastic response to this year’s Call for Projects attests to TIRCP’s crucial role as a funding source to accomplish transformative projects that will modernize and integrate transit service.

The following link takes you to the Final TIRCP application list.

CalSTA anticipates announcing project selections around August 1, 2016.