CalSTA programs continue to improve service and access for public transit in Orange County

As part of CalSTA’s Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP), the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) recently implemented a mobile ticketing system through their OC Bus app to make purchasing tickets on the go more convenient for transit riders. The application and ticketing equipment was partially funded by TIRCP funds and mobile ticketing is available for regular fares and college passes. The OCTA anticipates including senior and disabled fares in Spring 2017. Riders can add fares instantly and store multiple passes within the app making boarding the buses faster and easier than before.

CalSTA’s Low Carbon Transit Operations Program (LCTOP) also helped fund a reduced day pass for OCTA riders for a six-month period. Riders can travel across Orange County with these day passes. The pass can also be purchased on the mobile ticketing app.

Both the LCTOP and TIRCP programs are funded through the Cap and Trade Program’s auction proceeds and its Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. The LCTOP provides funding to transit agencies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve mobility, with a priority on serving disadvantaged communities. The TIRCP funds transformative capital improvements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase transit ridership, integrate rail services and improve safety.

For more information on these programs:
http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/MassTrans/tircp.html
http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/MassTrans/lctop.html

Capitol Corridor Celebrates 25 Years of Service

On Tuesday, Secretary Kelly joined the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA) to celebrate 25 years of service from Sacramento to San Jose. In 1990, voters recognized the need to fund passenger train service between the Bay Area and Sacramento and, through Prop 108 and Prop 111, supported bond measures to help fund the Capitol Corridor.

Service started in 1991 with just six trains making three round trips daily, at that point annual ridership was 238,000. For Valley locals and Bay Area denizens alike, the amenities of passenger rail did not go unnoticed. In 1991, a review in the Lodi News-Sentinel noted that the train had an observation platform, spacious cars with high-backed reclining seats, and a snack-bar car.

inagtrainPhoto Courtesy of CCJPA

In 1996, SB 457, the Intercity Passenger Rail Act authored by State Senator David Kelley created the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Board, comprised of six local transportation agencies along the route. The CCJPA was tasked with running the train service and increasing ridership. Today, the Board also includes two metropolitan planning organizations, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Sacramento Area Council of Governments.

Over the past 25 years, the Capitol Corridor trains have continued to increase service from three to fifteen weekday round trips and provide important direct connections with 10 local public transit systems and five passenger rail systems. Perhaps as a nod to California’s innovation centers, the Capitol Corridor was the first in the nation to test and develop Amtrak’s mobile ticketing systems and among the first to add in-train Wi-Fi.

2016 was a record-setting year for the CCJPA with ridership and revenue up significantly. The Capitol Corridor is the second highest ridership corridor on the Amtrak system, outside of the Northeast Corridor, carrying a record 1,560,000 riders last year.

Intercity rail continues to play a pivotal role in our transportation landscape. At CalSTA, we’ve recognized the great success of the Capitol Corridor route and have continued to work with the CCJPA to make service more efficient, reliable, and accessible. In 2015, CalSTA invested Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) funding in a $15 million effort to reduce travel times by 10 minutes between Sacramento and San Jose, benefiting not just the Capitol Corridor, but also ACE and San Joaquin rail services.

In August, CalSTA announced an additional award of TIRCP funding as part of a $70 million program to increase rail service to Roseville, and to develop a service optimization plan to increase ridership through improved reliability, better schedules and service integration, and more efficient service delivery. The funding will conduct track and facility improvements for 3 peak period Amtrak trains in each direction per day between Sacramento and Roseville. The additional service will not only benefit commuters to Sacramento, but those traveling to Davis, Solano County and all the way into the Bay Area.

We look forward to celebrating another 25 years of success with the CCJPA!

For more information on the Capitol Corridor, click here.

Caltrans Welcomes New Deputy Director for Sustainability

Caltrans announced the appointment of Ellen Greenberg as its new Deputy Director for Sustainability, who will oversee Caltrans’ continued efforts to shift and align its policies and practices to improve the environment, the economy and social equity for all Californians.

“Ellen will be a valuable addition to the Caltrans Executive Team,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. “She will help Caltrans advance its sustainability commitment by applying those principles into the planning, design, maintenance and operation of California’s vast transportation system.”

Greenberg has overeg 30 years’ experience working with cities, transportation agencies and non-governmental organizations to guide development, conservation and transportation decisions. She comes to Caltrans from Arup, an independent design, planning and engineering firm, where she’s worked since 2010. Greenberg served in the leadership of Arup’s planning and infrastructure groups in San Francisco. During her time at Arup, she worked with transportation agencies including LA Metro, the Maricopa County (Arizona) Association of Governments, Translink (Vancouver Region) and the SF Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

Ellen was lead author of Caltrans’ Smart Mobility Framework, which was initiated with support from the U.S. EPA Office of Sustainable Communities. Other areas of work with the EPA office have included urban eco-districts, reuse of obsolete shopping malls and sustainable street design. She also was appointed as the first visiting practitioner at the University of California, Davis National Center for Sustainable Transportation.

For further details about Ms. Greenberg’s background, view Governor Brown’s appointment announcement here.

Learn more about the sustainability efforts underway by visiting Caltrans’ Sustainability page at http://www.dot.ca.gov/sustainability/

Transportation Agency Awards $390 Million in Cap and Trade Grants to Expand Transit, Reduce Emissions and Create Jobs

Sacramento –  Tuesday, the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) announced 14 recipients for the 2016 Transit and Intercity Capital Program (TIRCP) grants.  The group of projects moves forward the Brown Administration’s focus on reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions while advancing the state’s public transportation system. This year’s awards total $390 million in competitive grants made possible through the state’s Cap and Trade auction proceeds.

“This investment of Cap and Trade dollars is really about transforming this state’s transportation system to create jobs, reduce harmful emissions, and expand mobility options so Californians can get around as efficiently and conveniently as possible,” said CalSTA Secretary Brian Kelly.

“Today we invest in California’s future—improved bus services in Fresno, BART to San Jose in the Bay Area, expanded ACE service to better connect the Northern San Joaquin Valley with Silicon Valley, new streetcar systems in Sacramento and Santa Ana, electrified transit services in the Bay Area and Southern California, vital improvements to LA Metro’s Green, Purple and Red lines, expanded rail services between Southern California cities and the Central Coast, and a new rail service connecting a major university with downtown San Bernardino.

California’s transportation future is about providing good, clean travel options while expanding access to mobility and economic opportunity for all.  This Cap and Trade program delivers today and promises to deliver much more in the future.  I’m proud to put these vital transportation dollars to work for all Californians.”

41 applications for funding from around the state were submitted for consideration this year. The 14 projects selected, valued at more than $3.8 billion, will reduce more than 4.1 million tons of CO2 statewide and 13 of the 14 recipient projects directly benefit disadvantaged communities.

Looking ahead, through Senate Bill 9 (Beall, 2015) CalSTA will be adopting a 5-year program of projects by July 1, 2018.  The 5-year program calls for larger, more transformative projects to be funded.  With that, the state anticipates being a long-term funding partner to see transformative projects come to fruition, for example:

  • The BART Silicon Valley Phase II Extension to San Jose Diridon and Santa Clara stations
  • Commuter and intercity rail projects in northern California, such as expanded ACE, San Joaquin and Capitol Corridor service, that will link the high-speed rail project to millions of Californians through shared stations in the Bay Area and the Central Valley
  • Expanded capacity for Los Angeles Union Station
  • Commuter and intercity rail projects in southern California, such as expanded Metrolink, Amtrak Pacific Surfliner, and Coaster service that will link the high-speed rail project to millions of Californians through shared stations in the south
  • Street car, light rail, and high-frequency bus projects all around the state that expand transit ridership with zero-emission vehicles well suited to the achievement of climate goals
  • Investments in stronger integration between local transit and the statewide high speed, intercity and regional rail network, such as those underway in Fresno, that grow ridership and increase the utilization of existing services
  • Expansion of the intercity rail network into new markets, such as the Coachella Valley and the Central Coast, and development of zero emission services on the intercity feeder bus network

CalSTA will hold workshops in late 2016, continuing into 2017, to receive public input on guideline development for the 2018 program.

Project funding for the 2016 awards will be supported by Cap and Trade auction proceeds from eight anticipated auctions in fiscal year 2016-17 and 2017-18, so cumulative auction proceeds are more important than the amount of revenue received from a single auction.

If the Legislature directs additional funds to the TIRCP in this legislative session, CalSTA may increase funding for announced awards and/or fund additional projects submitted as part of the 2016 program.

A complete list of this year’s recipients can be found here:

Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program 2016 Awards 
Detailed Project Award Summary

Kate White talks greenhouse gas emission solutions on KKUP’s Bike Life Radio

Our Deputy Secretary Kate White joined Diane Solomon on Bike Life Radio to talk about the Silicon Valley Bike Summit and critical transportation issues facing our state.

On California’s commitment to lower greenhouse gas emissions in transportation:

“We’re looking for every opportunity to de-carbonize transportation in California so that’s cars and trucks. But even more importantly, we have to enhance transportation options and decrease demand for driving. We need more and more people to have safe, convenient, and affordable ways to take transit, to walk and bike to wherever they need to go.”

How cap and trade dollars are funding projects that lower emissions, increase transit options, and build more affordable housing:

“We have the most extensive cap and trade program where we’re actually capping the emissions of most sectors that emit greenhouse gas emissions and if they emit more than that, then they basically have to buy carbon credits. And those credits, the auctions for those credits go into a fund, it’s called the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. And every dollar that goes into that, and now it’s billions of dollars a year, must be spent on projects that reduce emissions.”

“You’re starting to see some real results, more transit operations dollars, more transit capital. High Speed Rail is under construction, underway, because of these dollars. As you know, the first leg is going to be from Central Valley to Diridon Station in San Jose. We’re also investing in affordable housing projects around the state that are adjacent to transit so that the residents have not only affordable housing but also affordable transportation so they don’t have to own so many cars. Maybe they don’t even need to own a car. “

Find out more about the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund and the projects being funded here: http://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/capandtrade/auctionproceeds/ggrfprogrampage.htm

 

State Releases Final Plan to Transform Freight System

Sacramento – In response to an Executive Order issued last year by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., state agency leaders today released the California Sustainable Freight Action Plan, a comprehensive document that serves as a blueprint for transforming the state’s multi-billion dollar freight transport system into one that is environmentally cleaner, more efficient, and more economically competitive than it is today.

The revised document is similar to the draft version issued in May 2016, but reflects new input provided by industry, labor, regional and local government, and community and environmental group stakeholders, who submitted more than 85 comments on the draft plan.

“We listened to stakeholders, incorporated changes, and we will continue to consult with them as we put the Plan into action” said California Air Resources Board Chair Mary D. Nichols. “This dialogue — and a commitment to shared responsibility for and ownership of this plan– is the underpinning for the successful transformation of our freight transport system and the multiple benefits it will bring to our environment, communities and our economy.”

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

“The Sustainable Freight Action Plan reflects the hard work done by the partners to address the needs of the freight industry,” said Governor Brown’s senior jobs adviser Mike Rossi. “GO-Biz will continue working with our stakeholders in the business community to see that the Action Plan builds upon ongoing efforts to modernize the freight industry while reducing emissions and keeping it competitive through commercially viable and affordable technologies.”

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 Action Plan includes a long term-2050 vision and guiding principles for California’s future freight transport system along with these targets for 2030:

  • Improve freight system efficiency 25 percent by
  • 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.

The plan also identifies opportunities to leverage State freight transport system investments, pinpoints actions to initiate over the next five years to meet goals, and lists possible pilot projects to achieve concrete progress in the near term.

“This Sustainable Freight Action Plan reflects an investment strategy that’s right for California: expand economic development, create jobs and protect our environment. The plan doesn’t choose between these objectives, but proposes strategies to achieve them all. I look forward to turning this plan into action,” said California State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian P. Kelly.

Among the new additions to the final plan are placing more focus on key partnerships and a discussion of toxic hot spots. Changes have also been made throughout the document to clarify and emphasize the collaboration between the responsible agencies and other regional planning efforts, including funding.

“The Energy Commission appreciates the collaboration amongst our sister agencies and engaged stakeholders across the state to develop an action plan to address Governor Brown’s call to action on sustainable freight,” said Energy Commissioner Janea A. Scott. “We look forward to working with our partners to refine and prioritize the strategies and actions identified in the Action Plan and to carrying out actions that will help California to meet its clean air standards and climate goals.”

Next steps for state agencies will include continued work with federal, state, industry, labor, regional, local and environmental and community-based partners to refine and prioritize the strategies and actions outlined in the Action Plan. The state agencies will also create collaborative stakeholder working groups on competitiveness, system efficiency, workforce developments, and regulatory and permitting process improvements.

Regular California Freight Advisory Committee meetings will continue, and by July 2017, the state agencies will establish work plans for chosen pilot projects.

Currently, California is the nation’s largest gateway for international trade and domestic commerce, with an interconnected system of ports, railroads, highways and roads that allow freight from around the world to move throughout the state and nation. This system is responsible for one-third of the state’s economic product and jobs, with freight dependent industries accounting for over $740 billion in gross domestic product and over five million jobs in 2014.

For more information about California’s Freight Plan : http://www.casustainablefreight.org/