PCL Insider – June 2022

AB 2438 : Bringing California’s Transportation Spending Into Alignment

With Our Climate and Equity Goals

For over a decade, California has had some of the strongest greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction mandates for the transportation sector in the world. Yet, today, we still spend far more money on new road capacity projects that increase vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and associated GHG emissions than on alternative infrastructure that reduces emissions, improves health outcomes, and provides more equitable access to opportunity.

This continues to happen for many reasons, the complexities of which are detailed in the “SB 285 report” you can find here.  Yet, one primary reason is that many of the State’s own major transportation funding streams do not explicitly require alignment with California’s GHG reduction mandates and the needed reduction of VMT to achieve our climate and equity goals.

PCL has been working with sponsor ClimatePlan and many other partners in strong support of AB 2438, which help correct this inconsistency by requiring that the guidelines of the State’s major transportation infrastructure funding programs be updated to incorporate the appropriate principles and strategies of the Climate Action Plan for Transportation Infrastructure (CAPTI), including: the State Highway Operation and Protection Program (SHOPP), the Interregional Transportation Improvement Program (ITIP), the Solutions for Congested Corridor Program (SCCP), the Trade Corridor Enhancement Program (TCEP), and the Local Partnership Program (LPP).

AB2438 would require the California Transportation Commission (CTC) to develop a transparent and accountable process for how projects are evaluated within each program based on: safety, accessibility, reliability, furtherance of state and federal air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions reduction standards, and efficient land use that supports reduction in VMT. Further, the bill will require for the first time that the California Transportation Plan (CTP) include a financial element that will help identify alignment and prioritization of state investments with that of our Regional Transportation Plans and Sustainable Communities Strategies.

These will be commonsense improvements to our state’s infrastructure project programming, but they will also be a powerful shift from the status quo. We expect that there will be strong resistance to this shift before the bill gets to the finish line, and AB 2438 needs your support now.

As written in these pages many times before, the California Air Resources Board has clearly documented that zero-emission vehicles, and clean renewable energy production will not meet our GHG reduction mandates alone. We absolutely need to provide more transportation options and improved land use to support those options to allow people to drive less as well. We have known this for a long time, and yet per capita VMT continues to rise across California. AB 2438 is an essential step toward the State’s ability to correct this by better identifying and prioritizing the infrastructure projects that we need to achieve our climate mandates and to provide equitable access to opportunity to all Californians.

Support AB 2438 Now!

Contact Sandy Naranjo at ClimatePlan if your organization would like to

sign on to the group support letter: sandy@climateplanca.org