Skip to Content
Streetsblog California home
Log In
CA State Assembly

Op-Ed: Transportation Funding Talks Must Include Transit, Climate Change

3:24 PM PDT on September 2, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 1.02.04 PM

An op-ed piece in the Sacramento Bee this morning points out the strange disconnects in current legislative discussions on funding transportation.

Authors Jeanie Ward-Waller, policy director of the California Bicycle Coalition, and Chanell Fletcher, senior California policy manager for the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, point out that “two deeply intertwined debates are underway in their usual separate silos in the Legislature.”

Those two separate discussions are about reducing carbon emissions—by, among other things, cutting petroleum use in half – and the special session on transportation infrastructure. The focus of the special session, say the authors, “has been on filling potholes and adding new highway lanes to move more trucks.”

But, they say, “the hard truth is we can’t tackle climate change without dealing with transportation” because transportation accounts for such a large portion of greenhouse gas emissions in California.

Filling potholes doesn’t “fix” our transportation system, but simply paves over a system of highways designed for a 20th century California. Building more highways doesn’t fix our congestion problem. Studies show that the new lanes will just fill up with more cars and trucks as our population and economy continue to grow, and then be marked with potholes in another ten years.

How can we significantly cut petroleum use if we only invest in solutions that add more cars and trucks on our roads? Encouraging consumers to buy electric vehicles will help but will only get us part way.

The solutions “include improving and expanding transit service so buses and trains are convenient, reliable and affordable, especially for commuters who can’t afford a car” and “networks of protected bike lanes and sidewalks to connect neighborhoods to transit, schools, parks, shopping and work so families don’t need a car for every trip.”

These solutions are also climate solutions. They create healthier, more vibrant communities and reduce the cost of transportation for families. Plus, fewer cars on the road means fewer potholes to repair ten years from now.

The authors are part of a coalition calling for increased transit funding and for making it safer and more convenient to walk or ride bikes to connect with transit.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog California

Office of Traffic Safety Announces $127.3M in Grants

Increased funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration makes this a historic amount of money for a historic number of grants

October 2, 2023

Oakland Promises Protected Bike Lanes on Lakeshore

City has committed to building protected bike lanes on the east side of Lake Merritt

October 2, 2023

Monday’s Headlines

Update on the status of the bike path on the RSR bridge; Santa Cruz transit about to get a lot better; Headstone could delay Metro expansion; Free transit on Clean Air Day (this Wednesday); More

October 2, 2023

Caltrans Readies Guidance for Complete Streets, with a Giant Exemption

Somewhere along the way, highway interchanges - roads crossing and going under and over freeways and highways - were exempted from the guidelines

September 29, 2023
See all posts