Sorry Jerry, Sometimes Better Isn’t Good Enough
Yesterday, the administration responded to the critique that Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed budget does not advance the state’s stated goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by increasing the safety and comfort of those that walk and bicycle.
While the op/ed, written by California State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Kelly, only directly addresses a different opinion piece in the Sacramento Bee; its message is for everyone that is taking issue with the lack of money for sidewalks and bike lanes in the proposed spending plan.
Simply put, the message is this:
The Brown administration created the nation’s largest Active Transportation Program in 2013, dedicated to providing about $120 million each year to develop safe bicycle and pedestrian facilities in communities throughout California…
…California is leading the nation in bicycle and pedestrian facility investment. The governor’s proposed budget for active transportation projects brings the total programmed since 2013 to about $720 million.
While it is laudable that the Governor and his administration are putting more money into active transportation than his predecessors, that is not what Bee opinion writer Daniel Weintraub nor other critics, including Melanie Curry here at Streetsblog California, were talking about. You can read Curry’s critique here and listen to an episode with Curry and myself discussing this issue at #DamienTalks here.
Doing better than Governor Schwarzenegger is great, but that’s not the bar that we hold for Brown.
The budget, coming just weeks after Brown and California were hailed as worldwide leaders on climate change shows none of the vision that were present at the climate talks in Paris. Instead, even with a $3 billion increase in overall funding for transportation, there is no increase in funding the most environmentally friendly way of getting from place to place.
Again, there is no doubt that Jerry Brown and his administration are doing better on this front than the administration’s of Schwarzenegger, Davis, Wilson and others.
But in this case, better isn’t good enough.