The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is accepting feedback on how to allocate funding raised from our state's new Cap-and-Trade program until 5pm on Friday March 8th. The program is expected to raise billions of dollars annually, some of which could be set aside for bicycle, pedestrian and transit improvements.
At present there are very limited state and federal dollars for active transportation projects, which local communities depend on to improve their bike- and walk-ability. In short, the Cap-and-Trade program is an INCREDIBLE opportunity to increase the amount of funding available to make our cities healthier, safer and more vibrant!
COMMENTS are DUE BY 5pm Friday March 8th, and can submitted electronically via the CARB website (look for the link above "Staying in Touch"). Day One's official comment letter can be read below as well.
SAMPLE LETTER (please personalize)
Honorable members of the California Air Resources Board,
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to provide comments on California’s Cap and Trade Program. As a Californian concerned about the health of our communities, I strongly support the goals of AB 32 and SB 375 and am providing comment to encourage you to dedicate a substantial portion of these revenues for bicycling, pedestrian and mass transit projects.
15% of our total trips are by foot or bike, yet only about 1% of our transportation funds are spent on bike and pedestrian infrastructure. Making matters worse, federal spending on active transportation was recently cut by 33%, at a time when demand for such infrastructure is peaking.
Such investment would also help address the devastating toll of sedentary lifestyles on Californians of all ages, particularly minorities and children. Statewide approximately $41 billion dollars are spent annually on medical costs related to obesity and lost productivity due to chronic diseases caused by physical inactivity. A recent study of the Bay Area reported that investments in active transportation could reduce chronic disease by 15%.
The benefits are clearly many, and the relative cost of such improvements minor when compared to expensive new roadway construction. Please support our state's transition to more sustainable, healthy lifestyles by setting aside funding for projects that integrate physical activity into our everyday lives, especially in disadvantaged communities.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
SAMPLE TALKING POINTS (courtesy of the CA Bicycle Coalition)
Current Lack of Funding
- 15% of our total trips are walking or on a bike, yet only about 1% of our transportation funds are spent on bike and pedestrian infrastructure.
- Federal spending on active transportation was recently cut by 33%.
- Coupled with the need for preservation and maintenance of the existing system to make it safe and increase biking and walking a conservative estimate of $18 billion over the next ten years is expected to meet minimum needs. Currently, the State spends less than a tenth of this amount.
Co-benefits of Active Transportation
- Bike and pedestrian fatalities, as a percentage of traffic fatalities, are nearly twice the national average. Improving conditions for bicycling and walking can improve public safety while encouraging more people to walk and bike.
- Low-income and disadvantaged communities have higher rates of biking and walking and also higher rates of fatalities and injuries; seniors, minorities, and youth are at significantly higher risk of being hit and killed than other portions of the population.
- Over 80 percent of trips to and from transit are achieved by walking and bicycling. Our investments in transit need to be flanked by investments in active transportation to create a holistic and multi-modal transportation system.
- In California approximately $41 billion dollars are spent annually on medical costs related to obesity and lost productivity due to chronic diseases caused by physical inactivity. A recent study of the Bay Area reported that investments in active transportation could reduce chronic disease by 15%.
Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) and Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT)
- 40% of all trips in CA are two miles or less and studies have shown that investments in bicycling and walking infrastructure can encourage mode shift. A recent study of cities in the Midwest estimated that VMT in these states could be reduced by up to 20% by investing in walking and bicycling for short trips.
- In California approximately 62.4 % of children in CA live within 2 miles of school yet 51 % of these children are driven to school in a private vehicle.
- California has some of the worst air quality in the nation, by shifting short trips to bicycling and walking large reductions in co-pollutants can be achieved by avoiding cold starts.
The Cap-and-Trade Active Transportation Solution
A dedicated percentage of cap and trade revenues for bike/ped investments that:
- Will assist regions and communities in investing in completing and expanding bicycle and pedestrian networks.
- Promote first-mile/last-mile connections to transit.
- Promote biking and walking access to schools, community and medical facilities, job and housing centers, and shopping and retail centers.
- Expand critical infrastructure into low income neighborhoods.
Local Success Stories
If you have a local success story, please present them as part of your oral or written comments.