California on track to align state’s transportation funding with climate goals

Electric bus
Mark Prado

In just two years, California has nearly completed all the actions to align the state’s transportation funding programs with its climate goals since adopting a new climate action strategy, according to a report finalized earlier this month by the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA).

The Climate Action Plan for Transportation Infrastructure (CAPTI) lists 34 key action items for aligning California’s discretionary investments in transportation infrastructure with the state’s goals to rapidly cut planet-warming pollution. Of those 34 actions, 25 are already complete, and the remaining nine are on track to be completed by the end of June 2024. This is significantly sooner than expected, with the timeline in CAPTI originally ranging up to seven years.

Among key findings in the second annual report:

  • The amount of funding going toward projects that increase vehicle miles traveled (VMT) has declined significantly since 2019, with record levels of funding going to cleaner modes of transportation. For example, the VMT-reducing Active Transportation Program, which expands safe walking and biking options, received an increase of about $50 million per year in federal funding and a one-time $1.05 billion increase in state funding.
  • While CAPTI implementation may shift the state’s transportation investments, it did not negatively impact the number of jobs created or job quality throughout economic sectors impacted by state transportation improvement.
  • Increasing multimodal, community-driven projects throughout all CAPTI funding programs also improved the transportation equity outcomes among disadvantaged communities.

“California is a global leader in clean transportation and does more than any state in the country to improve equity and climate outcomes from the transportation sector, but we still must do more,” said Transportation Secretary Toks Omishakin. “While we have made significant progress implementing CAPTI, if we’re serious about reaching the state’s ambitious climate goals and halting the worst effects of the climate crisis, we must continue to accelerate our transition to a cleaner, safer, equitable and more connected transportation system that benefits all Californians.”

CAPTI builds on executive orders signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2019 and 2020 targeted at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in transportation which account for more than 40% of all planet-warming pollution to reach the state’s ambitious climate goals.

As part of the second annual report detailing the state’s progress in implementing CAPTI, CalSTA is committing to a public process this spring to accelerate progress. This will be the first update to CAPTI since CalSTA adopted the plan in July 2021 as part of a redoubled commitment to invest billions of discretionary transportation dollars annually to aggressively combat and adapt to climate change while supporting public health, safety and equity, which are all closely linked to VMT.


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