The California State Transportation Agency today announced this year’s recipients of $224 million in competitive grants that support high-quality public transportation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions causing worldwide climate change. These climate investments are funded by the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund using proceeds from the state’s cap-and-trade auctions.
"When public transportation is efficient, affordable and enjoyable more Californians use it and that improves quality-of-life for everyone," said California State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Kelly. "These grants help support nearly $720 million in transportation investments in clean, affordable and low-stress commuting and traveling options by improving the quality and reliability of public transportation choices. At a time of ever-increasing extreme weather—and an uncertain future—these investments help California take control of the emissions that cause climate change by offering more sustainable travel options."
The grant funding is part of the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program, implemented by the California State Transportation Agency in coordination with the California Department of Transportation and California Air Resources Board. The grants help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by expanding public transportation ridership and capacity.
"This program is further proof that the Golden State is putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to building a sustainable, low carbon economy that will provide benefits for all Californians," said California Air Resources Board Chairman Mary D. Nichols last week when discussing California’s climate investments.
This year’s 14 grants help support approximately $720 million in public transportation investments and reduce an estimated 860,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent to taking 180,000 cars off the road. The transit entities benefitting from these grants currently support approximately 360 million transit trips per year. 93 percent of the projects benefit disadvantaged communities.
Some of the benefits from this year’s grants include:
- Constructing station and service improvements for Los Angeles basin light rail and improving and increasing service on Southern California commuter rail services across five counties,
- Offering San Diego improved and increased trolley service and 11 miles of new bus rapid transit,
- Expanding Bay Area light rail service and capacity,
- Refurbishing Sacramento rail cars for future express service,
- Adding capacity to Sonoma County rail service,
- Building two new bus rapid transit corridors and reducing locomotive emissions in the San Joaquin region,
- Improving Monterey and Salinas bus service,
- Reducing Capitol Corridor, Altamont Corridor Express and Amtrak San Joaquin corridor travel times,
- Launching a new Orange County rapid bus route,
- Improving local transit transfers to and from the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner, and
- Commencing new, more frequent electric bus service between the Antelope Valley and Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley and new, more frequent electric bus rapid transit in the Antelope Valley.
These improvements include funds for 16 new and 7 refurbished light rail vehicles, 3 rail cars, 9 locomotives, 20 compressed natural gas buses, 12 hybrid buses and 30 zero emission electric buses.
"Transit agencies around the state are eager to put these dollars to work, improving service in so many communities while enhancing the environment for all of us," said California Transit Association Executive Director Joshua Shaw. "All our member transit systems look forward to building on the successful launch of this exciting new program by the State Transportation Agency, the Air Resources Board and the Governor's Administration."
These 14 projects are part of an ongoing—and statewide—commitment to sustainable and affordable public transportation in California through revenues accruing from the state’s cap-and-trade auction proceeds. For example, Caltrans has announced $24 million for 95 low-carbon transportation grants to transit operators across California and the Strategic Growth Council will vote today to approve $122 million in grants and loans for affordable, transit-friendly housing that encourages active transportation and transit usage. In 2014, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed the Budget Act of 2014, which appropriated $832 million in cap-and-trade auction proceeds to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, strengthen communities, and improve quality-of-life. The Governor also signed legislation to continuously appropriate 10 percent of future proceeds to this Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program.
The California State Transportation Agency is responsible for transportation-related departments within the state: Board of Pilot Commissioners, California Highway Patrol, California Transportation Commission, Department of Transportation, Department of Motor Vehicles, High-Speed Rail Authority, New Motor Vehicle Board and Office of Traffic Safety. For more information, visit www.calsta.ca.gov or the Agency’s blog at www.calstablog.wordpress.com.
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