Why do we continue to host Zoom calls like this one THURSDAY?

The world is changing because of climate change, not to mention increasing air pollution, and California is not faring very well so far. Out-of-control wildfires, oil disasters, drought, and heat waves are happening with more frequency. But we do have a jump on everywhere else in the USA when it comes to zero-emission vehicles and good regulations that define the path forward.

We've got a long way to go, however, and need the rest of the world to come along with us—indeed there are other countries that are leading the pack right now. So let's keep talking and spread the word about what we must do in order to curb climate change and clean the air. This is why we continue to host Zoom calls with the experts and invite all of you to come along for the ride!

Join us on our Zoom call tomorrow from 12 noon to 2 p.m. REGISTER HERE NOW!  We will be asking our speakers these questions:

Ray Wolfe, Executive Director of the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority:
We want to know more about the new Arrow Line train service that is linking San Bernardino and Redlands, which we understand was—a very long time ago—served by the Red Cars that came to San Bernardino from LA. And please explain the Zero-Emission Multiple Units (ZEMU) hydrogen fuel cell trains and the plan to bring them to Southern California.

Madeline Rose is Climate Campaign Director at Pacific Environment:
It is very alarming that the South Coast Air Quality Management District predicts that by 2023 ships will account for the majority of NOx emissions in SoCal—surpassing heavy-duty trucks. We know there is a lot of talk about replacing the heavy fuel used by the bigger ships with 100% clean energy sources. What needs to happen with shippers and distributors, and what can governments and government agencies do today to accelerate the transition?

Jesse Marquez, founder of the Coalition for a Safe Environment:
You created the Coalition for a Safe Environment in 2001 to investigate expansion plans by the Port of Los Angeles—and eventually the Port of Long Beach—because of concerns about the environmental and public health impacts on people, many of whom are low-income, who live around the ports and the freeways that heavy-duty diesel trucks travel to get to the ports. That was two decades ago. On a scale of 1 to 5, how and why would you rank our progress given the growth of both ports, especially since COVID?

Lawrence McCormack is Director of State Government Relations for Cummins:
Cummins works with a lot of heavy industries—from construction to marine to agriculture, oil & gas, buses, trucks, municipal vehicles like fire, trash collection, and transit buses, and rail. That’s pretty much anything on and off the road. Is there one technology—battery-electric, fuel cell, hydrogen, renewable natural gas, or diesel—that you view as the “winner” technology for all? Or do we need them all?

Peter Chen is a mechanical engineer with the California Energy Commission:
California’s goals are to have 1.5 million ZEVs on the road by 2025 as well as 200 hydrogen fueling stations and 250,000 vehicle chargers for battery electric vehicles. That seems feasible. And the CEC predicts that by 2035 all vehicles will be zero emission except for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles—which will become zero emission by 2045. Do you think this is good enough? What else may be required to save Planet Earth by 2045?

Bob Schlatter, Senior Executive at World Energy:
The U.S. EPA reports that aircraft contribute 12 percent of U.S. transportation emissions, and account for three percent of the nation’s total greenhouse gas production. World Energy produces Sustainable Aviation Fuel. Can you explain what is it, how it can help reduce airline emissions, and how we can scale its usage?

Dr. Joseph Pratt, CEO and CTO of Zero Emission Industries:
You produce hydrogen fuel cell marine vessels. How polluting are the ferries, harbor craft, and other marine vessels currently at sea in California? Why are you using hydrogen fuel cells and not battery electric technology? What are the limitations of each?

Dave Cook is Chief Technology Officer at Rail Propulsion Systems:
Locomotives that transport goods and people are highly polluting. You have demonstrated hybrid electric passenger trains can go anywhere. How can we leverage existing locomotives and make them cleaner, safer, and less expensive to operate today so we can see measurable air quality improvements near frontline communities?

Join us on our Zoom call tomorrow from 12 noon to 2 p.m. REGISTER HERE NOW! 


Join us to talk about emerging technologies for planes, trains, buses & ships!

California's transportation sector accounts for about 50 percent of the state's greenhouse gas emissions (when refinery emissions are included), as well as nearly 80 percent of nitrogen oxide pollution, and 90 percent of diesel particulate matter pollution—more than anywhere else in the U.S.

But while cars, SUVs and light-duty trucks have been a focus of early research and emerging technologies, there are other transportation vehicles we've only just begun to talk about: planes and ships, in particular, long-haul heavy-duty trucks and the cargo equipment that services them at the ports, and trains and buses. We'll be talking about emerging technologies in these sectors on a Zoom call Thursday:


Join us to talk about "Emerging Technologies in Passenger Transit: Planes, Trains, Buses and Ships," 
Thursday, Oct. 14, 12 noon-2 p.m. REGISTER HERE! 
  • Ray Wolfe, Executive Director of the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority, manages a budget of nearly $1 billion for transportation investments, and helps lead the efforts of councils of government countywide.
  • Dr. Joseph Pratt, CEO and CTO of Zero Emission Industries, has decades of experience in hydrogen energy and is able to turn complex technological and market concepts into engaging stories that win the buy-in of listeners.
  • Madeline Rose is Climate Campaign Director at Pacific Environment, which works to stop ships from using 20th century fuels in the 21st century—especially heavy fuel oil—because if the international shipping industry was its own country it would be the world’s 6th largest climate polluter. 
  • Peter Chen, Mechanical Engineer at the California Energy Commission, is charged with planning initiatives and managing research, development, and demonstration projects to advance alternative fuel vehicle technologies.
  • Bob Schlatter, Senior Executive at World Energy, is working to decarbonize air travel with sustainable aviation fuel and support businesses in their journey to more sustainable transit.
  • Jesse Marquez founded the Coalition for a Safe Environment to monitor goods movement issues at the ports of LA and Long Beach and the public health impacts on communities nearby—with a goal of mitigating, reducing or eliminating public exposure to pollution generated by the ports.
  • Lawrence McCormack is Director of State Government Relations for Cummins, which builds engines for long-haul trucks, buses, light-duty vehicles and heavy-duty equipment—and is renown for reliability, fuel efficiency, and low emissions.
  • Dave Cook is Chief Technology Officer at Rail Propulsion Systems, a California-based company dedicated to modernizing transportation and eliminating congestion in our cities and transportation corridors.
Join us to talk about "Emerging Technologies in Passenger Transit: Planes, Trains, Buses and Ships," Thursday, Oct. 14, 12 noon-2 p.m. REGISTER HERE! 

We need to end our dependence on oil. Our panelists are working on it.

We are still in disbelief as we watch the unfolding ecological disaster caused by 144,000 gallons of crude oil spewing into the waters and onto the shoreline of Orange County. Add that to the drought and devastating fires that have raged across the West and it is clear that climate change—"fueled" by our dependence on oil—is knocking on the door.

We know we need solutions that continue to power our economy, provide good paying jobs and address the devastating health impacts of diesel pollution, wildfires and oil spills. Our Zoomposiums tomorrow (Friday) and next week (on Thursday) are about some of the solutions—involving the adoption of new transportation options, some powered by electric batteries or hydrogen—for getting around.

Tomorrow our focus is on getting around California, city to city. Last month my family took an incredible journey on Amtrak from San Francisco to Los Angeles, and while it was beautiful it also took 12 hours in total. We can do better and our panelists are going to talk about how. 

Join us tomorrow (Friday), 11am-1pm, to talk about getting around without a car. Because our current transportation system isn't working anymore. Our speakers are listed below. REGISTER HERE. 

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VMT and getting beyond SOVs . . .

We are so obsessed with cars—our personal vehicles (especially electric vehicles), as well as Uber or Lyft—that we forget there are many other ways to get around, including our bus and rail system. We really don’t have to drive in an SOV (single occupancy vehicle)—and we know we shouldn’t—especially when it comes to intercity or long-distance travel.

And that's the subject of two upcoming Zoom calls on the topic of reducing vehicle miles traveled (VMT)—a goal among the many advocates and elected officials who are deeply concerned about the impact on climate change (50% of GHG emissions in California come from the transportation sector and refineries) and air quality. Please mark your calendars and join us on Oct. 8 and 14 for:

“What About Reducing VMT with Fewer SOVs?” on Friday, Oct. 8, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., when we will discuss opportunities for both medium- and long-distance travel and how it can reduce VMT and help reduce GHG emissions and improve air quality. REGISTER HERE. With:

  • Darwin Moosavi, Deputy Secretary for Environmental Policy and Housing Coordination at the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA), where he is a key advisor on issues related to reducing GHGs and VMT.
  • Ben Porrit, Senior VP at Brightline, a provider of modern, eco-friendly high-speed rail, working in partnership with Siemens to build trainsets in California that are an example of green manufacturing and good-paying jobs.
  • Pierre Gourdain, CEO of FlixBus and in charge of making it the #1 ground-based long-distance mobility provider in the U.S., which has transported more than a million passengers since its launch on the West Coast in 2018.
  • LaDonna DiCamillo, appointed as Southern California Director of the High-Speed Rail Authority last year, and tasked with bringing High Speed Rail to our region.

AND THEN . . .

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Tell the Metro Board to Vote YES on Fareless Transit THURSDAY!

We are so close to winning the Fareless System Initiative pilot program to provide student transit passes for all K-12 and community college students in LA County—any line, any time, bus and rail, Metro and municipal operators—that we can't slow down now!

But next we must work toward ensuring a fareless system for all low-income residents as well, and then . . . a fareless system for all! 

The Metro Board votes THIS THURSDAY whether to move forward with the Fareless System Initiative pilot, which will cost only $3 per K-12 student and $7 per community college student per year! The board meeting starts at 10 a.m. and the Fareless System Initiative is third on the agenda. You can:

  • Make a live public comment—1 minute is the max—by telephone. Dial: 888-251-2949 and enter English Access Code: 8231160# or Spanish Access Code: 4544724#. To give public comment enter #2 when prompted. (The live video feed lags about 30 seconds behind the actual meeting, but there is no lag on the public comment dial-in line.) You may want to bring a textbook in case the first two items—on the I-710 freeway widening project—delay discussion of the Fareless System Initiative.
  • Or email your comments to the [email protected] Written public comments must be received by 5PM the day before the meeting. Please include both Item #35 and your position—“FOR,” “AGAINST,” "GENERAL COMMENT," or "ITEM NEEDS MORE CONSIDERATION"—in your comment.
  • Or you can send your comments by USPS but they should go in the mail today as they need to reach Metro by 5 p.m. tomorrow. Mail to: Board Administration, One Gateway Plaza, MS: 99-3-1, Los Angeles, CA 90012
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METRO WANTS TO EXPAND LA'S BUS-ONLY NETWORK

It’s a really good idea to create more bus-only lanes along heavily traveled corridors in Los Angeles: Bus speeds in LA County have declined for more than a decade, while complaints about the reliability of bus arrival times have increased and ridership has continued to decline (25% in the last decade).

Metro has been working with the City of Los Angeles to implement bus-only lanes in downtown LA on 5th and 6th, on a quarter-mile segment of Aliso from Spring to Alameda, and on Flower (as part of the rehab project for the A Line in 2019)—with resounding success. The 2019 pilot on Flower—which came to halt with the arrival of COVID but will soon reopen—increased travel speeds by up to 30% and ridership by 32%. And the impact on car traffic was negligible, with speeds slowing just 2 mph on a 35 mph street.

Another bus-only lane opened on Alvarado this summer from 7th Street up to the 101 freeway (the segment north to Sunset Boulevard will be installed later this fall)—with a bus traveling south to DTLA in the curb lane during the morning rush hour (7-10 a.m.) and north in the curb lane in evening (3-7 p.m.). This line is expected to speed up bus service by at least 15%, with a bus arriving every 7-8 minutes.

The importance of bus-only lanes is clear when one looks at the equity benefits of, for example, the Alvarado line:

  • 94% of bus riders on Alvarado do not own or have access to a car and rely on bus service
  • 77% of riders take the bus at least 5 times a week
  • 63% of riders live below the poverty line
  • 63% have been riding transit for 5 or more years
  • 96% are people of color
  • 67% are local residents.

Moreover bus-only lanes may help LADOT reach its Vision Zero commitment to eliminate traffic deaths by 2025 (nearly half of those killed were walking or biking). Bus priority lanes have been shown to improve overall safety by reducing accidents caused by aggressive lane weaving, excessive speeding and failure to yield, and because they separate buses from car traffic.

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Our Letter to CARB Re: The Scoping Plan

Sept 3. 2021

Liane Randolph, Chair

California Air Resources Board

RE:  Recommendations re 2022 Scoping Plan

Dear Chairperson Randolph:

Move LA urges CARB staff to prepare an alternative emission reduction scenario for the Scoping Plan which enhances the program’s ambition beyond SB 32 (as suggested in Option A on p. 14 of the CARB staff presentation). New targets in such an alternative should be at least as ambitious as those provided in the recently released IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, Climate Change 2021.

It is vital that the next Scoping Plan reflects the sense of urgency that permeates the IPCC Report. Making maximum emission reductions over this next decade are likely crucial to avoid the most damaging impacts of climate change, including the possible loss of many lives.   

While emission reductions must be pursued aggressively across all source categories, meeting more ambitious targets will require making significantly enhanced investments in the deployment of clean transportation technologies and reductions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), especially methane. 

We believe a successful effort in this next decade will require seeking significantly enhanced resources, well beyond those provided by current programs. These resources can come from the Legislature and Governor—or better, from California voters as soon as November 2022. 

We say “better” because a voter-approved funding measure, compared to the legislative budget process, can provide significantly enhanced resources, continued over a prescribed duration with greater reliability and continuity of purpose. This may well be necessary to give manufacturers the confidence they need that, if they ramp up production of advanced technologies in the near term, their risks are much more likely to be rewarded. 

Why should we consider such an alternative?

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What's Become of Metro's Fareless System Initiative?

Move LA has been tracking Metro's Fareless System Initiative closely, and we are happy to report that a pilot has been officially launched with 17,000 K-12 students in six LA County school districts. Metro is planning to expand the program if approved at the September board meeting. 

Metro's latest report on the FSI program is here, and we will update this post when we know more. According to a memo from August, the pilot involves close to a third of the 1.4 million public K-12 students in LA County—and LAUSD has made a verbal commitment to join the program. In addition, Metro has received interest from dozens of other K-12 districts representing more than 1,139 schools and 695,610 students.

While the families of K-12 students are not charged a fee, participating school districts must contribute $3/student/year, and municipal transit agencies interested in joining the program must cover the remaining cost—for a total cost for all partners, including Metro, of about $50 million over 2 years. This allows K-12 students to ride any Metro bus or rail line, or any participating municipal bus services, without paying a fare at the point of entry, if their school district participates in the program.

This program is very similar to the “Any Line, Any Time” program that Move LA Executive Director Denny Zane helped pilot at Santa Monica College about a decade ago, which has been so successful that we’ve been working to expand it ever since. Now it appears we’ve succeeded—with the help of all the parties mentioned above, as well as the students!

But what about community college students? The community college program will launch if the Metro Board approves it at the September meeting, and because community college students ride more frequently than K-12 students they will be charged more—but just $7 per student per year.

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Metro’s Fareless System Initiative for Students Launches in a BIG Way

Metro has officially launched a pilot for its Fareless System Initiative with 17,000 K-12 students in six LA County school districts, and is planning to expand the program with the approval of the Metro Board at its September meeting. As we follow Metro’s efforts to scale up this important program—with multiple benefits not just for student riders but for everyone who wants to see reductions in GHGs and VMT—we've been thinking back to the time we began advocating for a student transit pass program at least a decade ago.

That was when Executive Director Denny Zane started working with Santa Monica College to create an “Any Line, Any Time” student transit pass program in partnership with the Big Blue Bus. Student interest in taking transit—paid for in part by their student fees—grew quickly and the program became a key marketing tool for recruiting new students to enroll.

In 2015 we started working with Metro on a student pass program with the encouragement of LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas, then Metro Board Chair, and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti. We also began lobbying the Legislature for funding for a statewide student transit pass program, working with Assemblymember Chris Holden.

In 2016 Move LA hosted a Student Transit Pass Summit to mobilize students to support funding for discounted transit passes in Measure M—with the result that 2% of Measure M funds are now being used to reduce the cost of student passes. Metro launched its U-Pass Program that same year, while we kept working to win funding from the Legislature, Asm. Holden's bill made it to Governor Jerry Brown's desk . . . and was vetoed. But success was on the horizon—so read on!

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Hydrogen will play an important role in the zero-emission revolution

There is a consensus that deep cuts in CO2  will require a lot of zero-emission transportation, and that hydrogen will play an important role—especially in California where we have set ambitious goals to phase out fossil fuel vehicles.

Meeting those goals is likely to require that we move quickly to develop both battery electric as well as hydrogen fuel cells for vehicles, and while the focus in the near term has been on batteries there is growing interest in California—but also in the U.S. and abroad— in hydrogen as another very important source of clean energy.

Our Zoom #4 call is about the possibility of a hydrogen revolution, the opportunities and the challenges, and we'll be talking with:

  • Chanell FletcherDeputy Executive Director of Environmental Justice, California Air Resources Board
  • Cliff GladsteinPresident, Gladstein, Neandross & Associates (GNA)
  • Brian Goldstein, Executive Director, Energy Independence Now
  • Eric HoffmanPresident, Utility Workers Union of America, Local 132 
  • Madadh MacLaine, Founder and Secretary General of Zero Emissions Maritime Technology Association
  • Assemblymember Bill Quirk, California State Assembly, former climate change scientist at NASA
  • Dr. Sunita Satyapal, Director, Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office, U.S. Department of Energy 
  • Michelle Sim, Director of Sustainability, Southern California Gas

Join us this Friday from 10 a.m. to noon to talk about the interest in hydrogen as another zero-emission fuel source for vehicles and possibly other applications. REGISTER HERE.

While hydrogen is abundant it’s almost always found in a compound such as water (H2O) or methane (CH4), and needs to be separated into pure hydrogen to be used in fuel cell electric vehicles.

Today most hydrogen is produced from natural gas through a process called steam reformation. But the need for a clean fuel that can deliver energy with a significant range, faster fueling, and that isn’t heavy—as electric batteries are—especially for heavy-duty vehicles that travel long distances has increased interest in producing hydrogen from renewable natural gas, biomass or electrolysis.

Electrolysis is a process that uses an electric current to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. If the electric current is produced by renewable sources such as solar or wind the resulting hydrogen can become a truly clean fuel that, when used in a fuel cell, produces only water.

That also makes it a truly clean energy carrier that can be used to store, move and deliver energy, not just for transportation but for a broad range of applications across all sectors including power plants.

The California Air Resources Board’s most recent Advanced Clean Trucks Rule will encourage rapid deployment of hydrogen fuel cell powered heavy duty vehicles—which many observers believe is what hydrogen is best suited to do. It may also be able to power ships and planes.

While hydrogen is the most abundant substance in the universe, the use of hydrogen is “still in its infancy,” The New York Times noted recently, “and California is determined to be its cradle in the United States. . .”

We’d like California to remain at the forefront of birthing this revolution.

Join us to hear more about the possibilities of hydrogen as a new clean fuel source that together with electric batteries can get us to zero emissions before it's too late! REGISTER HERE.

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