75 Orgs Sign Letter Opposing CA Senate's Big Transport Funding Bill


Re: SB 1 (Beall) - Transportation Funding - Oppose Unless Amended

Dear Chairman Beall,

The undersigned organizations have a strong interest in how California invests federal and state transportation dollars, and our coalition has actively participated in the transportation funding dialogue throughout the last two years. We will support a proposal that includes the five recommendations we outline in principle below, and hope to work with your staff and other transportation stakeholders to craft those solutions. However, since we have not made progress toward those amendments to date, we regretfully oppose Senate Bill 1 at this time.

We appreciate the importance of maintaining our road infrastructure, and the urgency to find a funding solution as maintenance costs continue to climb. We also support your proposal for up to $150 million to the Active Transportation Program and 3.5 percent diesel sales tax to State Transit Assistance. In addition, we support investments to electrify freight trucks and equipment and reduce burdens on communities by the goods movement sector as proposed in SB 4, and want to see those provisions accompany additional infrastructure investment to the Trade Corridor Improvement Fund.

However, we still strongly believe that funding for our roads must be balanced with investments in a future transportation system that protects our environment, promotes social and economic justice, and improves our communities. We request amendments to address the following:

1. Advance social and economic justice by ensuring that significant investments from this package--not only from the ATP or GGRF programs--provide meaningful benefits for low income communities and people of color who are disproportionately in need of greater mobility, pay more than their fair share of the regressive taxes proposed, and bear the brunt of the health and safety impacts of our transportation system. 

 2. Dramatically increase sustainable funding for operating public transit and reducing fares, to provide high-quality, efficient transit service especially for low-income individuals and families.

3. Align transportation investments with federal, health-based clean air and our 2030 and 2050 climate standards by prioritizing projects that reduce vehicle miles traveled, while also improving air quality, physical health, and access for those without a car. Any funding that could potentially expand freeways or add new road capacity must be tracked and mitigated with projects that contribute to attainment of our air quality and climate standards. 

4. Increase Expertise and Accountability at the California Transportation Commission, which is responsible for oversight and approval of federal and state transportation dollars, and advises the Legislature on transportation policy. Future appointees to the Commission should be required to have expertise in social equity, climate change, and sustainable transportation.

5. Oppose any rollback of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), which improves project outcomes and reduces environmental impacts of projects, by offering opportunities to inform the public about project benefits and for the public to inform the project.

Including these five reforms will ensure progress toward a transportation system that provides clean, affordable access to opportunity for all Californians, and that makes our communities healthy and safe places to live and work while addressing air quality and climate change. We look forward to working with your staff and other transportation stakeholders to find compromise on our concerns.

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Measure H Kickoff


Monday’s crowded Measure H campaign kick-off press conference was a smash—even attracting coverage in the New York Times--and featured an all-star speaker line-up with compelling pitches from (among others) LA County Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas, Janice Hahn and Hilda Solis, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Rabbi Noah Farkas from Valley Beth Shalom.

The highlight was probably Danny, a focus of La Opinion's story, a particularly heartfelt and inspirational speaker who told his story of graduating from one of the top liberal arts colleges in the nation, getting his MBA at Stanford, and working at Lehman Brothers and Bank of America before he lost his job in the crash of 2008. That fact combined with an HIV diagnosis sent him into a tailspin with the result that he ended up on the street.

But Danny also had good news to tell: After receiving exactly the kind of services that would be funded by Measure H at a homeless services agency called PATH (People Assisting the Homeless, also the site of the press conference), he’s becoming a CPA and starting his own financial services business.

LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who initiated the Measure H campaign with full support of members of the current Board of Supervisors, noted that there’s no formalized opposition to Measure H because “the need to do something about homelessness in LA County is so profound that every poll finds that people just want this problem to be addressed!"

“People are taxing themselves to pay for something that they consider a problem, but that may not immediately advance their own interests. People just feel it’s the right thing to do. It’s astonishing,” Raphael Sonenshein, Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at CalState LA told the  New York Times.

(View the broad coalition of more than 100 Measure H endorsers HERE.)

The Daily News noted how Measure H complements the $1.2 billion bond measure to build 10,000 affordable apartments for homeless approved by voters in the City of LA last November. Measure H would fund countywide services designed to help people off the street and stabilize their lives. Speakers pointed out that because the county has limited funding for these services we are instead relying on trauma centers, emergency rooms and the police and sheriff’s departments to help the homeless—“costing taxpayers in ways that are more painful and less productive,” noted LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn.

Mayor Garcetti pointed out the importance of voting yes on Measure H and voting no on Measure S, which would put a two-year moratorium on most major developments and prevent the city from deviating from current zoning rules. If S passes, he said, 9 out of 10 affordable housing projects for the homeless that the City of LA is planning to build with proceeds from Measure HHH “cannot and will not be built.”

Watch some short video clips of the campaign kick-off speakers here--they were compelling!

LA's Low Income EV Carshare Could Be A Very Big Deal


(Photo of state Senate Pro Tem Kevin de Leon flanked by Matt Petersen [behind to left] and Susana Reyes [right] from the LA Mayor's Office of Sustainability, and Sharon Feigon [left] of the Shared Use Mobility Center at a press conference last summer when grant for low-income EV carshare was announced.)

The LA City Council’s approval on Dec. 13 of the contract to begin LA's low-income electric vehicle carsharing program is exciting for many reasons, including that it once again proves California is a climate change leader and is investing Cap & Trade dollars in LA's low-income neighborhoods. More reasons:

  • Carsharing programs haven’t scaled up in LA to the degree they have in San Francisco, Washington DC, Chicago or Austin—for example—for reasons that aren’t well understood.
  • Very few low-income carsharing programs in the US have succeeded—but LA’s project involves the 2 people who operated the 2 most successful low-income programs (Sharon Feigon and Creighton Randall—more below).
  • EV carsharing, which requires the installation of significant EV car-charging infrastructure, has never been done in the US, but the company working with us in LA has run a very successful EV carsharing program in Paris (the Bollore Group and Autolib—more below).

The 100 electric vehicles and 200 charging stations will be located in low income neighborhoods in downtown LA, Pico Union, Westlake and Koreatown. The cost for low-income households to join is discounted: $3-$4 per month for a membership, depending on income, and $3-$4 per 20 minutes of use—relatively inexpensive if one compares it to taking a 20 minute ride with Lyft or Uber.

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3 Ways LA’s Electric Carsharing Pilot is Setting the Urban Sustainability Agenda


Written by Creighton Randall, the Shared Use Mobility Center's Program and Development Director (Photo is of the Bollore Group's Autolib EV carshare program in Paris—with 4,000 cars!)

The City of Los Angeles made a big step forward for innovative, equitable mobility this week when the LA City Council authorized a contract with operator BlueCalifornia, a subsidiary of Bollorè Group, to run an electric carsharing program in disadvantaged neighborhoods in central Los Angeles. The program is supported by $1.67 million in grant funds from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and $1.82 million in EV infrastructure rebates, fee waivers, and in-kind support from the city.

More importantly, it contains several unique elements – from the myriad of benefits it promises to the wide array of partners it involves – that make the pilot truly the first of its kind in the nation.

A great deal of effort, commitment and hard work will still be needed to ensure the project delivers on its objectives. But we think it’s safe to say that, as other cities across the nation look for ways to expand transportation options for their residents, they would do well to follow LA’s example.

Here are 3 reasons why LA’s EV carshare pilot is helping to set the agenda when it comes to urban sustainability and shared mobility:

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LA City Council Approves Contract for Low-Income EV Carshare Project!


Today the LA City Council approved a contract with Blue California to operate a low-income EV carshare program in DTLA, Pico Union, Westlake & Koreatown with 100 EVs & 200 charging stations!!! Thank you City of LA!!! Here's a part of the team, which includes the LA Mayor's Office of Sustainability, LADOT, Blue California, the Shared Use Mobility Center, NRDC Urban Solutions, Sierra Club & Move LA! Missing: TRUST South LA, KIWA (Korean Immigrant Workers Alliance) & SALEF (the Salvadoran American Leadership and Education Fund). Got a happy holiday feeling!

LA City Council Hopefully Considers Low-Income Electric Vehicle Carshare Contract Tuesday


There was lots of media at the press conference in July 2015 when CA Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon announced that LA had won a $1.67 million grant from the CA Air Resources Board to launch a low-income electric vehicle carsharing program. Fast forward--wait--that's slow forward to Dec. 12, 2016 and the LA City Council's Transportation Committee is only now voting whether to approve the contract. Why does Los Angeles continue to be such a difficult place for carsharing? Here is the letter of support that I wrote to the Transportation Committee. If it's a YES vote the contract will come up for a vote at the City Council Tuesday morning (as in tomorrow). Move LA urges a YES vote Councilmembers Bonin, Koretz, Huizar, Martinez and Ryu!!!

LA County Supervisors Put 1/4 Cent Sales Tax Measure on March Ballot to Fund Homeless Services


Move LA has been working with LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and advocates for people who are homeless to build support for a permanent source of funding for the LA County Homeless Initiative and the comprehensive plan it outlines. We were very pleased with the turnout Tuesday at the Board of Supervisors meeting, where nearly 100 speakers lined up to ask the Board of Supervisors to put a 1/4-cent sales tax on the ballot that could raise about $355 million a year over its 10-year lifespan to fund supportive services and housing. The board voted unanimously to do so. This is some of the news coverage:

LA TimesDaily NewsSouthern California Public RadioBusinessmagz.comlawestmedia.com.

LA Times: Get Ready for Measure M!


Great editorial from the LA Times about how Measure M projects may eventually triple the number of transit riders in LA County, and how these projects might also radically change the communities where new rail lines and stations are located—for better and for worse: While some neighborhoods may welcome the investment and real estate boom likely to occur in neighborhoods near transit, others have a legitimate fear that longtime residents will be pushed out. This is a big concern for Metro and for transit riders since low-income Angelenos make up 80% of Metro's ridership . . . (Photo: Renters gather outside the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles to demonstrate against evictions, rent increases, displacement and gentrification on Sept. 22.) READ MORE.

Denny Zane in the LA Times: Fortune—and LA Voters—Favor the Bold


Los Angeles voters were in an especially giving mood. (Photo: Press at the post-victory Measure M press conference.)

Four major tax measures, clustered near the bottom of the ballot, sailed to victory in Los Angeles on election day, mostly by dizzying margins.

Voters embraced $94 million per year for parks, $1.2 billion to house the city’s homeless, $3.3 billion for community college facilities and a stunning $120 billion to pay for subways, light rail lines and other transit projects over 40 years. Those measures, backers say, will help Los Angeles tackle two of its most intractable problems — traffic and homelessness — and potentially reshape the region.

Read more in the LA Times.

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