Transit is the Future! Long Live Transit!

Transit ridership has plummeted all over the U.S. in the wake of COVID, and experts agree $32 billion is needed to keep trains and buses moving. While the COVID relief package being debated in Congress is likely to include some funding for transit, it’s not likely to be anywhere near that amount.

This is why a broad coalition of transit advocates has come together across the U.S. to hold a series of online forums in big cities—including this one hosted by Move LA last week, which featured an impressive roster of elected officials, speakers and advocates.

Transit ridership has plummeted all over the U.S. in the wake of COVID, and experts agree $32 billion is needed to keep trains and buses moving. While the COVID relief package being debated in Congress is likely to include some funding for transit, it’s not likely to be anywhere near that amount.

This is why a broad coalition of transit advocates has come together across the U.S. to hold a series of online forums in big cities—including this one hosted by Move LA last week, which featured an impressive roster of elected officials, speakers and advocates.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO WHAT WE TALKED ABOUT ON OUR "TRANSIT IS THE FUTURE" ZOOM CALL WITH:

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We Continue to Meet with Climate & Clean Air Experts

In the words of Nick Josefowitz, chief of policy at our Northern California partner organization SPUR, this is the Zoom call you want to listen to if you believe that we can do something about climate change, climate justice, dirty air that is killing Californians, and the wildfires that are devastating our community.

As you probably know by now, we are working with SPUR to create a major new funding source, possibly a statewide ballot measure in November 2022, to invest in strategies to fight climate change and clean our air.

While we would expect this measure to cover 20-30 years or more, in this discussion we focused the discussion on what could be funded in the first decade because we have looming climate deadlines in 2030—when California's goal is to reduce GHG emissions 40% below 1990 levels, which would put us on track to be carbon neutral—and we must meet federal air quality attainment deadlines by 2031, which in Southern California means emissions from all sectors must be reduced by more than 50%.

Unfortunately, we are not alone in questioning whether we are on track to meet California’s climate goals. Moreover, seven of the 10 cities that have the worst air pollution in the U.S. are in California, and tens of thousands of Californians are dying every year as a result.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH OUR 1.5 HOUR-LONG ZOOMPOSIUM. OUR NEXT WILL BE ON JANUARY 14!


TUESDAY: Join Us, Elected Officials, Agency, Business & Labor Leaders, Environmentalists & Other Important Advocates

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As most of you probably know, public transit is in deep trouble because of the pandemic, because ridership and the revenues used to fund transit operations are greatly diminished in the aftermath of COVID. (El programa será interpretado al español.)

Experts agree that $32 billion is needed to keep this country’s trains and buses moving. While the COVID relief package being debated in Congress is likely to include some funding for transit agencies and their riders, it’s not likely to be anywhere near that amount.

This is why a broad coalition of transit advocates across the U.S. is holding a series of online forums in big cities—including this one hosted by Move LA, which will feature an impressive roster of elected officials, speakers and advocates (below).  

Transit revitalizes economies. The public transportation industry provides more than 435,000 jobs, and it’s estimated that every $1 billion invested in transit creates and supports 50,000 jobs. Transit provides the means for many working people to gain a foothold in the economy.

Don’t forget that transit is how so many nurses, doctors, caregivers, grocery clerks and other essential workers got to work before COVID and still get to work during COVID. Transit provides anyone, regardless of income, with freedom of movement, as well as access to jobs, education, goods and services, greater economic mobility, and lower household costs.

Please join us TUESDAY in our call for Transit Justice at our "Transit is the Future!" Zoomposium Dec. 8, 1:30-3:00 p.m. with elected officials, agency leaders, business, labor, environmentalists and other important advocates (see below)

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An Extraordinary Opportunity to Dramatically Reduce GHGs and Air Pollution

You might ask why, in our work to clean the air and curb climate change, have we chosen to focus on the transportation sector? It’s because transportation—cars, trucks, buses, trains, ships, planes, and off-road equipment—is responsible for more than half of California’s climate pollution (when emissions from oil refineries are taken into consideration), 80% of smog-forming pollution, and 95% of toxic diesel emissions.

The transportation sector is, as Governor Gavin Newsom said in September when he announced his Executive Order to reduce demand for fossil fuels used in transportation, “the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change.”

WE ARE PROPOSING A CLIMATE AND CLEAN AIR FUNDING INITIATIVE, A PROJECT WITH OUR NORTHERN CALIFORNIA PARTNER SPUR, TO HELP THE STATE ACCELERATE REDUCTIONS IN CLIMATE AND AIR POLLUTION. READ MORE HERE.

We are very optimistic about California's ability to lead the world in the fight against climate change, and this year the state took 2 very important steps forward. Governor Newsom's Executive Order on Sept. 23 directed the state to:

  • require that by 2035 all new cars and passenger trucks sold in California will be zero-emission vehicles and
  • ensure that all medium and heavy-duty vehicles will be zero-emission by 2045. 

We believe that banning the sale of cars and light-duty trucks that run on fossil fuels—a regulation on manufacturers—plus enhanced funding incentives to bring down the cost for buyers and to help building charging and fueling infrastructure—could accelerate deployment of zero-emission cars well beyond what could be achieved by regulation alone. This would bring light-duty zero-emission vehicles (both cars and trucks) to the point where we can envision the market soon operating on its own without the need for incentives.

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What Do These Climate Experts Think About Our Climate and Clean Air Initiative?

As you may know, Move CA (a project of Move LA) is working with our Northern California partner SPUR on the California Climate and Clean Air Initiative. We are convening discussions with California’s climate and clean air advocates and experts, with the goal of identifying a major new public funding source to invest in strategies that will ensure maximum and accelerated reductions in transportation emissions, both air pollution and greenhouse gases. We believe a statewide ballot measure is a viable option to achieve this goal. Visit the Climate and Clean Air Initiative website to learn more about, and follow, this effort. 

At our first Zoomposium on this subject in October, climate and clean air leaders advised us that the transportation sector provides the biggest and most immediate challenge because it produces 40% of California’s GHG emissions and 90% of the air pollution in our most polluted communities. It is perhaps also our biggest opportunity because zero-emission battery and hydrogen options are rapidly emerging across multiple new transportation arenas.

We were also told that California needs “a boatload of money”—as California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols described it—to achieve the state’s climate goals: to reduce GHGs 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 and 80% by 2050. (This would also enable us to meet the 2018 IPCC Report on Global Warming’s goal of 45% reductions below 2010 levels, also by 2030.)

We have 2 other major goals besides funding accelerated deployment of clean transportation technologies—we want to dramatically reduce short-lived climate pollutants or SLCPs, and also ensure that social equity and creating major opportunities for disadvantaged communities are hardwired into our investment program. We’ll be bringing more advocates and experts to the table in coming months to help us determine the best path forward.

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California's Leadership in the Fight Against Climate Change is Ready to Lift Off!



CA's leadership in the fight against climate change is ready to lift off! Join us at one of the launching pads:

On Thursday, Dec. 3, 10-11:30 a.m.

The California Climate and Clean Air Initiative invites you to join with us and a panel of experts as they tell us about exciting progress in the development of zero-emission vehicles and other technologies that will help us clean our air and end climate change!

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER!

California is writing a whole new breathtaking chapter in the story of its leadership in fighting air pollution and climate change! This past year under the leadership of Gov. Gavin Newsom and California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols amazing things have been done. 

For example, in June CARB adopted the Advanced Clean Truck Rule that requires truck manufacturers to aggressively proliferate an expanding fleet of zero-emission trucks likely to be powered by either or both electric batteries or hydrogen fuel cells. 

In September Governor Newsom adopted an Executive Order that says no gasoline cars will be sold in California after 2035! And there will be an ever-expanding fleet of zero-emission cars for California consumers until then! That is just around the corner in climate terms! 

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Where Do We Really Stand In Terms of Reaching CA's Climate & Clean Air Goals?

Climate change is a confounding problem requiring a global solution. California is a global climate leader, but where do we really stand in terms of reaching our state's climate and clean air goals? 

The truth is that we are falling short. Even with funding from the Cap-and-Trade Program we do not have the resources we need to get there.

This is why Move CA (a project of Move LA) and northern California partner SPUR have begun talking with climate leaders, advocates and experts about developing a statewide ballot measure to provide a major new funding source to invest in emission reductions. 

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT OUR FUNDING INITIATIVE ON OUR NEW CLIMATE AND CLEAN AIR CAMPAIGN WEBSITE.

MOVE CA AND SPUR ARE EXPLORING PRIORITIES FOR THIS FUNDING INITIATIVE BY GATHERING FEEDBACK FROM CLIMATE LEADERS AND EXPERTS. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR OUR CLIMATE AND CLEAN AIR ZOOMPOSIUM #2 WITH CLIMATE EXPERTS ON DEC. 3, 10-11:30 A.M.

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Move LA Speaks with Metro Chief of Staff Nadine Lee: Fareless Transit and Much More!

Move LA spoke with Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (Metro) Chief of Staff Nadine Lee in October 2020 about the state of public transportation in Los Angeles County. We spoke about fareless transit, recovery of public transit and public transit funding, the NextGen Bus Plan, Bus Rapid Transit, and active transportation. The interview lasted close to an hour! 

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Question 1: Metro CEO Phil Washington has proposed a fareless system and set up a Fareless System Initiative Task Force to explore options. This is a shift from the thinking of Metro just a few months ago. What do you attribute this shift in thinking to?

First, we believe we have a moral obligation to LA residents to pursue a fareless system to help our region recover from the pandemic and the increasing lack of affordability in the region. For example, 69% of Metro riders are low or extremely low income, and fare evasion penalties disproportionately impact low-income riders. Housing and transportation are the two biggest expenses for most households. If we can eliminate one of those big expenses, imagine how much that would help low-income families. A fareless system will help promote social equity and expand economic opportunities, especially for our low-income riders.

In terms of the change in thinking, several things have happened over the last few years. One, we have started to think more broadly about what we're trying to accomplish as an agency and a community, rather than just delivering the status quo. We've also been asked to provide discounts or free fares for a variety of different populations. So, instead of approaching this fareless concept as “death by a thousand cuts,” we think there is value in looking more comprehensively at what it would take to go fareless in the context of everything else we are trying to do. We also have so many people out there trying to hold on economically, while fear of COVID keeps people from conducting normal business in the course of their daily lives.

To put things in perspective, Metro collected on the order of $300 million annually in fare revenue, pre-COVID. Now, with rear-door boarding on our buses to protect everyone during the pandemic, we aren’t collecting much farebox revenue at all. We already make fares free on Election Day and Earth Day. Combined with all of the discounts we offer to specific populations, the entire approach becomes very piecemeal and reactionary. Instead, in the last few years, we've really tried to focus on making policy decisions based on the broader outcomes we are trying to achieve and not just piecemealing things together. We want to be more thoughtful about what we're trying to accomplish and use outcomes-based thinking as our guide to how we set policy and implement our programs. 

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Hardwiring a Commitment to Equity in Our Proposed CA Climate & Clean Air Initiative

The scare from the worsening fire season on the West Coast (and in other parts of the world) combined with hurricanes in the east has sensitized many people to the fact that the climate emergency is here. Last week we told you Move LA is launching a statewide effort as Move CA, and with our Northern California partner SPUR are investigating the idea of putting a "California Climate and Clean Air Initiative" on the November 2022 ballot.

Our goal is to raise the funding needed to meet California's vital climate and air quality goals while also building a just and equitable economy, and the climate leaders featured at our event expressed much enthusiasm for the idea: Mary Nichols, Fran Pavley, Kevin de Leon and Terry Tamminen told us the great need—and big opportunity—to make dramatic near-term and lasting improvements are in accelerating the deployment of zero-emission transportation and off-road technologies—both battery-electric and hydrogen.

They also emphasized the need for major reductions in the emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs)—also known as "super pollutants"—including fugitive methane, black carbon and HFCs.

And they said hard-wiring a commitment to equity for disadvantaged communities should be a co-equal priority for this measure. 

Below are the remarks made in response to the climate leaders by our nonprofit partners, who also focused on the importance of keeping equity in the forefront of planning for this measure. To listen to the two-hour conversation CLICK HERE, or there's a 30-minute version at the top of the page HERE. 

 

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6 Climate and Clean Air Leaders Say YES!

Move LA is launching a statewide effort as Move CA, and together with our Northern California partner SPUR we are investigating the possibility of a voter initiative measure on the November 2022 ballot to raise the funding needed to meet California's vital climate and air quality goals while building a just and equitable economy.

On Thursday, Oct. 1, we were joined by 11 climate leaders and nonprofit partners and an audience of several hundred to talk about the ballot measure and the priorities that it should fund. The discussion was energetic, impassioned and very welcome, especially given the fires and high temperatures we’ve experienced in California so far this year.

Below are remarks made by our first panel of current and former elected officials and agency leaders, which we will follow up with remarks made by directors of several nonprofits. If you'd like to listen to the entire two-hour conversation CLICK HERE, or there's a 30-minute HERE. Over the next several weeks you will hear more from us on this topic.

Mary Nichols, Chair of the California Air Resources Board: 

“When Denny asks me to participate in one of his convenings, I don't think I ever have said no. I believe that what he's about is what we need to be talking about right now and that is how to raise a boatload of money to facilitate the transition that we know needs to happen: The targets for greenhouse gas emissions must go 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. [We must] also set a goal for reducing our short-lived climate pollutant levels, which as was pointed out earlier is maybe even more important because it's something that we can accomplish faster.

So, the ballot initiative has to be really big and it also has to be long-term enough so that it will attract private investors because . . . nothing that we're talking about could be solely financed by public funds.”

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