There was a big turnout of students, transit agencies and others who heartily supported Asm. Holden's AB 1919 today when they called in to Senate Appropriations! The bill was put on Suspense, as happens to all bills requiring funding over $50,000—it's estimated the bill would require $126,000 annually—and the decision will be made on Aug. 11 when the committee considers the almost 300 bills put on Suspense.
The committee won't take public comment during this second hearing, but if you call in you can listen. Mark that day on your calendar (and we'll help you remember)!
We will be talking with Assembly and Senate leadership during the next 10 days and encourage you, too, to call the seven senators on the Senate Appropriations Committee. All the info on how to do that is here: https://www.movela.org/take_action2
Again, having a turnout like we did this morning, when so many people called in to urge support for the bill, is key to helping the senators understand the importance of moving this bill forward—for students, to help abate car traffic, to boost transit ridership post-COVID, to help reduce climate change and clean the air, to make it easier for students to excel in school, and to level the playing field between the haves (students with easy access to a car) and the have-nots (those who don't).
Please help us help students and transit agencies succeed. This is a great beginning with a goal of helping transit help all of us save the planet!!! We'll keep you posted!
COVID-19 and its variants have been a strain on everyone, especially low-income families and students in California’s diverse and transit-dependent communities where economic upsets have led to the loss of jobs and wages. This has made commuting to jobs and to school more difficult, and strained budgets for students and their families.
AB 1919, now awaiting a vote in the Senate Appropriations Committee, would make fares free for all students in California and allow transit agencies to apply for grants to help them make transit free. The benefits for students would be many, not the least of which is that AB 1919 would help reduce inequity among students who can afford to drive cars to school and to jobs, and those who cannot.
The program would also reduce the financial strain on students and their families, improve educational equity and outcomes, reduce traffic congestion, and help California clean the air and reduce the emissions that help cause climate change. (Note that much of this text is borrowed from studies linked to excellent AB 1919 Fact Sheet HERE.)
A study by the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs found that transit is disproportionately depended upon by those who are 16 to 30 years old, and that it is strongly associated with student status. The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health finds that students without affordable transit options can suffer adverse educational outcomes, which is of particular concern to students in California because of their diversity, and because students of color are more likely to be transit dependent.
In other words, this study finds, these students are much more likely to have worse educational outcomes, and are more likely to drop out of school. Moreover, because of California’s current attendance funding formula for school districts, absenteeism, caused in part by a lack of reliable transportation to schools, deprives schools of million of dollars in annual funding.
So no one wins under the current situation, but these are not the only reasons that AB 1919 is important. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that transit options such as buses produce a third less greenhouse gas emissions than the transportation that students currently use—the personal vehicle.
For all of these reasons and many more we strongly urge you to call or write the seven senators on the Senate Appropriations Committee, five of whom live in Southern California, including Sen. Anthony Portantino, who chairs the committee and whose district stretches from the Sunland-Tujunga foothills all the way to Upland in San Bernardino County.
These seven senators are considering the impact of hundreds of bills, many of which will be put on the Suspense File and go no further. Your call or letter is extremely important and it's very easy: if you call their offices (phone numbers are at the link above as is an easy-to-use letter option) you will be asked for your name and address and the bill you are supporting. You can, but need not, say more.
Let's do this! Thank you in advance!
Asm. Chris Holden's AB 1919—to make transit free for all students in California—awaits a hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee, chaired by Sen. Anthony Portantino, on Aug. 1. Sen. Portantino, who represents LA County's foothills from Sunland-Tujunga to the City of Upland in San Bernardino County where there are many schools and colleges, is an important figure in deciding whether transit will be free.
There are seven senators on the committee (five are from Southern California), who will be considering a long list of some 400-500 bills that "impose a state-mandated program," which AB 1919 would do.
We believe student transit pass programs are one of the best returns on the investment of public dollars and will convince students that transit is an important means of transportation and a great way to save money. It also helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions since vehicles on California's roads are responsible for more than half of California's GHGs.
The Appropriations committee is a difficult hurdle because there are so many bills being considered, but one very compelling thing you can tell committee members is the amazing success of LA Metro's Fareless System Initiative (FSI). This free-fare program for K-12 and community college students in LA County began in October 2021 and has been very successful, even in spite of COVID and its variants:
- last May FSI was attracting about 5,000 new riders a week (fewer now because school is out for the summer)
- students have taken more than 5 million trips since the program began (and Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins has set a goal of 15 million trips by July 2023)
- more than 700,000 TAP cards have been provided to students (which provide access to both trains and buses).
We urge you to call or write to these committee members and tell them to support AB 1919. You can do that by phone—all you have to do is call the phone numbers on the Take Action page and speak to whomever answers. You will only be asked for your name, where you live, and the bill that you are supporting—you can explain why you support it but it's not necessary. Or you can just write to committee members using the links to their offices or the comment form at the bottom of that page (it's really easy and brief).
Committee members besides Sen. Portantino include Sen. Patricia Bates (vice chair), representing parts of Orange and San Diego counties; Sen. Stephen Bradford, representing a dozen cities around the ports of LA and Long Beach; Sen. Brian Jones, representing parts of San Diego County; Sen. Sydney Kamlager, representing cities from Century City to South LA; Sen. John Laird, representing Santa Cruz and San Luis Obispo Counties; and Sen. Bob Wieckowski, whose district encompasses the central and southern portions of the East Bay and South Bay in Northern California.
Last month Denny Zane, our founder and executive director, announced he would “move over” and asked our Leadership Board to support his recommendation to appoint Eli Lipmen (that’s me!), as next executive director. Last week, we made the formal transition and sent out the announcement (which received a great response!).
My first week as executive director was very exciting. I joined a small group of nonprofit leaders for a private meeting with USDOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg, FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez, and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti. We discussed how the federal government can play a role in developing more affordable housing near high-quality transit and improving transit service and distribution of discretionary grants for transportation infrastructure projects. It was a unique opportunity!This wasn’t the only exciting news this week. It was announced that the Clean Car and Clean Air Act, a landmark clean air initiative developed by Denny Zane alongside our partner Nick Josefowitz with SPUR in San Francisco, qualified for the November ballot. It is designated as Proposition 30. It would generate $4 billion to $4.5 billion annually and $100 B over twenty years, providing California with a stable funding source to increase the number of zero-emission vehicles on the road— both battery-electric and hydrogen fuel-cell-powered light-duty cars, heavy-duty trucks, ships, trains and aircraft—and to help prevent and suppress wildfires. Move LA and SPUR began public online discussions in 2020 with colleagues and partners that led to this ballot measure. (You can listen to all nine Zooms here.)
Nearly one million Californians signed the petition to put the Clean Cars and Clean Air Act (CCCA) on the ballot; the measure is supported by a broad coalition of environmental and environmental justice groups, firefighters, labor, public health groups, and businesses.Move LA also participated in the groundbreaking for the Rail-to-Rail Active Transportation Corridor—a new 5.5-mile path for pedestrians, cyclists, and rollers on an unused rail corridor that will save lives and bring the promise of Measure M of greater connectivity to residents in South LA by connecting the Blue ‘A’ Line, the Crenshaw ‘K’ Line and, eventually, the West Santa Ana Branch Line. Move LA, through its partnership with SLATE-Z, played a pivotal role in ensuring this project happened, identifying and advocating for multiple funding sources so that the project could move forward. You can read more about our role on our blog.
Finally, I attended Metro’s State of the Agency with several Move LA Leadership Board members. We heard from CEO Wiggins who talked about an aggressive land banking program for affordable housing with a goal to build 10,000 units of affordable housing on Metro property close to transit, plans to restore bus service, building more bus infrastructure, and the challenges of making the system more reliable and safer for customers. Incoming Chair Ara Najarian spoke about ensuring major Metro projects are delivered on time and on budget and the need to improve regional mobility—issues of top concern for Move LA. This will be an important year for Metro to build and re-build and we plan to continue our important watchdog work with this agency.
I’ll continue to send out periodic updates like this on our efforts. Feel free to reach out—I’d like to hear what you are working on and how Move LA can partner with you.
Yours in transit,
Eli Lipmen, Move LA
A transformative bike, walk and roll corridor (that almost didn't happen) finally breaks ground in South LA!
Move LA joined the groundbreaking on July 6 for the Rail-to-Rail Active Transportation Corridor—a 5.5-mile path for pedestrians, cyclists and rollers on an unused rail corridor! This project will make walking, biking and rolling safe, and bring the Measure M promise of greater connectivity by connecting the Blue "A" Line, the Crenshaw "K" Line, and eventually the West Santa Ana Branch Line!
But this project almost didn’t happen—with one person going so far in 2019 as to say the project was “essentially dead.”
This story goes back almost a decade when it was proposed by then-Supervisors and Metro Boardmembers Mark Ridley-Thomas and Gloria Molina. (Sahra Sulaiman of Streetsblog has documented the project's long journey.) The project was to have moved forward with funding from Measure R and a $15 million Federal TIGER Grant, with an estimated 2019 opening. But it hit several bumps in the road as costs began increasing once soil samples were taken and the state of street infrastructure at each crossing was assessed.
The reality is that Los Angeles does not have the infrastructure people need to bike, walk and roll safely. This year saw an epidemic of traffic fatalities in the city—nearly a 20% increase over last year and the highest level seen in decades.
The City found nearly half of its “High Injury Network” streets—those with a high concentration of traffic collisions with pedestrians and cyclists—are in communities already burdened with the poorest health outcomes and economic conditions, a majority of them in South Los Angeles.
Move LA joined nearly 50 nonprofits, educational institutions, government agencies, and elected officials in 2016 to create the South Los Angeles Transit Empowerment Zone, a federally-designated Promise Zone with a mission to revitalize South Los Angeles by helping residents access economic opportunity. Move LA agreed to co-chair the Transit Work Group, along with Metro, to address the need for better transit service, fare-free programs like the "Just Transit" student transit pass program we piloted in South LA, and to improve traffic safety that disproportionately impacts Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.
Below are several of the key community partners who advocated for the Rail-to-Rail Project from left to right: Effie Turnbull-Sanders, past Executive Director of SLATE-Z (now at USC); Lisa Padilla, Cityworks Design; Deborah Murphy, LA Walks Founder; Zahirah Mann, SLATE-Z President and CEO; Eli Lipmen, Move LA Executive Director; Sulma Hernandez, SLATE-Z Director of Policy & Partnerships; Eli Akira Kaufman, LA County Bicycle Coalition Executive Director; Hilary Norton, FASTlink DTLA Founder and now a California Transportation Commissioner.
We began working with staff at Metro, the Mayor’s office, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, and Councilmember Curren Price (thanks to great staff work by Julia Salinas, Fernando Ramirez, Karly Katona and Shaellen Franco) to re-bid the project and find additional funds. In early 2020, we were happy to hear that Metro would be going out to bid on the project . . . but then the COVID pandemic hit.
In a memo to the Metro Board, Metro CEO Phil Washington wrote that the Rail-to-Rail Project was put in a “wait-and-see” bucket of projects until the scope of the pandemic was better understood. So Move LA mobilized the SLATE-Z community, sending a letter to Metro signed by more than 20 community groups in July 2020 requesting the agency to continue moving the project forward.
In response, the Metro staff got creative—even though we were in the middle of a historic pandemic—and started removing soil and old rails from the corridor by extending an existing contract for hauling waste (thanks to Metro staff members Brad Owens and Heather Repenning). Metro also applied for Measure W funds to address other issues and make the project more resilient, and advocates showed up at multiple meetings to eventually win the funds.
As the project gained momentum, South LA political leadership stepped up to find funding. Congresswoman Karen Bass requested federal funds, and Supervisor Holly Mitchell prioritized federal American Rescue Plan funding for activities that address disproportionate environmental or public health issues in underserved communities (thanks to great work by staff members Jacqueline Hamilton and Lily O’Brien). Councilmembers Curren Price and Marqueese Harris-Dawson introduced a motion requesting $30 million for the project, and once again SLATE-Z and Move LA mobilized support. In January 2022 Metro staff proposed a “Life of Project” budget to the Board, and it was approved to move forward.
The Rails to Rails project is expected to open in 2024 and it is hoped that SLATE-Z will win additional resources from the state's Transformative Climate Communities Program—an application was just submitted that could win up to $35 million with $25 million in matching funds to spend on free monthly transit passes for all low-income, K-12 students, and seniors/people with disabilities for five years, electric vehicle car-sharing and e-bike library, 6,000 trees, solar panels, cool roofs, cool pavement, two acres of school greening, four miles of neighborhood bike network improvements and first/last mile improvements, workforce development, and more!
This is the type of in-depth collaborative work that Move LA does with partners like SLATE-Z, LA Walks, LA County Bicycle Coalition, FASTLink DTLA, Metro staff, and elected officials to use Measure R and M funds and build projects that communities need for daily commutes and trips to school, grocery stores, etc. And even though it took several years, the victory of breaking ground on this project was ever-so-sweet!
Move LA Founder and Executive Director Denny Zane makes decision to “move over” and promote from within; recommends appointment of Eli Lipmen, a long-time Move LA board and staff member.
Los Angeles—The Move LA Leadership Board has approved the recommendation of Denny Zane to appoint Eli Lipmen as the new Executive Director of Move LA. Denny, who has served as the executive director since Move LA’s founding in 2007, will “move over” and continue as the organization’s Program and Policy Director, effective July 1, 2022.
Eli Lipmen previously served as a Leadership Board member for Move LA for six years, working on the successful Measure M campaign in 2016. He joined the Move LA staff in August 2017 to work on Measure H, and has since served as Move LA’s Program and Development Director, as the organization’s representative on the statewide ClimatePlan Advisory Board, and as co-chair of the South Los Angeles Transit Empowerment Zone (SLATE-Z) Transit Work Group. Currently he also serves in a voluntary role as President of the Los Angeles City Commission, overseeing 99 Neighborhood Councils.
“We are excited to see Denny Zane’s vision for a more equitable, sustainable, affordable, and transit-oriented Los Angeles County will continue with the appoint of Eli Lipmen as executive director,” said Daniel Tabor, president of the Move LA Leadership Board, now a professor and formerly mayor of Inglewood. “We who live in Los Angeles County are in a better place because of Denny Zane and Move LA. This transition in leadership demonstrates the value of planning and the continuity of the commitment to our values and mission as a leadership board. We are promoting an effective policy leader with Eli, and retain a visionary leader with Denny.”
Gloria Ohland and Marisa Garcia continue to serve Move LA’s core team, which has decades of experience in advocacy for public transportation, affordable housing, transit-oriented communities, and climate change.
Former Board President Marlene Grossman said, “Denny has served as a mentor to Eli since I invited him to join the Move LA Board in 2010. We are proud of what Eli has accomplished since joining the team. He is truly ready to take on this leadership role."
The TransitCenter recently presented Eli with their "Think Globally, Act Locally" award for his work on the National Campaign for Transit Justice, organizing advocates across the state to meet with legislators to request funding for public transit in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
“We are grateful for Denny’s steadfast and transformative leadership creating Measures R, M, and H in LA County,” said Victor Griego, Move LA vice president and founder of WELL (Water Education for Latino Leaders). “All told, Move LA’s coalition-building and advocacy work will result in hundreds of billions in public investments in California’s transportation and social infrastructure, including an expanded and modernized public transit system, progressive climate policies, affordable housing, and services for people who are.”
Mr. Zane, a former mayor in the City of Santa Monica and past executive director of the Coalition for Clean Air, created Move LA in 2007 to bring together business, labor and environmental leaders and organizations with the goal of raising significant new funding for LA County’s transit system. Since initiating and convening the coalition that led to the passage of Measure R in 2008, Denny and Move LA have developed several other local ballot measures including Measure M (2016) and Measure H (2017).
On this year’s ballot, under Denny’s leadership, Move LA initiated the dialogue and convened the coalition that led to the development of the United to House LA Initiative to develop affordable housing and homelessness prevention in the City of LA. He also initiated the statewide Clean Car and Clean Air Act to ensure that California continues to provide essential leadership in seeking solutions to climate change. Both of these measures are now certified for the November 2022 ballot.
Move LA has also championed student transit pass programs for more than a decade and won a competitive grant to pilot an “any line, any time” transit card for high school students in the LA Unified School District, which led to the creation of the Metro’s countywide “GoPass.” Nearly 1.3 million K-12 and community college students in LA County are now eligible to travel on public transit for free.
“We are all looking forward to working with Eli and Denny and to continue Move LA’s important work on public transportation, affordable housing, homelessness, climate change and clean air,” said Joan Ling, Move LA Board treasurer. “This has been a seamless transition and the Board is looking forward to accelerating our important work with Eli Lipmen as our new executive director.”
Eli has worked with nonprofits large and small to improve donor engagement and outreach efforts, including the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, the American Jewish Committee, and Homeless Health Care Los Angeles. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communications, the London School of Economics, and the Coro Lead SoCal Executive Leadership Training Program. He lives in the City of Los Angeles with his family of five, who regularly walk, bike and ride Metro around LA.
Move LA is a coalition-building nonprofit organization that led the effort to pass transformative mobility solutions through Measures R (2008) and M (2016) in LA County that fund public transit operations, capital projects, and maintenance. We build broad-based coalitions involving diverse stakeholders seeking bold solutions to the biggest challenges facing the region—mobility, affordable housing and homelessness, air quality and climate change. Move LA’s Advisory Board includes leaders from the labor, environmental, business, and nonprofit communities working collaboratively to find practical solutions and funding to create a more accessible, equitable, and sustainable region.
Great news! Asm. Chris Holden's AB 1919 to make transit free for all California students passed through the Senate Transportation Committee this week with a 17-0 vote! Before that, it got off the Assembly floor 74-0 (and out of Assembly Appropriations 12-1 and Assembly Transportation 14-0 before that). However. . .
...the bill is on its way to the Senate Appropriations Committee on August 1, where the going gets tough. We need your help to set up meetings, calling, and emailing with members of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Having so many organizations, transit agencies and the California Transit Association support the bill has been very important, but we now need to mobilize!
We did try unsuccessfully to pass a bill like this several times before—going back as far as 2015. However, COVID, concerns about climate change and air pollution, the escalating problem of traffic and traffic accidents, and all the money that Congress provided in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill have changed the landscape. The legislature seems more interested in encouraging transit over cars.
You can start contacting your senator and assemblymember using our very-easy-to-use "Take Action" feature here so they know that their constituents want to make transit free for all students in California!
If you want to help set up meetings with key Senators, please email Eli Lipmen at [email protected] directly.
The Clean Cars and Clean Air Act has qualified for the November ballot and would generate $4 billion to $4.5 billion annually, providing California with a stable funding source to increase the number of zero-emission vehicles on the road— both battery electric and hydrogen fuel-cell-powered light-duty cars, heavy-duty trucks, ships, trains and aircraft—and to help prevent and suppress wildfires.
If this measure is passed by voters it would raise the funding needed by increasing taxes by 1.75 percent on individuals and couples making more than $2 million per year. Add your name to get involved with passing this ballot initiative.
This measure becomes even more important with the U.S. Supreme Court's 6-3 decision today to side with West Virginia and other big coal-producing states to limit U.S. EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gases emissions from power plants. This suggests that state-level action to fight climate change and investment strategies such as those in the Clean Cars and Clean Air Act measure will become even more important in the future.
The need for a source of funding to address the climate and clean air challenge is obvious (as the image above makes "clear"), and you may remember this was a topic Move LA and SPUR began discussing at length on Zooms beginning in 2020. We had these online discussions with colleagues and partners including environmental and environmental justice advocates, the California Air Resources Board, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, other government agencies, labor, experts from across the U.S., and .orgs. (You can listen to all nine Zooms here.)
These lengthy discussions helped lead to this ballot measure, which was certified for the November ballot this week.
As Mary Creasman from California Environmental Voters wrote in Cal Matters earlier this year, "Californians are on the front line of the devastating impacts of the climate crisis. Catastrophic wildfires, drought and extreme weather are costing us previous lives, destroying property, damaging the state's natural beauty, inflicting losses on our economy, imperiling our future and—in a vicious cycle—spewing even more pollution into the air."
California Environmental Voters along with SPUR, Lyft, and the State Association of Electrical Workers have joined dozens of other environmental, labor and business groups—and Move LA—in supporting this measure to reduce emissions from ozone and particulate pollution from the transportation sector and wildfires.
"Air pollution drives climate change; climate change drives wildfires; wildfires create more air pollution," Creasman wrote. "We must act now to address the root causes of this undermining the progress the state has made in fighting air pollution."
All Californians are affected but low-income communities of color are bearing the brunt of air pollution since they live near freeways, industries and the ports. High levels of these pollutants are linked to respiratory illness, heart disease and mortality.
If this measure is approved 45 percent of funding would go to CARB to create incentives such as rebates for zero-emission vehicles; 35 percent would go to the California Energy Commission to install more electric vehicle chargers at homes, apartments and public places and to build out clean hydrogen fueling infrastructure.
The remaining 20 percent would go to Cal Fire and the State Fire Marshal's Office to prevent wildfires and hire more firefighters, buy more firefighting equipment and to expand controlled burns, forest-thinning projects and otherwise reduce wildfire risk.
Half the funding would be spent on investments and programs that primarily benefit low-income and disadvantaged communities.
"We've seen 50 years of California policies reducing air pollution," Will Barrett, national senior director for clean air policy at the American Lung Association, which supports the measure, told the Mercury News. "But that job is becoming more difficult because of climate change. A big driver of that unhealthy air has been wildfires increasing in severity in recent years. And we know we can't achieve our clean air standards without widespread transition to zero-emission vehicles."
We want to thank all of you who attended our Big Stuff celebration at the Boomtown Brewery in the Arts District on June 2 because you made it a very special, very fun party (the album is here where you can download the photos!). And we especially want to thank our sponsors, because we couldn't do the work that we do without their interest and support!
Thank You to Our Sponsors
Anonymous • Annenberg Foundation • Carson Foundation
Greenfield Foundation • Merck Family Fund • The Mobility Fund •
Los Angeles/Orange Counties Construction & Building Trades Council
BYD • Glen Dake | Rene Dake Wilson • SoCal Gas
IBEW Local 11/NECA • LADWP • L.A. Care Health Plan
Southern California Edison • United Way
Air Products • Alliance for a Just Society •
Carpenters/Contractor Cooperation Committee •
International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 12 • SCANPH
Skanska • Thomas Safran & Associates • Unite HERE Local 11
AARP • Bloom Energy • LAANE • Tranzito Vector
Eastern Columbia Properties • Fehr & Peers •
Los Angeles County Federation of Labor • Loren Bloch & Ping Ho
Gannett Fleming • Mass Electric Construction Company • Sieroty Company LLC Trifiletti Consulting • World Energy
Allan Marks & Mara Cohen • California High Speed Rail Authority •
Marlene & Marshall Grossman • Mike Schneider & Sharon Greene •
Tom & Debra Shrout
Hey, how about this? Join our "Let’s Do Big Stuff" webinar in the comfort of your own home TONIGHT, THURSDAY, JUNE 2—the show will start at around 6:20 p.m. There's more about who we'll be talking with below, but first here's how you can do it:
All you have to do is sit back with your phone or computer and just . . .
Click the link below to join the webinar:
Or One tap mobile : US: +12532158782,,87593823630#
Or Telephone: : +1 253 215 8782 or +1 346 248 7799 or +1 720 707 2699 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 558 8656
Webinar ID: 875 9382 3630
We'll be honoring:
- LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis, who also chairs the Metro Board;
- Ron Miller, (Retired) Executive Secretary at Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building & Construction Trades Council and Move LA Leadership Board/Executive Committee member;
- Joan Ling, Move LA Leadership Board/Executive Committee member and affordable housing expert;
- Chanell Fletcher, Deputy Executive Officer of Environmental Justice for the California Air Resources Board;
- Alan Greenlee, Executive Director of the Southern California Association of Nonprofit Housing (SCANPH).