Creating Sustainable Communities for All: Our Lobby Trips to Sacramento

Denny Zane and Eli Lipmen on the California State Senate FloorMove LA staff has been hard at work lobbying for dollars to create sustainable communities for all through affordable housing, active transit, rail investment and more! And thanks to the kind invitation of Senator Ben Allen, a long-time friend of Move LA and public transportation, Denny Zane and Eli Lipmen were invited to visit the Senate Floor during a Floor Session - what a special treat!

We've have flown up to Sacramento twice over the past couple of weeks to join organizations from across California advocating for funding from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. This money comes from California's cap-and-trade program, which was recently reauthorized, that provides tradable credits to polluters who can then trade and purchase them in a marketplace. The proceeds from the auction go towards critical funding programs to reach California's ambitious climate change goals, and the annual appropriations amount for 2017-2018 is over $1.4 billion (in addition to the continuously appropriated funds for such things as transit capital, transit operations, affordable housing, and high-speed rail).

The "Sustainable Communities for All" Coalition, which Move LA helped to create several years ago, is an equity-focused coalition supporting GGRF appropriations that assist in reaching the state's SB 32 greenhouse gas reduction goals through the creation of vibrant and inclusive communities, consistent with AB 1550, SB 535, and AB 398. The priority programs reduce greenhouse gasses, deliver economic benefits to resource-poor households, create and sustain jobs to boost our economy and promote public health and environmental justice.

Members of the Sustainable Communities For All Coalition received a special welcome on the Assembly Floor!

While in Sacramento we lobbied members and their staff from both the California State Senate and Assembly to support appropriations for the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program, which funds transit-oriented affordable housing programs, and the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program and Low Carbon Transit Operations program, which supports local and regional rail and transit capital and operations. We spoke about these important items at the Senate Budget Subcommittee 2 on the Resources, Environmental Protection, Energy, and Transportation. The Coalition also lobbied for urban forestry and greening, low-income weatherization, and active transportation programs to expand biking and walking options.

One of Move LA's priority programs is the AB 17 (Holden) student transit pass program. This excellent proposal, currently being considered in the California Senate, would provide discounted transit passes to low-income students to increase mode-shift and transit ridership among the next generation of potential life-long riders. Along with the nonprofits Transform and Public Advocates, Move LA is one of the top supporters of this critical legislation. In fact, we are encouraging supporters to sign our petition which we will deliver to legislators and the Governor!

We are hoping that between money allocated through the normal budget process, along with $50 million in GGRF funds, we can establish a robust program for students across the State that will help reduce costs for low-income people, increase life-long ridership, and reduce our overall greenhouse gas emissions, pollution, and congestion by getting people out of their cars!

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