Move LA has always worked with a wide range of civic leaders and organizations to “dream big” and identify strategies that address fundamental community challenges. Our motto has long been "Fortune favors the bold."
But last week when we shared our plan to make it possible for voters to vote to end climate change we got some feedback we would like to respond to here.
In one response, we were told that our Vision 2022 plan was “crazy overreach” and that we'd better "rethink our priorities." (If you didn't read our e-blast on May 7, you can read it on the blog post below.)
Maybe this respondent didn't know about our victories, with the help of voters, over the last 12 years. So Move LA Executive Director Denny Zane replied:
That is exactly what we heard in 2006 when we put on the table the proposal for what became Measure R in LA County in 2008 and Measure M in 2016. Voters said YES to both—to Measure M by more than 70%. Before COVID these measures together were projected to provide $120 billion in funding for transportation over 40 years to enhance and modernize LA County transit systems.
That is what we heard again when we proposed to LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas that that the county ask for voter approval of a sales tax in a 2017 special election to provide $350 million a year for housing and services for people who are homeless. Supervisor Ridley-Thomas led the way and voters said YES again to Measure H by 67.4%. Imagine the county dealing with the homeless during COVID without that funding!
I guess we have learned not to underestimate our voters, or ourselves. The U.N.’s International Panel on Climate Change wrote in a 2018 report that we had a little more than a decade to start to reverse climate change. So a sense of urgency joined with greater confidence in voters—than perhaps you may have—makes a regional or statewide measure seem both necessary and winnable.
I believe that a half-cent sales tax in the pre-COVID economy would have generated over $130 billion at an average per voter cost of less than a dime a day. With that revenue we could fully implement the California Air Resources Board’s AB 32 Scoping Plan to reduce GHG emissions and fight climate change as well as most of the adopted plans of the regional commuter rail agencies.
Are we ambitious? Yes. Are we crazy? No.
Our Vision 2022 mission statement is below or you can read a more complete version on our website HERE. We think the key question about moving forward is whether this should be a regional ballot measure in SoCal or a statewide ballot measure.
Mission Critical #1: Dramatically reduce, or capture and use, Short-Lived Climate Pollutants, a.k.a. “Super Pollutants” such as biomethane, black carbon, and ozone from landfills, wastewater treatment facilities, dairies, livestock, from diesel uses, fireplaces and wildfires. These gases are the most powerful climate forcers and drive 40% of global warming. Fortunately, they decay in 12-15 years or less. Dramatically reducing these emissions is a strategy that can actually roll back global warming.
Mission Critical #2: Accelerate the rollout of zero-emission cars, SUVs, and pickups in the most significant transportation marketplace in the world – California! With the possible need to social distance, we don’t want people getting back into their pollution emitting vehicle or, even worse, purchasing a new or used pollution-causing vehicle.
Mission Critical #3: Accelerate the rollout of zero and near-zero emission trucks, trains, ships and planes in the most significant transportation marketplace in the world – California! Such vehicles are the largest source of smog in California.
Mission Critical #4: Transform our regional commuter rail transit systems into a zero-emission, high-velocity, regional express systems – in Southern California, perhaps in San Diego County, the Bay Area, even in the Central Valley. Even connect them up to create a statewide high-velocity system (do we dare call it high-speed rail?)