Yesterday, the Governor and the legislative leadership announced a package of over $50 billion of new funding to repair and improve California’s transportation infrastructure. Unfortunately, a last-minute deal struck with the freight industry threatens not only to derail the tenuous support of many sustainable transportation, social justice, and environmental advocates but also to grant trucking companies free license to continue polluting our communities indefinitely. Even worse, the package is being fast tracked and is headed for a vote in the Legislature next week!
While our coalition has been able to greatly influence the transportation funding package for the better–including an unprecedented state investment in transit (both operations and transit capital!); nearly doubling state funding for walking, biking, and Safe Routes to School projects; preserving environmental regulations; and focusing funds for fix-it first projects and limiting investments in highway expansion projects–these progressive investments are paired with a provision that binds the hands of the Air Resources Board (ARB) and prevents ARB from effectively regulating dirty diesel.
This issue not only has no place in this funding package but will also exacerbate the poor air quality our most low-income residents living next to trucking routes and ports experience in their daily lives. The health and safety of our most vulnerable Californians is not a cost we’re willing to pay to fund fixing our roads and transit systems.
We are calling on the Governor and our legislative leadership to reverse this irresponsible decision and to live up to our shared values for a healthy, sustainable, and equitable California.