Brown’s transportation budget celebrates the car

By Daniel Weintraub :  californiahealthreport – excerpt

Weeks after returning from the Paris summit on climate change where he was hailed as a leader in the movement to limit greenhouse gases, Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed a new transportation budget that celebrates the car.

In 2016-17, Brown wants to spend $16 billion on transportation, and most of that would go toward making it easier for people to drive. The Democratic governor wants to build new roads and highways and repave old ones, and use more technology to speed traffic.

As opposed to what the SFMTA is doing. Are they at odds with the state?

Brown does dedicate some new money to transit and rail improvements, including the high-speed rail project that he sees as part of his legacy.

But he proposes almost nothing to promote “active transportation” – human-powered movement through neighborhoods and cities on bikes and on foot that is not only better for the environment, but also for our health.

Despite an increase of $3 billion for transportation overall, his budget would offer the same $120 million these programs received in 2015-16 to pay for changes that make streets safer and offer alternative routes to help walkers and cyclists get off the roads.

Brown’s budget would do little to reduce a backlog of more than $800 million in local projects seeking a share of these limited funds.

His biggest insult to active transportation is his proposal to use $100 million in cap-and-trade fees collected from industrial polluters to finance an initiative he calls “low-carbon roads.”  That proposal might even be illegal… (more)

Is it April Fools Day or is this the Onion? Can this be true that the governor has figured out cars are not the enemy, that the car industry is producing cleaner more efficient engines that use less gas and are swapping out for electric cars as fast as they can get their hands on them?

Could it also have anything to do with the realization that around 30% of the funds for public transportation comes from private transportation drivers. You don’t want to kill that goose if you want to keep those buses, trains and rails moving.

He must know better than to fight the latest trend in Silicon Valley as they turn to cars and the drones now that everyone has a computer and smart device. You don’t want to fight Apple and Google over their future plans to build robot cars. Those cars will require smart roads no doubt.

Regardless, we applaud the governor and state representatives for changing their focus and finally (we hope) supporting the goose that lays the eggs that feed the ferocious transportation appetite. Most of the air pollution is coming out of the ground (in SoCal) and is produced by the buildings, not the cars.

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