The Newspaper of the San Francisco Bay Chapter
January - February 2008
Using regional funds to stop global warming
Regional Transportation Plan will dispense $100 billion
Half of the Bay Area's greenhouse-gas emissions come from transportation. With over $100 billion to spend on transportation in the next 25 years, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) could make a big dent in these emissions if it spends these funds strategically.
That's why the Transportation and Land Use Coalition (TALC), a partnership of 110 organizations including the Sierra Club Bay Chapter, is focusing on MTC's Regional Transportation Plan. The 2009 RTP, also called "Transportation 2035", is MTC's investment blueprint for the next 25 years. Over the next year the MTC will be developing this plan with input from cities, counties, and the public.
Three factors contribute to our vehicle emissions: the carbon content of the fuel we burn to run our cars and trucks, how efficiently our vehicles burn this fuel, and how many miles we drive. California has adopted regulations that will improve fuel composition and vehicle efficiency.
But driving has grown at nearly three times the rate of California's population for the past four decades. With current patterns of growth, vehicle miles driven in California are expected to increase by an astonishing 70% over the next 25 years, entirely offsetting the gains made by efficient vehicles and lower carbon fuels.
To effectively reduce our transportation emissions we have to make it possible for people to make more of their trips without using a car. That's where the RTP could make a big difference in our contribution to climate change.
Many of the strategies that reduce global-warming pollution from transportation will also make the Bay Area healthier and more livable. When we can safely walk or bike to school, errands, and work, we aren't just reducing our greenhouse-gas emissions. We're also making our neighborhoods more vibrant, cleaning our air, and encouraging physical fitness. We can take the pressure off our open spaces by concentrating development where it makes the most sense - in existing communities well served by transit.
TALC has developed a platform of recommendations to:
MTC seems to be more receptive to new investment strategies than ever, but the test will come over the next few months as MTC and the nine counties identify projects and programs to fund in the plan. Will the expenditures reflect the vision of a better Bay Area?
Some county congestion-management agencies are pushing back against MTC's new greenhouse-gas reduction goals, claiming that reducing greenhouse gases from transportation isn't the job of transportation planners. Other stakeholders will fight to maintain the status quo that responds to traffic congestion with highway expansion, and to keep building subdivisions on open space a two-hour drive from jobs.
We are calling on Bay Area residents to help our RTP achieve the goals of less congestion, better air, less carbon dioxide, and more-affordable transportation options.
Contact your MTC commissioner and ask them to support TALC's platform for the Regional Transportation Plan. Commissioners representing Bay Chapter counties are:
Scott Haggerty, vice chair, representing Alameda County
Tom Bates, representing cities of Alameda County
Federal D. Glover, representing Contra Costa County
Amy Worth, representing cities of Contra Costa
Steve Kinsey, representing Marin County
Tom Ammiano, representing San Francisco
Jon Rubin, San Francisco mayor's appointee
To learn more about the RTP process and how you can get involved (including sample letters, talking points, and dates of key meetings), and to read TALC's full platform, visit www.transcoalition.org
© 2008 San Francisco Sierra Club Yodeler
|EXPLORE, ENJOY AND PROTECT THE PLANET|