Long-term clean infrastructure investment - smart growth & jobs, to meet California’s landmark climate goals

LOS ANGELES – Presenting a long-term investment strategy that would further California’s pursuit of its landmark greenhouse gas reduction goals, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti joined California Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and State Senator Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) at a downtown press conference in Los Angeles this morning, Friday, June 6, 2014.  

“This is smart legislation that would spend Cap and Trade funding where it naturally should be spent – on reducing pollution and improving the health of our neighborhoods and our city,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Cities are where we work, where we live, but they’re also where we pollute, so addressing the needs of cities like Los Angeles is critical in tackling climate change.”

Focusing on transit solutions, Senator De León remarked, “Action is long overdue, but California is preparing to lead the nation in fighting climate change, and where better to start than right here in Los Angeles.” 

The Senate Democrats investment strategy (available here) dedicates a permanent source of funding for mass transit, transit-oriented development, and offers a catalyst for job-creation as California’s economy continues its recovery.

“The single largest contributor of greenhouse gases in California is the transportation sector and Californians are logging more vehicle miles annually than ever before. We’re on track to break the 400 billion miles barrier by 2020,” Senator Steinberg said. “Building new mass transit options near homes and commerce will dramatically reduce emissions and implementing this long-term strategy would be a huge victory for our environment, our economy, and the people of Los Angeles.”

Arriving by electric bus to highlight the goal of deploying one million zero emission vehicles by 2020, the elected officials, LA Metro’s Diane DuBois, TransForm’s Ryan Wiggins, Environment California’s Michelle Kinman, Communities for a Better Environment’s Bahram Fazelli, and labor leaders offered a plan with both near and long-term greenhouse gas emissions reduction strategies, with a commitment to focused and on-going funding.

Under AB 32 of 2006, California created the nation’s first benchmark for greenhouse gas emission reductions and from it, the Cap-and-Trade program that allows companies to sell unused emissions to the biggest polluters. Cap and Trade has helped put California on course to meet its Climate Goals for 2020 but there is no long-term strategy to reinvest the revenues that could total between three and five-billion dollars every year.

The press conference was held at LA Metro’s Division 13 Facility, a LEED Gold goal project currently under construction and designed to accommodate a fleet of 200 clean energy buses. The facility is one example of a project that could be eligible for a significant infusion of state funds to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the Senate Democratic proposal to direct Cap and Trade auction revenues over the long term.