California's 'Climate Action Plan for Transportation Infrastructure'

The newly released Climate Action Plan for Transportation Infrastructure shifts the state's transportation priorities to focus on clean energy and livability.

March 22, 2021, 12:00 PM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Antioch, California

Rich Lonardo / Shutterstock

The California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) has released the Climate Action Plan for Transportation Infrastructure (CAPTI), a proposal aimed at guiding "California transportation investments towards sustainable, clean transportation options," reports Melanie Curry in Streetsblog California. The plan, developed in response to executive orders by California Governor Newsom that called for new strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, identifies "near term actions, and investment strategies, to improve clean transportation, sustainable freight, and transit options" while also maintaining a focus on fixing aging infrastructure.

Although CAPTI doesn't "doesn’t change any of the existing transportation funding programs or structures," it provides "guiding principles for funding decisions" that seek to shift emphasis to more sustainable modes. The plan recommends "investments should take climate risk into account, help reduce fatalities, promote projects that do not increase vehicle travel, support infill development, and protect natural and working lands."

Despite its narrow scope (CAPTI's guidelines only apply to "discretionary" funding), Curry writes that CAPTI is a major step toward reimagining how California prioritizes transportation projects. "Until now, the state has made decisions about how to invest its considerable transportation dollars wholly based on a vague policy framework that encourages spending on big, new capital projects," but the new plan creates a stronger mandate for considering the health, livability, and housing impacts of transportation policy.

Friday, March 12, 2021 in Streetsblog California

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