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Nearly $22M Awarded to 86 Projects Under Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund

The Low Carbon Transit Operations Program is one of the strategies the state is employing to meet its ambitious goals to address climate change.

Thu August 06, 2015 - West Edition
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Caltrans recently announced that 86 more local projects that improve public transportation and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions were issued funding from the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program. This program is one of the strategies the state is employing to meet its ambitious goals to address climate change, and specifically prioritizes projects that will serve disadvantaged communities. California Climate Investments, such as this, are programs funded by the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund using proceeds from the state’s cap-and-trade auctions.

“These projects are going to start showing very real benefits to local communities and California as a whole,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. “Not only are they supporting the department’s goal to support alternate transit choices for Californians, but the projects also fit within California’s efforts to combat climate change.”

Local projects that will benefit from these funding disbursements include:

• Expanded Service for the 38-R Geary and 44-O’Shaughnessy Lines: $2,592,022 to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to expand transit service and make transit more convenient and comfortable for customers across San Francisco, including those living in nearby or adjacent disadvantaged communities

• Bus Bicycle Racks: $214,964 to the City of Los Angeles to fund the purchase of bike racks for buses, thus encouraging more riders to consider using both transit and bicycling as alternate transportation options.

• Perris Valley Line Feeder Bus Service — Operating Assistance: $460,410 to the Riverside Transit Agency to implement feeder bus service for seamless transfers between bus and commuter rail and the Metrolink service in the cities of Perris, Moreno Valley and Riverside.

• FAX System Capacity Increasing Tripper Service: $249,311 to the City of Fresno Department of Transportation to help Fresno Area Express (FAX) expand bus service via tripper services to relieve overcrowding on key routes during peak service periods.

• LACMTA New Light Rail Transit Operations: $5,897,391 to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to operate the extension of the light rail to six new stations in order to extend light rail transit service and increase transit opportunities to the San Gabriel Valley.

• El Cajon Transit Center Renovation: $630,000 to the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System to design and replace three station shelters, including benches and trash receptacles, on the bus and trolley platforms at the El Cajon transit center.

Seventy-one of the 95 total projects are targeted specifically to benefit disadvantaged communities. Combined, the 95 projects represent nearly $24 million in total allocations.

“These projects provide more alternative transit choices statewide and are further proof that the Golden State is putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to building a sustainable, low carbon economy that will provide benefits for all Californians,” said California Air Resources Board Chairman Mary D. Nichols.

These 95 projects are part of multiple local efforts throughout the state that were awarded funding from the 2014-15 allocations for the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program. The program was created to provide operating and capital assistance for transit agencies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve mobility, with a priority on serving disadvantaged communities. Approved projects will support new or expanded bus or rail services, or expanded intermodal transit facilities. They may also include equipment acquisition, fueling, and maintenance and other costs to operate those services or facilities, with each project reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The Low Carbon Transit Operations Program is one of several state programs which will be funded by allowance auction proceeds from the California Air Resources Board’s Cap-and-Trade Program into the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. Funding from this program will go toward direct investments in transit programs that reduce GHG emissions and benefit disadvantaged communities throughout California. In subsequent years, the program will have a continuous appropriation of 5 percent of total Cap-and-Trade funding.

The announcement comes on the heels of additional awards made by the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) and the Strategic Growth Council for additional Cap-and-Trade Program funded grants. CalSTA announced recipients of $224 million in competitive grants that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by expanding public transportation ridership and capacity. The Strategic Growth Council also voted to approve $122 million in grants and loans for affordable, transit-friendly housing that encourages active transportation and transit usage.

The 2014-15 State Budget provided $832 million to the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund from Cap-and-Trade auction proceeds to support existing and pilot programs that will reduce GHG emissions and benefit disadvantaged communities. This expenditure plan will reduce emissions through several programs, including ones modernizing the state’s rail system (including both high-speed rail and public transit), encouraging sustainable community development with an emphasis on public transportation and affordable housing, restoring forests in both urban and rural settings, increasing energy, water, and agricultural efficiency and creating incentives for additional recycling.

Low carbon transportation options are critical for California to achieve its long-term climate goal of an 80 percent reduction in GHG emissions below 1990 levels by 2050. Caltrans is cutting greenhouse gas emissions by reducing traffic congestion, expanding active transportation and embracing new technology in construction materials, alternative fuels, efficient lighting and renewable energy.

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