The California State Legislature passed a bill authored by Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield (D-San Fernando Valley) to craft the first statewide public transit development and financing plan. “It’s time to think big on transit,” said Blumenfield. “Bumper to bumper traffic should not be an inevitable part of our daily routines, especially in Los Angeles where we are always one highway closure away from Carmageddon. By signing this bill, the governor can end patchwork planning and make transit a more viable alternative for Californians on the go.”
Assembly Bill (AB) 650 establishes a blue ribbon task force of experts to develop a public transportation development plan for California based on an assessment of what transit we have, what amount of transit we need, and how we can finance transit construction. Comprised of 12 experts in finance, transit, the environment and public health, the task force must complete the plan by September 30, 2012. This work will be funded through existing moneys devoted to transit planning that are provided through California’s gas tax.
“This is a tried and true way to find solutions to complex and enduring problems,” added Blumenfield. “It will help us ensure that transit options keep pace with the growing demand for it.” In recent years, task forces have helped California enact comprehensive fisheries protections off our coast and achieve breakthrough reforms for managing the Delta – the source of water for the state water project and most of Southern California’s water supply. Southern California region is the most congested metropolitan area in the country.
Over the past twenty years, traffic delays have nearly tripled. Current traffic delay statistics for the region include:
- 3.9 million vehicle-hours of daily delay
- 5.7 million person-hours of daily delay
- 63 hours of delay per year per person commuting at peak hours. Every $1 billion invested in transportation infrastructure creates 47,500 jobs.
Every $1 invested in transit generates $6 dollars in local economic activity. For each person taking transit instead of driving, 4,800 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions will be prevented per year. By 2025, an estimated 1 in 5 Californians will be over 65 and 20% percent of this demographic does not drive. AB 650 now goes to the governor who will have until October 9th to act on the bill. Further information is available at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov.