CalBike, along with over 100 climate, mobility, and transportation justice nonprofits, signed a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom requesting greater oversight of Caltrans. The letter, spearheaded by NextGen California, made three specific requests:
- An external audit of the State Highway Operation and Protection Program (SHOPP) to ensure that funds aren’t being illegally used to widen roads.
- A third-party investigation of allegations by former Caltrans Deputy Director Jeanie Ward-Waller. Specifically, Ward-Waller said Caltrans District 3 is widening a freeway in what was supposed to be a repaving project. The letter requests an investigation of all Caltrans districts to ensure none are using funds for unauthorized road expansion.
- A moratorium on all road and interchange expansions until the investigations are completed.
Scroll down to read the full letter and add your name.
Transportation is a critical element of climate mitigation
The transportation sector is the biggest contributor to California’s greenhouse gas emissions, so reducing vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and investing in low- and no-carbon transportation are essential. In 2021, California adopted the Climate Action Plan for Transportation Infrastructure (CAPTI). CAPTI calls for “investing billions of discretionary transportation dollars annually to aggressively combat and adapt to climate change while supporting public health, safety and equity.”
Yet Caltrans continues to build and widen freeways guaranteed to induce greater VMT. As Ward-Waller’s firing showed, the agency includes staffers, and perhaps whole districts, determined to stick to the old mission of moving high volumes of motor vehicles, with little regard for the safety of people not in cars or the environment.
This year, CalBike urged legislators to allocate half of California’s state transportation budget, about $10 billion, on active transportation: biking, walking, and public transit. Those uses require less asphalt, have much smaller carbon footprints, and promote the health and vibrancy of whole neighborhoods.
In 2024, we will continue our Invest/Divest campaign to invest in clean, green mobility options and divest from climate-killing and inequitable freeways. As the past few years of extreme weather have made extremely clear, California can’t afford old ways of thinking about transportation. We need radical transformation of our transportation systems, and we need to make it happen quickly.
At CalBike, we believe a future filled with safe and convenient low- and no-carbon transportation is possible. We will never stop working for it.
You can support this effort by adding your name to the letter in the form below.