February 12, 2018




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After a long sabbatical, CALCOG News (CCN) returns. We have a fresh look and new contributors, but our core objective remains: to bring you the same meaningful coverage of issues related to regional governance (and our 46 member agencies) that will once again make you more interesting at cocktail parties.  As Michael Jordan said (more-less) as he returned from his own "sabbatical" in the minor leagues: it's good to be back! Now on to the news.  


Regional Leadership Forum: Join Us


March 15 & 16 at the new Monterey Convention Center

For those that have struggled to explain a complex policy issue so others could easily understand, this conference is for you. Our theme: "Takin' it to the Streets!" is all about implementing SB1. A special focus on story telling will prepare you for the coming political discussions related to the role that roads, bridges and buses play in our lives. Our keynote, Mathew Luhn (former Pixar contributor; credits include Toy Story, Finding Nemo, & Monsters Inc.) will share ideas that will help us draw emotional connections (goosebumps) in the stories we tell about transportation infrastructure (cement). It's our most timely conference ever. Join us.  



Transportation Funding Update


  • A Proposition for You (to Endorse). ACA 5 is now Proposition 69. This measure protects the SB1 revenues not already protected by Article XIX of the state constitution. CALCOG is a member of the coalition supporting Proposition 69. CSAC shared a resolution template for counties to Proposition 69 and oppose the repeal--and CSAC's SB1 information tool kit is state of the art.      

  •  STIP-ping Point. The draft State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) demonstrates the difference SB1 is making. In 2016, $1.5 billion in projects were delayed or deleted from the STIP--despite a robust economy. But the first "post SB1" fund estimate adds back $2.2 billion (for a total $3.3 billion) for new road, bridge, and transit projects over the next four years. That is a game changer! The final STIP will be released later this month. See CTC resource page

  • That PPIC Poll.  Past polling tells us that voters oppose the repeal of SB1 when it’s made clear that actual road safety projects will be eliminated as a result. So we don’t put too much emphasis on the question in last week's PPIC poll showing that voters are split on whether they support or oppose the repeal (48% to 47%). This split reflects that respondents were asked “cold turkey" whether they favored or opposed a repeal of the new gas tax.  But digging deeper, a different question shows how likely voters respond when given the context of the actual projects. Then, strong majorities (70% adults, 65% likely voters) favor the Governor’s proposal to spend the gas tax and vehicle fees to repair roads, highways, and bridges; improve commute corridors; and improve local rail and public transit systems. 


From 1 to ZEB in 20 Years


We are monitoring ARB's Zero Emission Bus (ZEB) mandate, which would require all bus purchases to be electric by 2029 (and all operating by 2040). Currently, about 1% of the fleet are ZEBs. A few agencies (like LA Metro) have committed to ZEBs, but on different timelines.

Fiscal questions abound. A typical ZEB costs at least 20% more--a difficult ask when typical fare box returns average 35 cents on the dollar statewide. Operationally: How to recharge? How to pay for infrastructure? Where to recharge? What to do on long or hilly routes? To get a lay of the land, see ARB's discussion paper, Senator Beall's stated concerns, OCTA's letter of concerns, MTC's Letter, and CTA's comprehensive treatise.  ARB is scheduled to consider the ZEB regulation in June. 


JUST IN: White House Infrastructure Plan


The Trump Administration just released its 55 page proposed federal infrastructure package this morning. The plan commits $200 billion in federal dollars that is anticipated to leverage another $1.3 trillion in other public and private resources.  We are still reviewing it, but note that $100 billion (half) of the federal investment would be distributed competitively under criteria that substantially favors states that have recently raised "new, non-Federal revenue to create sustainable, long-term funding for infrastructure investments" (and operations)--like California has done under SB1 (see page 4).  Hmmmm. 


Transit-ioning Ridership Trends


  • Owning the Problem.  A new report on Falling Transit Ridership from SCAG and the UCLA ITS finds a dramatic increase in auto ownership among low income residents (who use transit the most) has caused  a regional decrease in transit use. Also examined was service quality, fuel prices, neighborhood change, and the rise of ride-hailing services, but the region’s higher number of cars was the root of the problem.

  • Ride-Share Frenemies. Meanwhile, a UC Davis Institute of Transportation study notes the good and the bad of the transit-rideshare relationship. (See article; actual study). Services can expand mobility by closing the last mile (or three) to the transit station. But in Chicago, ride share services are cutting into transit use by as much as 6 percent (and increasing VMT). 

  • Where's This Going? ARB Board Member, UC Davis Professor, author, and all-round expert Dan Sperling writes that efforts to regulate ride share companies (like Chicago's $1 fee per ride) may address "stolen" transit revenues, but should be designed in a way to encourage the services' carpooling options. Meanwhile, SacRT is experimenting with a six month "micro transit" pilot program, which will send a shuttle or bus straight to your door (like Lyft) but works to pool riders and offer services for less money.


By the Numbers : Housing


  • Statewide median home value: $507,700
  • Ratio of residents considering moving due to housing costs: 1 in 3
  • HCD estimate of new homes California needs to build each year: 180,000
  • Years since 180,000 homes were built in a year: 27
  • Years in which California has not had a redevelopment law: 6
  • Years since California passed a housing bond: 11
  • Amount of total funds in proposed housing bond: $4 Billion
  • Annual funds from new real estate transaction fee: $250 million
  • New housing units needed by 2035: 3.5 million
  • One study's estimate of units that can be built near transit: 3 million
  • California households that cannot afford the cost of housing: 50%
  • State homeowner and residential vacancy rates: 1.3% & 3.3%
  • Californians who were homeless on any given night last month: 118,000
  • State's estimated loss in federal funds under new tax act: $500 million
  • Affordable units that won’t be built due to lost federal revenue: 4,000

Sources: LA Times, Get ready for a lot more housing near the Expo Line and other California transit stations if new legislation passes; San Jose Mercury News, Affordable housing in California takes hit under GOP tax plan; PPIC, California’s Future: Housing; McKinsey Global Institute, Closing California’s Housing Gap; HCD Housing Package Website


When is An APS Like an SCS?


Our latest blog examines whether having an accepted Alternative Planning Strategy (APS) should be a limiting factor in funding programs. On this point, SB 375's CEQA streamlining provisions provide guidance. A project that is consistent with either with a Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) or APS may use the CEQA process because both are a pathway to the state's overall climate goal. We conclude that same approach should be used for funding eligibility.  


Quick Hits


  • Love in The Metro. LA Metro Arts is turning up the heat to celebrate Valentine’s Day all week. For example, last night (Sunday) you could have enjoyed scenes from the Bard’s Romeo and Juliet along the Red Line.  But its not too late. If you are looking for that special ticket to do with your valentine on the 14th, try dancing and music at the historic (and romantic?) Union Station Ticketing Hall.  

  • Get A Round,Round, (We) Get a Round.  Sacramento Bee reports that as roundabouts are becoming more glam, Caltrans (with FHWA’s blessing) is constructing more.

  • Shared Mobility Policy Briefings. The folks at UC Berkeley's Innovative Mobility Research have a nice set of short policy briefs (3 pages) backed by full reports posted on this site. Great conversation starter for those awkward silences with your Lyft driver. And CONGRATS to UC Berkeley's Susan Shaheen (we are big fans) for her well deserved TRB award.

  • The Future of Mobility. How will demographics, 3-D printing, health issues, blockchain, drones, and the hyper-loop change the transportation system of the future? This Caltrans study (with UC Berkeley's Transportation Sustainability Research Center) takes a crack at the answers. The results will inform scenario work under the California Transportation Plan.  
  • SB 743 Rule Making Begins. OPR staff has posted the notice of proposed rule making and related documents and resources. Public hearings in Los Angeles (March 14) and Sacramento (March 15) (see details). Comments are due by March 15. Good times.

  • Going Out on a Positive Note: SB 1 Funds @ Work. Citrus Height’s Complete Streets Plan just got a $190,000 boost from SB 1 funding. Look for these improvements on Auburn Boulevard


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