On June 26th, TransForm and our allies hosted our annual Transportation Equity Summit in Sacramento.
This year’s summit was an invitation-only event, and it provided a unique and intimate space for environmental justice advocates and community leaders to meet directly with some of the state’s biggest transportation leaders. About 70 people were in attendance.
One issue kept coming up throughout the day, because it will have an impact on just about everything else under discussion: the campaign to repeal last year’s gas tax increase. Signed into law last year, SB 1 established a large, ongoing source of funding for public transportation, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, traffic reduction, and more. Transportation agencies and advocates are gearing up for a fight at the ballot box this November to preserve that sorely needed revenue stream.
While many groups expressed a desire to defend SB 1 at the summit, many of us also clearly remember the poison pill that found its way into the bill during final negotiations. The “dirty trucking loophole” led us and others — particularly environmental justice advocates — to oppose the bill. To the degree that equity advocates are unhappy with that loophole or how funds are allocated, there are differing opinions on how important it is to preserve SB 1 funding.
And that’s exactly what this summit is all about — it’s a space for all sides to better understand the experiences and expertise of the other, as well as a platform for advocates to voice their concerns and hopes for improving our transportation system for all Californians.
The summit included informative deep-dives into transportation equity and justice, and some pressing statewide policy issues. Here are some highlights, and you can see the full summit program with the agenda here.
- Breakout discussions about the future of SB 1, coordinating across regions and organizations for mobility justice, and monitoring the results of California’s landmark climate and land use policy (SB 375).
- A panel with directors and agency heads of the California Transportation Commission, Cal State Transportation Agency, and the Southern California Association of Governments.
- A lunch plenary about rural communities’ transportation needs, with speakers from the Central Valley town of Huron, who shared their problems (like the three-hour bus ride to Fresno) and solutions (like the Green Raiteros program).
The summit was made possible by financial sponsorships from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Bay Area Rapid Transit, AC Transit, The California Endowment, and SamTrans, as well as by the hard work and collaboration of our steering committee, listed in the program.
Moving forward, we hope to continue the conversations started at the summit about how to not just defend critical transportation funding, but to influence how those dollars are spent. We’ll keep bringing people together from across the state to advocate for a more equitable and sustainable transportation system that prioritizes our most vulnerable and impacted communities.