01/31/2014 Media Response: SSTI Caltrans Review

Media Response from TransForm

Earlier today, the California State Transportation agency released an external review of Caltrans.  It offers a refreshingly candid and detailed critique, and more importantly points to a host of critical reforms, starting with a proposed one-month quick start to establish a new mission, vision and goals for the agency.  The report recommends the direction come "from the top down and outside in", to avoid the long-standing status quo at Caltrans where bottoms-up planning via staff just leads to "the culture endorsing itself".  
"We are thrilled at the idea of a new mission for Caltrans.  Their highway-focused goal of "improving mobility" with ever-wider roads has left us with too few transportation choices, resulting in intense traffic congestion that puts transportation as the number one source of air pollution and greenhouse gases in California."  said Stuart Cohen, Executive Director of TransForm and a member of Secretary Kelly's California Transportation Infrastructure Priorities workgroup.  "As the report states California has committed to dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and that means Caltrans needs to be in the business of reducing vehicle travel -- yet they continue to focus on old standards that favor expanding roads over all else".

"While this is not the first report slamming Caltrans there is a critical difference  today, we see tremendous leadership coming from Governor Brown and Transportation Secretary Brian Kelly, and a stated desire for change by the Caltrans Director." said Cohen.  "Over the next year TransForm will make it a top priority to build statewide support for some of the report's recommendations, including having Caltrans relinquish oversight of bicycle facilities and fundamentally changing their highway-expansion focus by finally implementing "Smart Mobility 2010", which has been mostly sitting on a shelf.
The report can be found here: SSTI Caltrans Review.     
CalSTA's news release is below.
To contact TransForm call 510-740-3150
TransForm promotes walkable communities with great transportation choices to combat the climate crisis, keep California affordable and expand opportunity for people of all incomes.  We build diverse coalitions, run innovative programs and influence policy at the local, regional and state levels.