From the TransForm Policy Desk
September 21 2023: Decriminalizing Fare Evasion
The Decriminalize Fare Evasion Bill (AB 819) has passed the legislature, and now it’s up to Governor Gavin Newsom to sign it into law. The measure makes a third instance of fare evasion an infraction rather than a misdemeanor and removes jail time for people who can’t pay the fines. Please sign our petition to show your support and encourage the governor to sign this critical bill.
September 7 2023: Next Steps to Save Transit
TransForm and other advocates are working on long-term and short-term funding solutions to address the almost $2B operating gap facing Bay Area transit providers in the coming years. Unfortunately, SB 532, which would have provided stop-gap funding for the next five years, has been delayed, moving agencies like BART closer to a fiscal cliff that could lead to service cuts. But we’re not giving up this critical fight for the future of transit.
August 23 2023: A Temporary Setback for Transit Funding
The Safe, Clean & Reliable Public Transportation Emergency Act (SB 532), which would have temporarily raised bridge tolls to prevent transit service cuts, has been paused. TransForm will continue to advocate for riders, and we’ll be monitoring discussions led by Senator Scott Wiener and Assemblymember Lori Wilson with Bay Area legislators to determine goals and strategies for maintaining the region’s essential public transit services. Read more from KQED.
August 9 2023: Parking Reform in Action
TransForm is excited to be working with a number of partners on SPOT SJ, which explores how emerging technology can drive smarter decisions around the use of our public space in San Jose. One of these applications, Parkade, enables residents in multi-family communities to manage their parking needs by renting empty spaces. This tool has enormous potential to reduce the need for more parking, thus allowing for better uses of space, not to mention lowering the cost of new housing construction. Parkade has contracted with their first San Jose building, Vespaio (across from both Diridon Station and the Shark Tank). This pilot program will allow us to see how South Bay folks use the app and move the city toward a more lively downtown with more walking and biking.
July 27 2023: Progress for Speed Safety Camera Bill
After years of advocacy to reduce unnecessary traffic fatalities, supporters are celebrating the first time a speed safety camera bill has made it through both the state assembly and senate policy committees. The original text of AB 645 (Friedman) is largely intact, with small amendments clarifying the hours of enforcement in school zones and the minimum number of speeding incidents in an area needed to deploy speed safety cameras. We’ll be watching closely as the bill goes before the senate appropriations committee in late August.
July 13 2023: Clipper BayPass Pilot Program is a Hit
Almost a year into operation, the Clipper BayPass has already supported over 2 million transit trips! BayPass gives riders unlimited access to all Bay Area buses, trains, and ferries, creating an accessible, convenient, and affordable transit experience. The 30,000 local college students and affordable housing residents participating in the program have great things to say, which bodes well for the future of integrated fares in the Bay Area.
June 29 2023: LA Metro Moves Forward with Fare Capping
Starting July 1, transit riders in Los Angeles will have another reason to ride. Thanks to LA Metro's new fare capping program, riders will never pay more than $5 a day, and never more than $18 within seven days. Not only does this encourage everyone to use transit, it also reduces the penalties on lower-income riders who often can't afford the upfront cost of a monthly pass. TransForm will be tracking the effectiveness of this program and is looking forward to the lessons that come out of it.
June 15 2023: State Budget Provides Big Boost for Transit
Today the California State Assembly and Senate passed their budget bills, which preserved $4 billion in Transit Intercity Rail Capital Program funds and identified a new $1.1 billion from Cap and Trade, all of which can be flexed for transit operations. We are grateful to our legislative leadership and Bay Area champions for providing transit with significant funding support and flexibility to start California on a path to averting the fiscal cliff and restoring transit ridership.
However, without additional operations funding, the deal will force hard trade-offs between sustaining vital transit service and important transit capital investments, including jeopardizing over $6 billion in federal matching dollars to the Bay Area. Instead, the Governor and legislature could reallocate surplus state highway funds. Take action today and tell Governor Newsom to support the legislature’s budget proposal and flex state highway funds so transit can survive and thrive.
June 1 2023: Good News on Transit Safety
Progress! The Public Transit For All: Improving Safety & Increasing Ridership Bill sailed through the Senate and is headed for the Assembly Transportation Committee. Proposed by Senator Dave Min and supported by more than 100 advocacy organizations throughout the state, including TransForm, SB434 is a critical step toward addressing street harassment on public transportation, making buses and trains safer and more accessible for everyone.
May 19 2023: Funding Transit Operations
Last week, TransForm joined more than 120 transit agencies, community-based organizations, and advocacy groups across the state in calling on Sacramento lawmakers to invest in transit operations, which was omitted in the state budget released last Friday. We are working with Governor Newsom, who says he remains open to working with the legislature and finding solutions to support the viability of transit. Read TransForm's May Revise Response Press Statement.
May 5 2023: 8 Great State Policies We’re Supporting in 2023
The 2023 legislative session is shaping up to be a big year for legislation to boost affordable housing and climate-friendly transportation. TransForm is in the trenches with our partners, making sure that policymakers in Sacramento push for a sustainable, equitable future for our communities. Read on to see which eight bills we are supporting, and why we believe that these laws will create a more equitable future for California families.
April 21 2023: Parking Policy in Action
If you want to know exactly how much land is dedicated to parking in your city, check out this new interactive map from Parking Reform Network. It not only shows parking coverage in major US downtowns, it also lists each city’s parking policies. Their map of San Jose shows a city moving in the right direction. San Jose’s groundbreaking policies eliminate minimum parking requirements and improve its management of transportation demand to create more vibrant neighborhoods with lively streets and room for more affordable homes. That vision for San Jose’s future is at the core of SPOT SJ - a new multi-sector collaborative project led by TransForm. With parking better managed, there’s more space and resources for everything that makes San Jose a great city.
April 7 2023: Bay Area Housing for All
TransForm is proud to be part of the Bay Area Housing for All Coalition working to pass a statewide ballot innovative and regional housing bond in 2024 that would
dedicate up to $20B for affordable housing near transit in the Bay Area. The Bay Area is severely behind on producing the affordable housing we need. As a result, nearly half (45%) of Bay Area renters are rent burdened, with 38,000 people in the Bay Area experiencing homelessness.
March 24 2023: Transit Transformation Task Force, Shared Parking, BAHFA
TransForm’s primary focus this year is saving public transit but we’re keeping our eye on some important housing, land use, and transportation policies currently being considered by the state legislature. TransForm supports:
AB 761 to establish a statewide Transit Transformation Task Force to identify strategies to grow transit ridership and improve the transit experience for all users.
AB 894 to change zoning and land use codes to promote shared parking, which will address the oversupply of parking, preserve land, lower the cost of housing, and allow more compact land use that promotes walking, biking, and public transit.
AB 1319 makes a narrow set of important modifications to the Bay Area Housing Finance Authority to help pass and implement a regional housing measure and other important programs.