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  • Writer's pictureZack Deutsch-Gross

Transform’s Legislative Priorities for 2024

Updated: Apr 16

Transform is advocating for 13 bills that lay the groundwork for the shifts California needs to make to meet the challenge of climate change while increasing equity. We’ll provide updates and more in-depth information on many of these measures as they work their way through the legislative process. Here’s everything we support as the first committee hearings begin.

Our top priority bills

All the bills on our list will make California more livable, but we’re heavily campaigning for two bills essential to our green transportation future.

Holding Caltrans accountable for meeting climate and equity goals

Transform is one of the sponsors of The Transportation Accountability Act, AB 2086 (Schiavo), and we’ve brought on Jeanie Ward-Waller to help us advocate for its passage. The measure will require Caltrans, the state Department of Transportation, to report on how its annual spending aligns with our priorities of safety, equity, climate action, and economic prosperity. 

Bringing transparency to an agency that has, until now, operated largely out of the spotlight will help make the case to the state legislature and the public that we should be spending less on highway expansion and more on sustainable transportation modes like walking, biking, and public transit. 

Secure funding for Bay Area transit

The Connect the Bay Bill, SB 1031 (Wahab, Wiener), is a critical step toward a 2026 Bay Area ballot measure to create a secure funding stream for our public transit agencies. The bill also authorizes a study of combining the 27 Bay Area transit agencies into one and incentivizes easy transfers between transit providers.

In coalition with Voices for Public Transportation (VPT), Transform has been working for years for a new regional transportation measure that will raise over a billion dollars annually from progressive revenue sources to expand and improve transit service throughout the region, reduce traffic and greenhouse gas emissions, and increase access to opportunity with high-quality green jobs. 

Unfortunately, business and labor interests are pushing for highway expansion in the measure — projects that would invite more driving, gobble up funds critical to a healthy transportation system, and ensure decades of increased emissions and air pollution.

We support the Connect the Bay Bill if it is amended. We’re seeking amendments to add more options for progressive revenue sources and limit regressive sources like a sales tax increase. We’re also seeking to guarantee transit funding and service levels and ensure that funding for roads is exclusively for maintenance and repair, not highway widening. 

We will be closely monitoring the Connect the Bay Bill and working with the authors and other legislators to craft a measure that prioritizes climate and equity over highway expansion.

11 excellent transportation and housing bills

We are supporting 11 more bills in the 2024 legislative session. These measures will yield more affordable housing, safer roadways, and reduced pollution and greenhouse gases.

  • 2024 Housing Bond (AB 1657, Wicks): One of the roadblocks to building the additional housing California needs, especially affordable housing, is funding. The 2024 Housing Bond authorizes the state to issue up to $10 billion in bonds to fund affordable rental projects and programs that help more people become homeowners. 

  • 2024 Climate Bond (SB 867, Allen): California is already seeing the frightening effects of the climate crisis and is poised to face many more consequences in the coming years, from cycles of drought and intense rain to raging wildfires and rising sea levels. This initiative dedicates $15 billion to projects to reduce fire risk near communities and ensure forests are healthy enough to withstand more intense wildfires; reduce the risk of catastrophic flood events by slowing and capturing runoff; protect coastal communities from sea-level rise; and help urban communities adapt to rising temperatures. 

  • Yield to the Bus Bill (AB 1904, Ward): Buses in Santa Cruz and the Santa Valley can currently be equipped with signs telling motorists to yield the right of way to the bus. Assemblymember Christopher Ward’s measure would allow any transit provider to use these signs. This bill provides a low-cost way to prioritize buses on our crowded streets, improving the speed and reliability of public transportation.

  • No New Freight Lanes Bill (AB 2535, Bonta): The Trade Corridor Enhancement Program (TCEP) allocates state and federal funding for infrastructure projects on freight corridors. Assemblymember Mia Bonta’s bill would limit highway widening with those funds and allocate 50% of the money to zero-emission freight projects. The movement of freight is increasingly becoming the justification for highway projects that increase traffic and pollution, and this crucial measure will put a check on that.

  • No Tolls for Active Transportation Bill (AB 2669, Ting): When the Golden Gate Bridge Authority considered charging a toll to people crossing the iconic bridge by bike or on foot, California passed a law banning tolls for bridge crossings other than motorized vehicles. That law sunsets this year; this bill will make the ban permanent. This bill is vital for the Bay Area, since most of California’s toll bridges with bike and pedestrian access are around the San Francisco Bay.

  • Transit Vehicle Inspection Act (AB 2719, Wilson): When California Highway Patrol conducts commercial vehicle inspections, public buses are also required to stop, slowing down transit and hurting system reliability. This bill would allow transit agencies to get their vehicles inspected annually by the CHP. Inspected buses would have a sticker exempting them from stopping at inspection stations.

  • Green Highways Bill (AB 824, Calderon): This measure would create a statewide plan for greening California’s highways, particularly in disadvantaged areas, to reduce the pollution burden of communities living and working near highways.

  • CTC Equity Act (AB 832, Cervantes): The California Transportation Commission (CTC) is an 11-member commission that oversees the allocation of transportation funding. This bill would require at least one of the nine members the governor appoints to have transportation expertise and professional experience working with disadvantaged communities. It’s a low bar for a group that deals with transportation issues.

  • Housing Is a Human Right (ACA 10, Haney): This is a constitutional amendment adding adequate housing to the list of fundamental rights recognized by the State of California. Transform strongly supports it.

  • SMART Funding Bill (SB 904, Dodd): This bill would authorize permission to seek additional funding for the SMART Train that runs in Sonoma and Marin Counties and provide for expansion of this vital transit service.

  • Complete Streets Bill (SB 960, Wiener): Many state routes that are controlled and maintained by Caltrans run through local communities. This bill would require the agency to improve these local corridors for people biking, walking, and taking transit when they repair or repave the street.

  • Safe Vehicles Save Lives Bill (SB 961, Wiener): Along with the Complete Streets Bill, this bill is the second part of Senator Scott Wiener’s safety package. This bill would require semi-trucks to install side guards to prevent people biking or walking from being pulled under the rear wheels in the event of a collision. It’s a commonsense safety measure that has been advocated for years at the national level; California should lead the way. It would also require speed limiters on passenger vehicles, starting in 2027, preventing people from driving more than 10 mph above the posted speed limit. Since speed is a factor in many fatal crashes, this will save lives.

We are following additional measures, and bills change as they move through committees. We’ll provide updates and opportunities for you to reach out to your representatives as the legislative session progresses.


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