The fate of California’s climate program rests with SB 32

Joshua Stark Headshot

Image: two girls play in the ocean. Photo: Adobe StockCalifornians are feeling the heat of climate change – literally. Between the enormous wildfires sweeping up and down our state, a decade of record-breaking temperatures, and a historic drought, our land, our health, and our communities are suffering. California residents and politicians know that we need to act now to fight climate change and keep our state healthy and livable.

That’s why California is at the forefront of climate policy, leading the world with our ambitious climate program. Through California's climate program, billions of dollars are flowing to projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) while making California's communities more sustainable, healthy, and fair. What's more, California has dedicated a significant portion of this funding to lifting up “disadvantaged communities”, areas identified by the state as having disproportionately borne the burden of pollution, racism, and disinvestment.

The result? We’re reducing climate pollution and simultaneously helping our communities with investments in clean transportation, sustainable communities, and affordable homes near transit.  

But all that could come to an end if our state leaders don’t pass SB 32. Email your Legislator now to support SB 32!

SB 32 would set a goal to reduce our state’s greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. If our state leaders don’t pass SB 32 out of the State Assembly and into law, we risk losing the programs that improve the quality of our air and of so many people’s lives.

One of these programs is the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program (LCTOP), which increases transit service throughout the state, with a specific focus on increasing ridership in disadvantaged communities. Here are a few of the projects that received funding this year from California’s climate program: 

  • Clipper Fare Payment System, Bay Area

Funding from the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program touched down right in our own backyard in 2016. MTC will receive a grant of nearly $4 million ($3,559,290 to be exact) to replace Clipper card equipment on all of the buses, trains, and ferries throughout the Bay Area.

On a typical weekday in 2014, Bay Area residents boarded buses, trains and ferries approximately 1.7 million times, so keeping this equipment in tip-top shape helps ensure that everyone riding BART, AC Transit, Muni, Caltrain, and the 16 other transit systems in the Bay Area can easily make their connections without skipping a beat. This project will help people living in communities identified as disadvantaged stay connected to jobs, school, family, and more by making riding public transportation throughout the region more convenient and cost effective.

  • North County Transit District, San Diego County

When students don't have to worry about the cost of getting to school every day, they can worry about more important things – like succeeding in class. Thanks to North County District’s new discount student transit pass program, students in the San Marcos area will soon be able to ride the bus to school – and elsewhere – at a much more affordable price.

North County Transit District was awarded $794,903 from the LCTOP to launch this program, which will provide reduced-fare passes for San Diego’s SPRINTER/BREEZE transit network to students attending Palomar College, Cal State University San Marcos, Mira Costa College, and all K-12 students in the San Marcos Unified School District (one of the largest school districts in San Diego). This program will not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase transit ridership levels by lowering the cost for students to make public transportation their first option, it will give more young people in San Diego the independence and dignity of being able to get to school, housing, jobs, and more without breaking the bank.

  • Monterey-Salinas Bus, Monterey County

Famous for its production of so much of the United States’ crops, Salinas, California is known as the Salad Bowl of the World. And the people who bring our food to harvest rely heavily on public transportation to get around. In 2014, 34% of all the people who rode transit in Monterey and Salinas worked for farms – that’s 66,200 people in one year.

In 2015, the Monterey-Salinas Transit Agency received LCTOP funding to establish the bus route Line 42, which serves people living in several communities identified by CalEPA as disadvantaged. In 2016, LCTOP funds strengthened this service by allowing the Agency to purchase a new electric bus for the route. Having an upgraded, eco-friendly, and reliable way to stay connected to jobs and opportunity will greatly improve everyone’s quality of life, and the quality of the air they breathe.

And that’s just how climate funding is making it easier for people to use buses and trains to get around.  To date, the state has invested over $1.6 billion in community and climate enhancements ranging from urban forestry to water efficiency to affordable homes near transit.

Clearly, there is a lot at stake with SB 32. Our State Senators have already approved it - now it’s our Assemblymembers’ turn to carry it forward. But unsurprisingly, oil company executives are spending a lot of energy and money trying to squash SB 32 and restore their ability to pollute without limits. 

So we need to speak louder than oil money, and tell our state leaders how important SB 32 is to our health, our families, and our environment – now and for the future.

Take action now: email your Legislator to support SB 32!

Learn more about the LCTOP and other programs at




About This Blog

TransForum is the blog of TransForm, California's leading transportation advocate. For more about our work, including ways you can take action and contribute, visit