Emmett Institute on Climate Change & the Environment

Moving Dollars: Aligning Transportation Spending With California's Environmental Goals

Ethan Elkind

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California’s state, regional and local governments spend roughly $28 billion each year on transportation infrastructure.  But the majority of the funding goes to highways and other auto-oriented infrastructure, despite state laws requiring greenhouse gas reduction, promoting more compact real estate development, and encouraging more multimodal transportation options, such as walking and biking to reduce vehicle miles traveled. To better align transportation spending with other state goals, this paper recommends state-developed project performance standards to ensure new transportation projects meet various sustainability metrics, a greater percentage of transportation dollars directed to maintenance of existing infrastructure (including “complete streets” options), and improved transparency and decision-making in allocating transportation funds.

Moving Dollars is the fifteenth paper of the California Climate Change and Business Research Initiative, a joint project with UC Berkeley School of Law that is sponsored by Bank of America.