Should Cap-and-Trade Revenue Fund Mass Transit?
By Soumya Karlamangla
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti joined two leading state Senate Democrats on Friday to support a plan to invest the state's cap-and-trade revenue in mass transit and affordable housing.
"This is smart legislation," Garcetti said, "because it would spend cap-and-trade funding where it naturally should be spent -- in those communities that face pollution, but in those communities that are making those choices to reduce pollution."
In 2006, AB 32 created a cap-and-trade program in California in which companies can sell their unused greenhouse gas emission credits to the biggest polluters in the state.
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) are pushing for the the cap-and-trade revenue -- which they say could total between $3 billion and $5 billion a year -- to fund mass transit projects in California.
"Think about how much more we could do in California if we had a dedicated permanent source of funding for public transit," Steinberg said in downtown L.A. on Friday.
Garcetti said that L.A. would get 10% of the money overall, which would mean hundreds of millions of dollars for affordable housing in Los Angeles. Funding for affordable housing in the city has dropped dramatically in recent years.
The news conference Friday came a day after Garcetti went to Sacramento and met with Steinberg and De Leon. The three officials showed up at the Friday event in a zero-emission Metro bus, which Steinberg said was the "direction we intend to move California with our long-term strategy to reduce pollution."
The proposed investment plan is intended to keep greenhouse gas emissions down by using the money from the cap-and-trade program to grow the state's mass transit system, including funding for high-speed rail. By increasing public transit and building affordable housing near public transit, supporters hope fewer people will use cars.
Metro Board Chairwoman Diane DuBois said Friday that an individual switching to public transit reduces their greenhouse gas emissions by 4,800 pounds per year.
(c)2014 the Los Angeles Times