AB 1982 (Bloom) - Breathe CA Sponsored Legislation Dies in Committee
Last week, a bill concept Breathe developed was introduced in the legislature. The bill would have added two new members to the California Transportation Commission and was designed to ensure these members would be familiar with the environmental justice issues facing communities across the state that deal with disproportionately high levels of environmental degradation. Our version was inspired by and modeled on legislation passed last year to elevate environmental justice voices on the California Air Resources board. This legislation is important because our transportation planning, like much state investment, has often left out voices from impacted communities.
We know that highway expansions and new road investment hurt air quality. We know that poor air quality around transit corridors is correlated with asthma and other lung diseases. We know that transportation is a public health issue; a lung health issue. And yet the CTC has continued to fund the same "transportation as usual," projects in part because the Commissioners don't reflect the breadth of California experience. Our bill was meant to start a conversation about what the CTC should be prioritizing, and the Assembly Transportation Committee chaired by Assemblymember Jim Frazier made it crystal clear that their priority is the status quo. AB 1982 was defeated, despite the incredible efforts of our cosponsors at the California Bicycle Coalition, the support of the public health community, and environmental justice advocates from around the state. A lot of voices stood together to support AB 1982, and Breathe is proud to have raised the issue.
AB 1982 was part of the Transportation Equity bill package led by the California Bicycle Coalition, TransForm, and ClimatePlan. Other bills in the package are:
- AB 2222 (Chris Holden, D-Pasadena) – to provide $50 million for free and reduced-fare transit passes
- AB 2332 (Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella) – to prioritize Caltrans maintenance in disadvantaged communities; (Died in committee
- AB 2796 (Low, D-Los Gatos/Bloom, D-Santa Monica) – to provide bicycle/pedestrian planning money for disadvantaged communities, and guarantee funding for bicycle and pedestrian safety.
We will continue to be a voice for health in transportation through our support of these bills. Thank you for your continued support of Breathe California!
Written by Matt Read, JD, Breathe Director of Government Statewide Relations.