Transcript: Sustainable Mobility – Clean Transportation for All (CA Climate Policy Summit 2023)

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Audience (00:01):



Appreciated. All set.

Woody Hastings (Staff, The Climate Center) (00:05):



All right, folks. My clock says four o’clock, so we’ll get rolling here. Thanks for joining us. Uh, my name is Woody Hastings. Uh, I think most of the folks in the room have been in the room. So I’m the phase out polluting fuels manager, uh, for the, for The Climate Center. And thanks for being with us. And, uh, really just want to, uh, introduce our final, uh, session for this track, uh, on sustainable mobility. And that means a lot of things. It’s, you know, it’s not just switching out to EVs, right? It’s, uh, there’s a lot more to it than that. We’re gonna hear about that. And Naomi Doerner is our moderator, so thank you Naomi and Roman Partido Lopez, and Ruben Aronin, and to Michael Pimentel, our panelists. So we’re, I’m just pleased to, uh, have Naomi come up and, uh, give her opening remarks and, uh, hand it off to the panelists. So thank you very much.

Naomi Doerner (01:05):

Great. Uh, thank you so much for having me. My name is Naomi Donner, as we mentioned. I go by she, her. Um, and I work at Nelson Nigar. We’re a consulting firm. Um, uh, I live and work out of the area, but I lead our national equity practice, um, for transportation. And so it is my distinct honor and pleasure to be able to talk to the panelists today about, um, clean transportation for all and sustainable, um, mobility. Um, and, um, the, I wanna thank The Climate Center for having us, um, and for having such informed conversations here in Sacramento as we know sessions are, um, going on. So very, very timely. Um, before we get started, um, I do want to, um, just sort of set the stage. Um, we’re gonna have a really wonderful conversation with, with our panelists. Um, and as has already been introduced, I will just reintroduce them, um, quickly.


We have, uh, Ruben Aronin, uh, who is a principal with the better, um, world group leading the firm’s clean energy transportation campaigns in California, and more than, um, a dozen other, uh, uh, states. We also have Roman Partida Lopez. He’s a senior legal counsel for transportation equity at the Greenlining Institute. Um, and we also have Michael Pimentel, California Transit Association. So wonderful, um, folks to be talking with. Uh, and then in terms of the landscape, uh, really wanna just set the stage. I think we’re all pretty familiar. You know, we’re, we’re having a moment, right? Transportation and infrastructure are having, uh, uh, quite an unparalleled moment, especially at the federal level. Um, and while we have federal policies and p uh, policies, programs, and funding streams that are available and becoming more available, um, to communities, we know that the way that this all gets implemented is where the rubber meets the road quite literally.


And so, um, very excited to have a conversation about how that’s happening here in California, um, and how these, um, federal funds and also the local and state, uh, resources are becoming available, and why it is so important that equity is also at the center of the sustainability work, um, for transportation. And, um, you know, we have, uh, initiatives like Justice 40, where we know that 40% of the, uh, infrastructure or 40% of certain federal funds are met and will be used to benefit, uh, marginalized, underserved, and overburdened communities, um, uh, specifically by pollution. Um, and the how again this happens is really important. And that’s true for the Inflation Reduction Act, bipartisan infrastructure law, and the American Rescue Plan. Um, and a number of other funding, um, opportunities that are available. So, um, with that, um, I am going to open the conversation up, or here, his work hearing, um, or that I would like to hear about is, is about the campaigns, um, and just, uh, the regulatory landscape that you’re working in. Thank you.

Ruben Aronin (00:00):

Um, and, uh, from the world that I sit in, um, transportation pollution has been a growing, uh, problem, um, since I’ve been involved in climate advocacy. And we’re at a real tipping point moment where we can not only be looking at reversing that trend, but actually bring transportation, transportation, pollution down to zero, um, which is something really exciting. Um, but it’s gonna take a lot of hard work. It takes a lot of hard work, as you can imagine, not only to get these regulations adopted, but then to actually implement them, um, the Better World Group. For the past two decades, and I’ve been doing this work at Better Worlds the last 10 years, um, helps to organize and facilitate coalitions of environmental justice, labor, uh, health, scientific, uh, environmental, uh, and, uh, and consumer advocates, um, to work on ensuring we have strong aggressive regulations, um, on, uh, on our transportation sources, uh, cars, trucks, and buses.


Um, and the last couple of years, there’s been a lot of movement in this space. Just last summer, uh, uh, making good on the governor’s executive order, the Air Resources Board was able to pass the advanced Clean Cars to Regulation, which sets an aggressive target of 35%, uh, new vehicle sales in 20 up to hundred five. Um, and it was the work of folks like Roman and his organization and many other advocates that got carb to set a standard that wouldn’t just be business as usual, uh, but would actually set a more aggressive target for that, um, standard. And, uh, we’re excited that this work, you know, it wouldn’t be successful if it was just staying in California. And so, right out of the gate in December of New York and Massachusetts, uh, adopt the rule, and now there are four or five other states that are in the process of doing that.


The governor of Maryland just announced that there’ll be one of the latest ACC two states on this pathway as well. It’s terrific that we have, uh, tomorrow, I guess officially we’ll be hearing the announcement of EPAs rules that are pushing for an important but less aggressive standard, uh, g HG standard that will drive to getting us about half of vehicle sales, hopefully to be Zev by 2030. And I would argue that it was really California’s leadership that got us to a better place for the federal standard. And states, as I’m sure you know, have been Lee in California, has been leading on tailpipe pollution and now zero emission vehicle policy for decades. Um, not to, uh, tell the sour news, but we’ve had the experience in a hostile federal administration of federal government and automakers actually suing California over our state authority under the Clean Air Act.


And that existential threat is real and potentially growing. Um, in the Trump years, there were 20 attorneys, general and governors supporting state’s rights and, and joining with California. There are now, I think, 17 Republican ags that are, uh, filing a lawsuit against California Authority. So there’ll be, there’ll be a lot more battle to do around the regulation, uh, implementation. Um, I, I don’t have a slide for this, but backing up a couple more years in 2020, uh, we set the first in the nation advanced counseling in 2020. The manufacturers said, well, that’s great that you’re making a sell it, but, uh, card really need to require fleets to purchase these zero emission trucks. So we know that there’s a marketplace. Um, and in two and a half weeks, uh, on April 27th, hopefully, uh, carb will be voting on final regulation of the advanced clean fleet rule, um, which is a rather complex regulation.


Um, but I’ll boil it down, um, fairly quickly in these four buckets. Uh, the first is, while it’s a fleet purchase requirement, CARB took the opportunity to, uh, aggressively set a hundred percent sales requirement within the fleet rule, uh, that will, uh, kick easily in by 2036. Um, and that’s actually surpassing some of the initial targets. And again, our coalition led by the two environmental justice groups, uh, as well as, uh, traditional environmental health organizations really help make the case to accelerate car’s original proposed target of 2040 to 2036. It also requires a hundred percent on-road drainage trucks by 2035. Uh, it has provisions to require municipal fleet transition as well as federal fleets. Those postal trucks, uh, the federal fleets in California have to follow this. And high priority fleets are 50 or more trucks, uh, all have to comply with it. The, um, benefits that we are going to see, uh, span our economy, um, in Southern California where I’m based, 40% of all goods come through the LA and Long Beach ports.


It’s a huge source of economic activity, but also a huge source of pollution, particularly for frontline communities that line those freight corridors. Um, we were excited to work with our labor partners in the early stages to deify in a statewide classified, independent contracted truckers. They don’t have the means to support themselves, let alone purchase the, uh, have the capital to purchase their emission trucks up front. And so the regulation is on the shippers, the Walmarts and Targets and Amazons, they’re required to, uh, hire zero emission truck fleets through the regulation, which is the first of its kind, um, in this, in this effort. Uh, so it’s a, it’s a novel and complex regulat rapidly transition. Um, some of the most polluting vehicles in California in the communities that are harmed the most. We’re also at the same board meeting. Um, California is looking at, uh, for the first time in decades regulating locomotives.


They’re almost all these powered freight and, uh, passenger, uh, rail. And so, um, this one two punch is getting at some of the most noxious climate pollution, but also NOx particulate pollution in our state as well. And so, starting in 2030, um, Trent locomotives are older than 23 euros old will have to convert, and carb is pretty sophisticated in how they’re building these regulations, where the locomotive operators are actually, uh, required to begin putting capital aside to make this transition. Now, that will start in 2030. Um, I’ve mainly worked on the truck rule, um, but my colleagues who have been working in a locomotive like to remind me this is a bigger climate and pollution wind than this, there be incentives to move to train or truck, depending on which one didn’t have to electrify. So really a critical, um, movement that we’re making. And, uh, I know it was, uh, talked about earlier in the day, but the health benefits of these rules and the costs associated that with that are not trivial at all.


These are some of the provisions of locomotive regulation. Um, and, uh, happy to take q and a later, uh, on any of the particulars of that. Earlier it was mentioned that there’s a tremendous amount of funding sources. It’s historic. Take four ZEVs over five years is an unprecedented state investment, and it’s matched by a really significant federal investment. But the public dollars are only gonna be successful if they get a magnitude of, of larger private investments to meet that. Here are just, uh, some lists of, uh, of where those fund, where that funding has come from. Um, this was just a quick landscape of the regulation. Happy to take more questions, but really wanna turn it to my colleagues to, um, talk more about it, uh, talk more about the particulars of some of those regs and other important zero emission efforts. Thanks so much.

Naomi Doerner (06:38):

I dunno if the front mic’s working, but, um, with that, I’m gonna have, um, Ramon come up and, uh, give us, uh, an oversight of, and specifically equity in the, um, uh, sustainable transportation policy and, and just how it’s getting implemented. Thank you.

Román Partida-Lopez (06:58):

All right. Uh, good afternoon, <foreign>. Uh, my name is Roman Partida-Lopez. I use he/him pronouns, and I’m the Senior Legal Council for Transportation Equity at the Greenlining Institute. Uh, for those that are unfamiliar with greenlining, we’re our racial and economic equity advocacy organization working to adjust the impacts of redlining on low income communities of color. Um, and today I’m gonna build a little bit upon what Ruben shared, um, and some of the policies that, uh, have been passed. And the ways that we’ve approached this were to ensure that, uh, we are embedding equity into these policies in a more significant way, where it’s not just the add-on, but it’s at the center of the efforts that, uh, these policies are undertaking, and that we are ensuring that we are developing, uh, direct and meaningful outcomes for, um, there’s been a lot of progress, uh, when it comes to developing these, these policies and, and, um, funding sources, uh, that are targeted at low income and disadvantaged communities.


A lot of agencies now speak about, uh, wanting to do better about, uh, equity and ensuring that we are reaching, uh, the hardest reach or that we’re, uh, targeting the most impacted communities in their efforts. And, and for that, you know, I do wanna applaud them for at least, uh, having a conversation around what it means to address equity, uh, uh, that have helped, you know, get more clean trucks, buses on the roads programs, uh, at the, at, at the state level, like, um, the ones that are providing incentives for trucks and buses, right? Uh, to help transition those around port and warehouse areas. We’ve seen programs like the Clean Cars for All and the Clean Vehicle Assistance Program administered by the Air Resources Board to help, uh, lower income households access, uh, electric vehicles by providing incentives, whether it be a direct incentive, uh, for the vehicle purchase, or, um, finance assistance to be able to provide the needed financing support so that they can, uh, access this vehicle, whether through a lease or the vehicle purchase.


Um, and we’ve also seen that, uh, CARB has been willing and other agencies as well, to really think outside the box, right? And not just really focus in on vehicle vehicle incentives and, you know, kind of perpetrate, uh, uh, and continue to perpetuate our dependency on single passenger vehicles. Uh, and, and, and, and vehicle ownership by funding program, resources board, uh, the sustainable transportation aircraft, which step for short, which is a really bottom up approach, uh, to communities define what needs and priorities they have and apply for funds based on, on, on what they wanna see implemented in their community, as well as programs like the Clean Mobility in Schools that really is targeting lower, uh, just really targeting, uh, creating a systems change within the school, within schools to help both create an educational component, but also provide a mobility service to the community and, and, and, and the teachers there.


Um, so as I shared, I think there’s been a lot, right? A lot that the state has, has, has worked on. Um, and even just thinking about the federal level and the levels of advancements that we’re gonna be seeing as well, you know, the, the, the, the momentum is there. We are definitely having a moment, and we still have a lot of work to do, a lot of significant work to do. Uh, earlier today, Alicia, who was sitting here, or she already left, or she might be coming back, but Lisa was, uh, with community better, uh, communities for a Better Environment when I first met her 10 years ago when I started to do this work, and this was at the kickoff, um, of our campaign around Senate Bill 1275, which is a Charge Ahead California initiative that kinda set the path for a lot of the programs that we’re talking about, that I’m talking about today.


And at that event, we were talking about all the opportunities that, uh, we could potentially see from the implementation of that program. And I’m happy to say that we have seen, seen growth, right? But as we were talking and we’re kind of reminiscing on that day, we realized that we have made progress, but we still need to do more. Uh, we need to do community benefit. These policies, many of the programs that, you know, we, that I mentioned, or that we see are, are still on a first home, first serve basis. Meaning that, you know, if you know about these programs, uh, you’re able to apply and you’re able to access them. Nothing is really focused on a need based approach. And every resources board, for example, has recently taken up that challenge to try to move into this direction of a more need-based approach and objective, need-based, uh, um, approach where we are more intentional, where we are targeting incentives, or we’re targeting programs in areas that have yet to see adoption or very little adoption.


Um, and yet it’s been really difficult to really get the, the, these agencies to think outside kind of the status quo approach to incentive deployment or to program development, right? Um, like I mentioned, really thinking about what else can we be doing outside of vehicle ownership programs, vehicle intensive programs, to ensure that we are meeting the needs, uh, the transportation and mobility needs of our most impacted communities. So how do we do this? How do we make sure that we continue to push the envelope and get these agencies to be better? So we need to really start thinking of how we’re operationalizing equity between the policy developments that we’re doing and the implementation efforts. So when I say operationalizing equity, what I mean is we, equity must show up, must it must, it cannot just be a statement, it must be a practice. So it must be showing up in the mission, vision, and values of whatever policy or program we’re developing.


It needs to show up in implementation efforts, right? Who are we engaging with? Um, who are we talking to, to really build up what the, the strategy is to, to, to roll out this program. We need to make sure the equity’s showing up in the process, right? Once we are implementing, how are we continuing to engage inid? And how are we continuing to, uh, eventually, uh, evaluate, right? And evaluate in a way that allows us to adapt and adjust the strategy. It’s not reaching intended outcome. How can we make sure that we’re giving enough space to be able to, you know, hit pause, adjust and adapt without having, without pausing the program, but doing so in a way that allows us to, to, to, to better target the program in a way that it’s reaching, um, the most impacted communities. So, and aside from, uh, operationalizing equity of doing another is really thinking about how we’re developing a set of equity principles that will guide the, that development of, of equity within these policies.


Um, and programs. When we were working on advanced clean cars, uh, early on, we decided to embed some, some equity principles, uh, that would guide, uh, our work as a coalition, but also, um, uh, direction to the Air Resources Board on how to think about implementing equity. Some of the principles that we shared with them, um, was that this process that they were about to undertake needed to be community driven at every stage, right? Ensuring that they were engaging beyond the stakeholders that were around the table, but those that were gonna be impacted by these policies. We were asking that they approached this in an intersection, um, in a multi-sectorial way, because we know everything is intersectional, right? We can’t be, none of this work is siloed. So how are we making sure that it’s intersectional and it’s race conscious, and that, because we know that black and brown communities continue to bear the brun of air pollution, um, of poverty and pollution.


And so really having that at the forefront, even though there might be some limitation communities, uh, the most benefit through these policies, and that we’re providing intentional benefits, right? These direct, I keep saying direct, meaningful and intentional benefits. And by that I mean that these are not, you know, pass through benefits or co-benefits that they’re seeing, that they are seeing, you know, they’re able to access the vehicles, right? That they are the ones that are gonna be installing the charging infrastructure in their communities, that they have a say in the way that, um, you know, these, the programs that the ports or near warehouses, how those monies get to be used. Um, and lastly that it provides a path for wealth building, right? Um, so that we, as we’re kind of continuing to, uh, un unpack all of this, that we are allowing opportunities for folks to be able to step into this, into this, uh, new economy and after wealth building.


And only this way are we really able to ensure that we are centering and embedding equity into our, our structures, um, and that we then ensure that we are then really prioritizing the communities that have yet to benefit. Uh, because 10 years of this work has demonstrated that we have made some pa some, some progress, but we have continued to fall short when we, we think about climate investments, um, and whether those are reaching, uh, in the benefits of the providing low income and disadvantaged communities, we have yet to see the, the, the impact we need to make sure that those top 5% or top 10% of our most disadvantaged communities see improvements. Um, and I, I think as we continue the conversation today, it’s really with that mindset, right? How are we operationalizing equity? How are we embedding equity? But most importantly, how are we centering our most impacted communities and keeping ’em at the forefront as thank you?

Naomi Doerner (13:49):

All right? And thank you so much, everyone. Um, and so I’m gonna have Michael join us up here, um, now, and Michael, um, I know you’re gonna talk about, um, your organization. Um, but one of the things that is really important to talk about, we’ve been talking about the regulation. We’ve been talking about all these programs, um, and we, we can’t forget right at the heart of transportation, the most sustainable transportation that we have, right? The sign of a healthy transportation system is public transportation. So really looking forward to your thoughts on how we incorporate that.

Michael Pimentel (14:23):

Folks, it’s great to be with you this afternoon. I’m Michael, uh, Pimentel with the California Transit Association. And for those of you who don’t know my organization, we are a non-profit trade organization representing here in Sacramento, 220 members, including 85 transgender agencies here in the state of California. And as I begin my remarks, I want to take a bit of a departure from where we have been centered in this conversation related to, for example, the transition to zero emission technologies that’ll come back to that in a moment. And I wanna focus the conversation first on something that is foundational, something that is fundamental to whether or not we will have a functioning, uh, and ultimately sustainable transportation network here in the state of California. Uh, and here, I just wanna acknowledge that today, California transit agencies are on the brink of crisis. Uh, as many of you know, the pandemic decimated transit ridership, largely because we saw changes in how people work, how they travel.


And these depressed ridership levels are something that have unfortunately carried on or endured well beyond the height of our public health, uh, protocols and our state at home orders. Now, when combined with things like rising capital costs and rising cost operations, both of those also, uh, outfits or outgrowths of the pandemic, its impact on supply chains, its impact on our work that agent depleting their, and with that still carry out their service with fewer resources and higher cost. And that is, of course, a, a recipe for disaster. Now, as an association, uh, we of course want to jump in and provide some support to California transit agencies and the communities, uh, that they serve in. We are to that effect, leading a statewide campaign that is focused on securing new funding from the state of California to address some near term funding shortfalls that threat and service, and, uh, perhaps can lead to mass layoffs, uh, and to also, uh, secure funds to implement strategies to improve the ridership experience.


And I start off with that note, because of course, we want to talk about this transition to zero emission technologies. We want to talk about the mode shift to high capacity mass transportation. But in order for us to be able to deliver on both fronts, we have to ensure that that baseline support for transit operations and ensuring that we have the service levels that can come attractive, the service levels that would make the investments in zero emission vehicles, uh, something that is valid and something that can be supported, uh, as we proceed. So, some of you may have seen already the early aspects of the campaign that were leading. Uh, Senator Wiener and his legislative colleagues, for example, submitted a joint letter to leadership in both the assembly and the Senate that highlighted the need for support. And on a recent letter, based on survey data that we had collected as an association, they presented a pretty staggering figure, 6 billion to 8 billion in funding need over the next five years in order to stave off that fiscal cliff and ensure that agencies have a, as we can take, as a campaign, we’re gonna be much more visible, and we will be delivering soon a call to action, uh, to the legislature into the broader stakeholder community to stand alongside us, uh, in securing some additional resources for transit agencies, uh, that campaign.


And, and really that call to action will further sify sources that we will be chasing here at the state level formalize our commitment to service reforms. And I’ll get back to that in just a moment. And then also reopen conversations with the state regarding its long time and should be ongoing support for transit operations. Now, of course, I was invited to speak to more than just that fiscal cliff. So I do want to pivot and talk a bit more specifically about the nature of, of this discussion, which is how do we then incite folks to take public transit if we shore up that base? And there is a huge opportunity here with, uh, funds provided by the bipartisan infrastructure law, that’s the isolation reduction, as well as year 22, 23 street budget, uh, to really reinvent and, and remake our public transit system with a greater focus on delivering enhanced environmental stewardship, improve social outcomes, more seamless integration between systems, and ultimately, yes, at long term financial and operational resiliency for agencies.


And as an association, we have really leaned into, uh, the opportunities that have been presented to us. We are working to further really each of those emphasis points, uh, being the transition to our mission technologies, uh, but then also to through addressing unseen barriers to greater adoption of things like fair free programs, which help address access, uh, issues on public transit, uh, while also making some structural changes, uh, to bodies of law to ultimately govern transit, project delivery, uh, and service delivery. And so on the regulatory front, that was spoken to earlier today, but I did wanna highlight that we as an association are proud to support CAR proposed in use locomotive regulation. Uh, the regulation, of course, uh, has a variety of provisions that speak to locomotive operators more generally across freight and, uh, passenger sectors, but does include some important language in the 15 day changes that were released, uh, not too long ago, helping agencies in demonstrating and deploying cleaner technologies, and does establish a, an aggressive path and really a thorough option for compliance for converting the remaining tier zero and tier three, uh, I should say tier zero through tier three passenger rail locomotives to tier four locomotives or better by 2035.


And it also then would mandate under that third compliance pathway, a transition to zero passenger locomotives by 2047. Uh, now as an industry, we have a variety of agencies who’ve already taken on that charge toward cleaner technologies. Uh, Metrolink has roughly half of their fleet being, uh, tier four. They’re interested in that transition to zero emission technologies and Caltrain. And the San Francisco Peninsula has, uh, roughly three quarters of their fleet that will be soon, uh, zero emission and one line while they has four, um, uh, local unit. Now, on the legislative front, I did want to also highlight, uh, that we are, I should say, rather on the regulatory front, I also did wanna highlight that we are, uh, heavily engaged also in implementation of car’s, innovative clean transit regulation. That, of course, uh, requires that agency’s transition to 100% zero emission technologies by 2040.


Uh, and before the board in 2022, uh, we had provided support for car moving forward with the imposition of the first purchase mandate in 2023, uh, which would be applied to large agencies as being agencies with more than 100, uh, buses in, uh, their fleet. Uh, we also did move forward, uh, before the car board, a series of recommendations for easing implementation, uh, recognizing that we wanna be partners in besting the regulatory baseline requirements. Uh, out of that hearing that we participated in October of 2022, uh, we were pleased to see the car reported, uh, for the entire public that we as a California transit industry have as many zero emission buses on the road today, or on order as they had anticipated that we would have in 2027. And so we have taken some significant strides to, uh, transition our fleet to cleaner technologies.


A lot of it, uh, has come through the support of my membership, uh, support from stakeholder groups across the state in providing the funding mechanisms, the legislative support, uh, to make that transition a reality. Now finally, on this legislative front, I do want to highlight that we are, uh, focused on, of course, improving, uh, the experience of transit rider. Uh, we did, uh, sponsor, uh, three, uh, bills last year, SB 9 22 by Senator Wiener that provides SQL exemptions, uh, for clean trans transportation projects, transit prioritization projects, with the idea that if we can build a transit to shift and rather sponsored SB 9 42, that creates some flexibility in the use of low carbon transit operations program dollars for their free transit. Uh, and then finally, uh, put into place an extension of a sales and use tax exemption for zero emission bus purchases, looking to reduce that incremental cost of moving to those technologies, making it not only the environmental right thing to do, but also the economic right thing to do for the agencies. And so, I’ll close plenty of things that we all are collectively working on, but again, when I thank the climate center for the opportunity to participate and Woody for, uh, reaching a participation, uh, personally today. Thank you.

Naomi Doerner (22:04):

I’m gonna try this again. You can hear me okay? Yes. I guess it was me. It’s an operator error. Um, great. Well, thank you so much, uh, for your overviews and, and, and actually, you know, digging into some of the questions, um, I’m gonna kick us off, but then I know that we really wanna open this up to the room. Um, so the first question I have is, is, actually, I’m gonna kick it back to you, Ruben. Um, apart from the legal challenges, which are a real threat state stated, what do you see as the greatest challenge ahead in terms of implementation, um, of some of the regulatory, um, uh, matters that you talk about and, and how, I guess I’m really interested in how you think they can be navigated

Ruben Aronin (22:39):

<laugh>. Well, thanks for the easy one. Start with, um, I think the, um, this was a stretch for carb. They’re setting economy-wide regulations that won’t be successful without a lot of other sister agency engagement, uh, from the energy commission that is responsible for funding and deploying the infrastructure equitably, uh, from the puc, which is needs to make sure we have fair and equitable and robust, uh, rate-based support, right? For this investments, the legislature that needs to, um, help fill in the gaps, um, and public that has to accept and purchase new and used zero emission cars. Um, I’m gonna piecemeal it on the car so I can’t close that. Car sales robust use market, 10% of the public buys a a car as a used car, not a new car. All cars are ridiculously expensive post covid. But, um, getting a robust secondary market in place so that all consumers are experiencing and have the opportunity to get into an electric car, that’s one just timescale, I think, challenge.


The other is the car makers. They’re going for the luxury end. That’s lovely, but there can only be so many Tesla, Audi, and BMW buyers. We need the Corollas, right, for EVs, and we’re not yet seeing that the, the EV sales, again, again, if you gotta sell a hundred percent of your product is EVs, that should help work out. Um, I think the toughest piece that I’m really worried about is, uh, we’ve heard a lot today, 55% of Californians live in apartments. Um, and they’re not easy to electrify. And so we need public charging, uh, over development for infrastructure. When you go to a gas station, you have plenty of pumps that aren’t being used. EV dwell time is longer. And so we need to have banks of EVs and we need to the private sector to do this, where the market’s gonna work, and we need to prioritize the public investment where the private sector will fail.


And we also need to have innovation so that, um, on demand transportation services that transit is looking at to serve, you know, clients that don’t fit fixed route, uh, bus or or rail service can, can support that. So those are my ideas on the light duty, on heavy duty, I’m gonna be real simple. It’s infrastructure. It is figuring out how we get the utilities, uh, not to just do their normal slow walk of making the grid ready to deliver the electricity where it’s needed. They know the TR routes in their service territories. They just have to be pushed to do it. To get through the s now at least eight years to get EV infrastructure, the fleets have to not stop opposing, get the program and work to, with their utility to get the infrastructure and ground. And we have to figure out where we can get the public charging.


But this is, you know, we have, it’s a scale problem, but the regulation will hopefully drive the innovation that’s needed. And the other thing, we’re gonna, the noisy problems, cause it will be, it’s new technology, new deployment, um, we’ve gotta be able to over them out with success. And I think we can turn to our transit partners that are really making a concerted effort and showing proof positive that this technology can meet the majority of use cases, um, particularly if we can orchestrate the funding properly. Great. Thanks. Does anyone questions? Do you have to pepper them with

Audience (25:26):

Great question. I know, um, I know there is, um, a lot of like, that are like attempting with housing, like, like, like bypass, um, and it was for you, right? Yeah, I don’t mind. Yeah. Yeah. Uh, I live in front like Wilmington, Carson rent, so it’s like, um, you’ve seen stuff I like for you and maybe, but like I heard you say you support the bill bypass transit, but to me the equity piece that came to mind was what does that mean from community supporter, for example, your organization? So could you talk about in terms of like sequel and and transit, what you would like to see in some the policies and knowing that we need to transition, right? Um, uh, to like a transit, like, like future terms computation, but like how do like

Román Partida-Lopez (26:14):

Sure. And one I grappling with, right? Because, uh, you know, we’ve gotten a lot of requests recently on to take a position on bills that are trying to bypass squa, right? Or create exemptions, uh, within squa. Knowing that squa for a lot of our EJ partners is one of the remaining tools that they have to be able to ensure that, uh, things are not being built, you know, in their backyard, right? Not in that way, but they’re not being built, um, in a way that’s gonna create additional burdens for them. Um, and so, you know, I think we are still just having internal, at least for Greenlining, we’re still having internal conversations of, uh, what that looks like, right? And how do we make sure that we are supporting our EJ partners as they are continuing, you know, their local efforts. Um, and how we then balance that with like, say, policy, right?


Like the bill that they’re trying to develop new help with, what type of implications that might have. And on the bills that, you know, there was a bill last session by assembly member wick, right? That was trying to, to do, do, do, do just that, right? Um, deploy more affordable housing, uh, but with some c exemptions. And, and we decided to kind of hit a pause internally cuz we wanted to kind of reach out to our partners first and see what they, what their perspective was on this. Um, we didn’t want speak over them or, or for them. Um, and then we also, I think, uh, needed to do our own deeper analysis of what it means, right? And, and where could there be some exemptions only that we do at times might need to, to take positions, um, that, you know, might impact squa.


But how do we make sure that like if we’re, if we’re creating an exemption, that we’re not creating it in a way that then, you know, kind of creates a loophole for, for, for others to potentially utilize to build stuff that they’re not supposed to be building in communities. And so I think that’s the lens that we’re kind of looking at it through now. And I think, you know, we’re kind of in the process of finalizing our positioning here when it comes tos, equa exemptions. But that, you know, if that bill is taking an exemption, then what is it replacing? What’s it putting in place, right? To make sure that there is still a public process to be able to engage if life like that isn’t in there, right? Should we be even considering of, of supporting a bill like that if it, and, and so that’s the lens that I think that we’re kind of, kind of looking through them then, that we make sure that there is still that process and that is engaging the local community in a significant way that they’re able to provide input. So, um, happy to talk more about that afterwards, but like I said, I think we’re still kind of working internally, Michael.

Michael Pimentel (28:04):

So the only thing on that front on, uh, the SB 92, uh, legislation, the way that we had approached that was to, I think, take into consideration many points, uh, that we’ve just heard. And here what we’ve done is we have mirrored the bill to be very specific, uh, to zero emission transit projects, uh, and specifically, uh, bus and light rail projects, bus rapid transit projects, charging refilling infrastructure. And in those instances where we are talking about large scale projects, and here there was a dollar threshold of a hundred million or more, what we put into place was an alternative process for public engagement. Uh, that requires a series of public meetings, uh, that there be business and equity analysis that is a accompanying, uh, that squa exemption request as a way of making sure that frontline communities still have an opportunity to engage in those processes. Uh, providing public input on those things that may have a material impact on their communities where we have <inaudible>, our existing, et cetera, where we find a, a pathway towards streamlining, uh, their delivery.

Naomi Doerner (29:01):

Great. Thank that was a great question. I I definitely think it’s important for us to always remember the unintended consequences and, and why like CPA exists to begin with, but also holding that, you know, in order to get these major capital, um, projects in there, there does need to be some expedition. And so, um, it was great to hear how that’s being handled. Um, any other questions from the audience?

Audience (29:21):

I’d like to know if there’s any new initiatives around workplace charging. The business community needs to step up more to make sure that all of those who can charge it well have a place to charge it work. Um, got um, thoughts on that?

Ruben Aronin (29:34):

Well, workplace charging is still a robust, um, business opportunity for the charging infrastructure companies. I think Covid o’s known everybody for a loop, um, where that was thought of as an obvious destination and, uh, charging during the daytime, right when we’re generating solar is ideal. Um, but I think there’s been some pullback just because of, uh, commuter pattern change. Um, that said, large employers, uh, have deployed and are continuing to deploy infrastructure. I think this is true on light duty and heavy duty. We’re, we’re getting past the time of being able to do ones and twos and small deployment and there’s some la it’s cheaper, uh, you know, per charger to do your install les and the rec transition, cause we’re shipping lots and garages should have charging deployments. And, um, and what it’s, uh, uh, where it exists, it gets utilized in significant, you know, uh, ways.


So, uh, I’m certainly not an expert in the space. I think the other thing that’s driving some of workplace as well as innovation charging the, um, we have to get situation by 2030. And the reason Prop 30 was put on the ballot, even though the governor opposed it and it had lift support, was to ensure there was funding to deploy the infrastructure that gonna be needed to support that. Um, how that all materializes, it’s pretty critical, uh, for those, uh, services to be successful. Um, and so, you know, I, I do think we’re gonna see that continue, but it’s a jigsaw puzzle, right? Because where, where is the dwell time of the vehicles? Where is that largely gonna happen? Is a little bit of more up for question, I think.

Román Partida-Lopez (30:58):

And, and the only thing I’ll add, um, so definitely wanna make sure that we have space for, for additional questions here. But, um, I mean, I think a keyword there was like innovative, uh, new workplace charging programs and I, I haven’t really seen any of those, right? I think right now what we have is, uh, you know, the public utility, I mean the utility company is still making investments in workplace charging through their, uh, transportation electrification applications for a couple years from a couple years ago. And I would recommend that anyone that is in this, in, in, in this room and, and outside of this room to check in on, on those imputation efforts. Cause there’s still about a billion dollars worth of, of projects that haven’t been implemented over at the utilities, right? So that has rate payer implications, but then we’re not seeing a deployment that we need to see, um, on that front as well.


And then at the Energy Commission, we have a program called Kelly v i p, which is a block grant program that allows for businesses basically to apply for charging infrastructure. And there are, um, you know, extra, uh, incentives that they are located in disadvantage and low income communities. And even though, uh, the program is, is a good program, I think we’re still seeing some gaps there, right? Because they are applying, uh, for example, uh, for a business in a disadvantage in low income community may not necessarily be benefiting, right? The, the folks that live in that community right, might be just specifically the workers. So we’re having some conversations of how do we potentially, um, you know, uh, adapt that program, right? To be able to provide those incentives but benefit from those.

Audience (32:02):

Uh, we’ll go here and then here and here. Thanks. Um, my question is kind simple. What is the long term plan to fund public transportation? Um, the plan says we need to double surface and coverage to meet our climate goals, but for successful in electrifying by nav duty, uh, the diesel sales tax, the gas sales tax, produce, our double funds to do exactly that.

Michael Pimentel (32:24):

I would say that’s a big question. Again, it is subject, what we are looking at as an industry is the road user charge as being a potential path forward. But that is itself, uh, a change in how it is that we would be really taxing, uh, not just how folks use their vehicles, but really the funding streams that provide support for public transit. Today, our primary sources of funding are the sales tax on diesel fuel, uh, sales tax on the goods that you all buy. It’s a quarter percent sales tax known as a local transportation fund, but we have not, uh, historically pulled from gas taxes in the truest sense. And so here we would be doing reframing focused on single occupancy vehicles. And here we need to see there is a legislative buy-in for that, for that type of effort. Uh, and so I think as we proceed, uh, with that RO road user charge, uh, pilot project, we’ll get a better sense of whether or not there is broad reception from legislature in adopting that as a funding mechanism period. And then see if there are opportunities for, uh, directing some of those monies toward, uh, public transit. But, uh, Zach, I think more, more generally what I would highlight is there are going to be scoping efforts that get underway, uh, through things like Ms. Friedman and, and, uh, Ms. Gonzalez’s and also statewide assessment, uh, that was signed into law, uh, last year that will be overseen by the ctc. It’s there that we’re gonna have those conversations about potential funding streams. Road user charge is probably the most viable. All we’re,

Audience (33:43):

Yeah, so I’ll try to make my remarks quick, but I love, I love public transit. I, I will be honest, I love taking Bart, like I much people to talk shit about bar <laugh>. So you’re not, I’m a rar, I’m a I’m someone who, like, if I, if I borrow from, so I live in Tracy, uh, Sanquin County, have, we live in a transit desert, I would say using, uh, automobiles is like a key defining way to get around. Even though we have local transit, local people don’t use it, it’s still build for brown cars. And so I I just have a few questions like

Naomi Doerner (34:16):

We could one, we could do one maybe in like a minute, but

Audience (34:19):

Question you don’t have to answer. Uh, but my, my question is like, you know, as we continue to vary, communities built around transit instead of around cars, uh, in Tracy for example, we have huge sort developments that rely on car use. There’s no direct, um, accessibility in terms of bus routes from the new developments. And how do we have, you know, middle plastic suburbanized to see transit as an accessible use and, uh, solution to actually utilize versus, you know, something that’s relegated to quote unquote four people and people who don’t have cars and people who are looked down upon. And I, that’s an equity point. I’m gonna realize this. Um, I think there’s a great video that I saw from the eighties about how Bart built all new parking garages, anticipating all these meters to start using bart, but those garages ended up being just empty because the commuter decided, why am I gonna get outta my car to use Bart? Why I could just stay in the car without having to deal with poor people and get to the city, right? So I think that’s just something we as a society really to think about. And I hope that’s something that you all will up to is what incentives can we do to get more people to utilize, or whether it’s how we design our cities to maybe tax credits for utilize your personal vehicle, you get tax credits or, uh, tax deduction, sorry, uh, for utilizing that. So what can we do to incentivize people to use public?

Naomi Doerner (35:22):

Great, thanks.


Thanks for that. Yeah, we, we think about that a lot. Probably <laugh>, but so should I Yeah, go ahead. You

Michael Pimentel (35:26):

Can. So I think there are a number of, of things I can say on this front, and I think your right to acknowledge the land use component of this challenge. Uh, and here we have in place SB 3 75, which in theory should be constraining on getting folks to take trans, but the reality is it’s a bit of a toothless law. It provides a general guidance, general roadmap for individual regions to develop their plans. But in terms of implementation, there’s not really much of a stick and there also is not much of a carrot for getting folks to actually comply with the plans that they develop. And so I think ultimately, uh, there should be some support that’s provided to regions to really focus on that sustainability, uh, component of, of really, uh, land use and, and, and transit. We also do have programs like the Affordable Housing Sustainable Communities program, which is encouraging, uh, growth and housing development with a affordability event around public transit.


But that is still, even with 20% ongoing appropriation from cap and trade, a relatively small amount of funds, we’ve gotta find a way to increase that level of funds. The other thing I would say though is beyond ation, we have been willfully inept as a state and can progress on this front. And that’s part of the reason why we’ve pursued SB 9 22. The reality is that at times localities do not like public transit. They don’t want to encourage folks to take public transit and they find ways to stymie the progress of public transit, dedicated bus lanes, traffic light prioritization, things of those natures and hold them up in litigation. What we’ve tried to do is create a path or we can actually focus on, on transit prioritization. And so those be I think a few areas where I would touch on. The final thing that I would offer a plug is really transit operations funding.


The reality is that for decades, the federal and the state government have prioritized capital investments over operations. That means we build fantastic projects that don’t have the service levels that are necessary to get people to actually ride the services. And so we’ve gotta find a way to reorient, uh, that investment package toward greater operations, increased frequency, and really prove that public transit has travel time savings, travel time advantage to single out, demonstrate value, make that decision to take the train, take the bus as opposed to their cars. So those are a few things, obviously none of them, silver bullets, all of them significant uphill battles in a legislature. But those are things that without a doubt we’re going to have to pursue if we wanna see a, a change in how folks commute here in here in the state.

Naomi Doerner (37:45):

Yeah. And um, I know there was one other person that had a question, and we are definitely outta of time, but Woody, you, you’re good with this?


<laugh>. Okay. We, we’ll, we’ll go, we’ll do it

Audience (38:00):

Discussion, but kinda asked my question. So do you, when I think about public transit, it’s a public benefit. Good, right? If public transit was made to make money to live Uber Live would be making money, they’re making money, they’re not profitable. So what is the legislature? Do you have a sense of what the legislature’s sentiment is towards, uh, maybe having it be tax per individual and then public transit is free for everybody?

Michael Pimentel (38:23):

I, I would say that we have not gone to a point where the legislature and the administration have fully recognized that public transit needs to be funded as a general social service, as a general public good. I think there’s still very much a, a bent that we need to be self-sufficient. We’ve got to find a way to stand on our on two feet. And the feedback in that, in that regard has been as recent as a month ago when I was before, uh, budget committee and was being grilled by members asking, why isn’t the case that we as public transit are self-sufficient? The reality is that we are not a business and those agencies have been the most effective at collecting fair revenue relative to their operating expenses, fair box recovery or Caltrain, because of the situation we are in today where folks are not taking public transit, they aren’t commuting, diversification.


And finally have a conversation with net health schools like libraries, like I was gonna say public health, but that’s probably a wrong example, serve as those types of foundational resources that the state has to provide. But I would also say that in that same breath, federal government has to get to a point of wanting to fund transit operations. Since Ronald Reagan suffered the investments in transit operations, we have systems in urbanized areas that are the most productive, that can’t use a dime of their federal resources for operations. That is a problem. And so those types of things need to be reinvented and, and I should say reconsidered in order for us to get to that, that path of let’s fund public transit generally treated as a public good as a social service and allow for folks to be able to engage with it, perhaps for free, perhaps at the lowest fair possible. We’ve just not gone to that stage yet.

Naomi Doerner (39:52):

Well, that concludes our panel today. And I just wanna say I love that it came full circle and that was like in my heart, what I wouldn’t really hope was really hoping to see that it would land on, you know, um, yeah, talking about regulation, talking about the opportunities that we, we had before us, how it does need to really incorporate right, the needs of, um, front communities and that they really are at the center right of, of, um, of this. Uh, and um, that, you know, again, the not of a healthy, sustainable transportation system is a public transportation system that’s at the heart of that. Um, and we definitely have a lot of land use, um, and zoning, um, matters that are entangled, um, in all of this, in this conversation. Um, and that is historic in nature and that is why it’s so important that we continue to have, um, these conversations around epi, um, as well. So with that, thank you so much to our panel. Um, and thank you to Woody and Mike. Like Uber’s

Woody Hastings (Staff, TCC) (40:47):

Not making any money. Thank you, Naomi. And thank you all for tracking for this actually panel. I think now it’s time for the reception, right? Isn’t that What’s up? Oh, the, uh, table. What you got? Mark? Oh, take the take. Oh, take the centerpieces. Yes. That’s what Mark is indicating. Anybody who wants to grab it don’t get, uh,