Senator Wiener’s Legislation to Jumpstart Sustainable Transportation Projects Passes the Assembly Natural Resources Committee
Sacramento - Today, Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) released the following statement regarding his bill, SB 288, which passed the Assembly Natural Resources Committee. SB 288 will expand CEQA statutory exemptions to speed up most of California’s sustainable transportation projects and make the approval and construction processes more streamlined and cost-effective. It is also an economic recovery bill that would make it easier to build important infrastructure projects and create jobs.
It passed by a vote of 7-1. It is sponsored by SPUR, the Bay Area Council, and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.
SB 288 would add a number of different types of projects to CEQA statutory exemptions. Exempted infrastructure projects would include: safer streets and facilities for walking and biking; faster, more efficient bus service with new bus rapid transit lines; and the installation of new zero emission bus charging infrastructure. These projects are essential not only because transit and walking and biking infrastructure are important for the general wellbeing of our cities, but because more people are walking and biking more now than ever, due to COVID-19 social distancing requirements.
SB 288 is also important in the face of the economic shutdown since COVID-19 began surging in March. California needs bold, state-wide policy solutions that help us improve our infrastructure, address climate change, and help put people back to work. SB 288 will make sustainable transportation projects more affordable and efficient with less expensive administrative delays.
Any recovery plan must also focus on addressing climate change and environmental concerns. When more people use alternatives to cars – like transit, walking and biking – greenhouse gas emissions go down. Projects like these will ensure that investment in our infrastructure and economy doesn’t come at the expense of our environment, and in fact helps lower carbon emissions and lessen our cities’ carbon footprint.
“We must prioritize sustainable infrastructure projects as we look to speed up economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and its fallout,” said Senator Scott Wiener. “The transportation projects that SB 288 would help streamline are job creators and important for the fight against climate change. It’s time to make it easier to walk, bike, and take transit in our communities, and SB 288 does just that – all while supporting our economic recovery and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.”
“SB 288 makes sustainable transportation a key part of California’s economic recovery post-COVID-19,” said Laura Tolkoff, Regional Planning Policy Director at SPUR. “Congestion is already coming back rapidly and SB 288 puts new tools in our toolbox to combat it and create new sustainable transportation infrastructure and jobs. Our environment, our health and our economy depend on it.”
“Now more than ever California needs to speed up transit, bicycle and pedestrian improvement projects that provide a cleaner, healthier and less costly alternative to automobiles,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “The Bay Area Council applauds the Assembly Natural Resources Committee for passing SB 288 today and we extend our thanks to Chair Laura Friedman and bill author Sen. Scott Wiener for their leadership in moving this important legislation forward. As we look ahead to fully reopening our economy and safely getting people back to work, SB 288 can help us avoid returning to clogged roads and highways.”