New SPUR Report Shows Massive Statewide Benefit of Senator Wiener’s Legislation to Streamline Sustainable Transportation

April 13, 2022

SAN FRANCISCO - SPUR announced the publication of its new report, Accelerating Sustainable Transportation in California: An analysis of Senate Bill 288 and recommendations to extend and improve the law. Senate Bill 288, authored by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and passed into law in 2020, accelerates sustainable transit and active transportation projects in urban areas of the state. 
This progress report shows the results of a survey conducted in the summer of 2021, less than a year since the bill was enacted. In that short time, 15 projects have been built to improve bus reliability and speeds, improve safety for people walking and biking, and create clean transit fleets, 11 of which were built in disadvantaged communities. This is a remarkably quick turnaround time for infrastructure projects, which can normally take years to build and drain taxpayer funds due to unnecessary delays.
Senator Wiener is now authoring legislation, SB 922, to extend and expand SB 288. SB 288 will expire in 2022 if it is not extended. Early implementation shows the promise of SB 922, and demonstrates why an extension will help create more sustainable transportation across the state. Public agencies have reported another 38 projects for which they were considering using the exemption or needed the extension to proceed; SB 922 would enable those to move forward.
Given the recently approved and historic infrastructure investments at the federal and state levels, SB 922 will help us get projects up and running in record time. This is an important moment to quickly and decisively make use of transformational funds and expand our transportation infrastructure across the state. We cannot allow sustainable transportation projects to get bogged down in years of unnecessary and expensive administrative delays when we could be revitalizing California’s transportation landscape now.
Our climate emergency demands that we double-down on projects that reduce driving and greenhouse gas emissions, such as transit and sustainable transportation.
Most projects that have used the SB 288 exemption to date are targeted improvements for walking and biking, including slow streets and active transportation projects. They have tended to be community-identified, quick-build, relatively low-cost interventions that reduce traffic volume and speed so that people can walk, bike, run and socialize safely amid COVID-related closures while reducing air and climate pollution. They have brought much-needed joy, relief and a sense of community to neighborhoods during the pandemic. Additional projects include fleet electrification infrastructure for bus projects.
The report can be read here, and contains details about the projects using the SB 288 exemption and SPUR’s policy recommendations moving forward.
“SPUR’s report makes clear what we already suspected: SB 288 is making an impact, and quickly,” said Senator Scott Wiener. “It should not take decades to build important sustainable transportation projects that will help us meet our climate goals and improve the quality of life in our cities. That’s why we must pass SB 922, and extend SB 288. With the influx of infrastructure funding coming our way, there’s no better time to get this done.”
"How we move matters to our climate, our health and our communities,” said Laura Tolkoff, Transportation Policy Director for SPUR. “Within a few months of SB 288 becoming law, transit agencies and cities built 15 projects that support sustainable mobility and access and deliver on community promises. Imagine what we can do if SB 922 were enacted."
“Improved mobility is critical to maintaining a healthy economy and a healthy environment,” said Gwen Litvak of the Bay Area Council. “SB 288 is making it easier, faster and less costly to build a wide range of public transit and sustainable transportation projects that are getting traffic off our roads and harmful emissions out of our skies. It’s imperative now that we pass SB 922 to extend and expand the great progress we’ve made under SB 288.”
"We don't have time to wait,” Jason Baker, Senior VP Infrastructure and Regional Partnerships at Silicon Valley Leadership Group. “We need to build many more projects that will help the environment while making our communities safer and healthier. SB 922 helps make that happen." 
“SB 922 is an ideal complement to increased federal and state investment in clean transportation projects. By accelerating delivery of the most sustainable transit projects, SB 922 will ensure that these new dollars are put to use quickly to the benefit of Californians statewide," said Michael Pimentel, Executive Director, California Transit Association.