Mayor Eric Garcetti joined state lawmakers on June 6 in support of legislation he said would fund local public transportation and transit-oriented projects.
State Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and State Sen. Kevin de Leon visited a downtown Los Angeles transportation facility with Garcetti to discuss their plan to carve out a portion of California’s cap-and-trade proceeds for public transportation and transit-oriented development projects.
The facility where the three officials met is being renovated into a LEED-certified lot that will house 200 low-emission buses as part of a project that would be eligible for the funding proposed in the plan.
Garcetti touted the proposal as “smart legislation that would spend cap-and-trade funding where it naturally should be spent.”
“Cities are where we work, where we live, but they’re also where we pollute, so addressing the needs of cities like Los Angeles is critical in tackling climate change,” the mayor said.
California’s 2006 law, AB 32, uses a cap-and-trade system to encourage companies and organizations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
The “cap” sets a limit on the amount of pollutants that can be released a year and penalizes companies that exceed that limit. The cap is lowered 2 to 3 percent every year.
Under the “trade” part of the law, companies that fail to meet the pollution standard can buy credits from those companies whose pollution levels are below the legal maximum.
As the state’s emissions standards tighten, the allowances, or credits, would potentially become scarcer and costlier, pushing polluters to seek other strategies to meet the cap.
The legislators’ plan would create a permanent pot of money taken from revenue generated from this cap-and-trade process.
The funds would specifically benefit transportation-related projects, potentially in Los Angeles, under the Democratic senators’ plan.
“Action is long overdue, but California is preparing to lead the nation in fighting climate change, and where better to start than right here in Los Angeles,” De Leon said.
Steinberg said the fund, which could be invested into projects that put homes near public transit, would “dramatically reduce emissions” and “be a huge victory for our environment, our economy and the people of Los Angeles.”