Cap & Trade

Briefing Continues in ARB case

TRANSDEF filed its Opening Brief in its challenge to ARB’s inclusion of HSR in its 2014 Scoping Plan. It’s been a long hard slog since we filed the case back in 2014, but things will move more quickly now. See this page for a copy of the brief, for ARB’s Opposition Brief, and for a description of the case’s complicated history over the past two years. Here’s the Brief’s Conclusion: Read More...

Cap and Trade Guidelines for Transit

TRANSDEF filed comments on January 30, 2014 on the draft Guidelines for the State Transportation Agency’s distribution of cap and trade funds to transit and intercity rail. The program, called the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program, will receive an ongoing 10% of cap and trade auction revenues. The final Guidelines were adopted today, and differed from the draft in the areas highlighted in yellow. None of the changes responded to our comments.

Our comments addressed the ongoing problem with large transportation projects: they promise too much and deliver too little, at a vastly higher price than initially promised. We wrote up a case study of MTC which we called
Politics Trumps Outcomes that identifies the politicization of project selection as the root reason why the Bay Area has lower transit ridership now than it did thirty years ago.

Suit Challenges HSR Funding: Says It Worsens Climate Change

TRANSDEF, the Transportation Solutions Defense and Education Fund, announced that it filed suit in Fresno County Superior Court today challenging the Governor's fallback funding scheme for High-Speed Rail (HSR). HSR was included in the list of measures to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions contained in the Update to the Scoping Plan recently adopted by the California Air Resources Board (ARB). The Scoping Plan is California's master strategy for responding to climate change.

TRANSDEF’s attorney, Stuart Flashman, commented: “As a former scientist, I was disappointed that ARB ignored the scientific evidence. The huge spike in cement production needed to build all the viaducts and trackways for the Governor’s high-speed rail line will result in greenhouse gas emissions far outstripping any potential benefit from the line. Including high-speed rail in the Scoping Plan runs directly counter to the legislature’s intent in AB 32 and violates the direct mandate of the law."

ARB's Scoping Plan Update

The CA Air Resources Board (ARB) is updating the 2008 Scoping Plan, which laid out the State’s plan to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) which cause global climate change. TRANSDEF filed its comments, which stress the need for clarity as to the contribution of the economic recession and higher gasoline prices to the state’s reduced GHG emissions in the past 6 years. The comments call for ARB to remove HSR as a GHG emissions reduction measure, given that it is projected to increase GHGs for decades.

Cap and Trade for HSR: Scientifically Worthless

TRANSDEF released its analysis today of the CHSRA’s Contribution of the High-Speed Rail Program to Reducing California's Greenhouse Gas Emission Levels (June 2013). In short, the construction of HSR would generate more greenhouse gases (GHGs) than it would reduce, for at least 2 decades. Because of this, it would be illegal to use cap and trade funds, which are intended to reduce GHGs, to build HSR. Read More...