CA Gov. Newsom plans to invest billions into green infrastructure, transportation projects

Photo of electric car chargers
Kyle Garcia Takata/Staff
Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín said a key goal of the governor's $9.1 billion investments is to reduce public reliance on cars by increasing accessibility to alternative transportation methods such as walking, biking and public transportation.

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced plans to invest $9.1 billion in climate-friendly transportation and infrastructure projects in a press release Thursday.

According to the press release, the plans are part of Newsom’s California Blueprint, which also includes $2.3 billion in funding to support the movement of goods throughout the state.

“With California on the frontlines of the intensifying climate crisis, the state is committed to building a clean transportation future that protects the health of our communities, environment and economy,” Newsom said in the press release.

Transportation currently accounts for more than 50% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions, the press release notes. Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín added the number is about 59% in Berkeley and emphasized the necessity of investments in “green alternatives” to spur climate action.

Arreguín said a key goal of these investments is to reduce public reliance on cars by increasing accessibility to alternative transportation methods including walking, biking and public transportation.

“We hope to be able to match our local funding for various infrastructure projects with state funding, allowing us to accelerate the implementation of various projects to improve multimodal and complete streets,” Arreguín said in an email. “Now is the time to make investments to create the next generation of clean and resilient infrastructure.”

Although Newsom’s plans will primarily fund statewide projects, according to Arreguín, the city of Berkeley will also directly benefit from the plan.

Some funding will be directed toward supporting climate resiliency, as well as increased efforts toward clearing trash and debris off of roads to keep from polluting the Bay.

The plans also put forward a proposal for a $4.2 billion investment in the state’s high-speed rail project, according to the press release. The project will share a corridor with the Caltrain system, which is expected to be completely electrified by 2024.

“These bold investments will deliver safer, faster and greener transportation options connecting communities across the state while creating thousands of jobs and tackling our largest source of harmful pollution and emissions,” Newsom said in the press release.

In addition to the aforementioned investments, the blueprint invests $6.1 billion in support of Newsom’s commitment to decarbonizing heavy-duty vehicles and regulating that all sales of new passenger vehicles be zero-emission by 2035. Along with cars, the funding will support zero-emission trucks, transit buses and electric school transportation programs, as well as expand access to charging infrastructure for zero-emission vehicles.

Newsom’s plans were met with support from state and city officials on Twitter, who lauded its support for accessible health care and higher education in addition to transportation.

“Governor Newsom is going to war against sprawl,” said Berkeley City Councilmember Rigel Robinson in a tweet Friday. “Making downtowns more affordable, dense, & walkable is our most important strategy in combating the housing crisis and the climate crisis.”

Contact Kavya Gupta at [email protected], and follow her on Twitter at @kavyaguptta.