From Politico’s California Pro Preview
TRANSIT FOR ALL? Speaking of buses, should California eliminate fares for public transit?
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) suggested as much in a Twitter thread that turned into a makeshift bill-crafting session Thursday.
Gonzalez said she “just spoke with the Gov-elect about my desire to use cap and trade funds to make public transit free for all riders under 25. (A pilot program to start.) He didn’t say yes, but he didn’t say no either.”
In response to a suggestion that those with means should still pay, she added: “I actually think it should be free, especially for younger folks. We need to grow transit riders, and transit should serve our school aged kids … a generation of change is necessary to reduce tailpipe emissions & GHG.”
Alvaro S. Sanchez of the Greenlining Institute environmental equity team said his group has “the same idea and would love to help!” Carter Rubin, mobility and climate advocate with the Natural Resources Defense Council, added that he’s “happy to help.”
The cap-and-trade program has generated about $9.4 billion so far, which has been spent on a panoply of programs including rail upgrades, low-emission freight and buses, transit-adjacent housing and methane capture at dairies. Roughly a quarter of the proceeds are reserved for the state’s high-speed rail project, and another 35 percent are reserved for disadvantaged and low-income communities.