Transportation is now the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in Yolo County, California, and the United States.
Our situation requires that greenhouse gas emissions from transportation be zeroed out within the next decade. We must overhaul our public transportation system to be all-electric, renewable-energy powered, and true zero-emissions. We must build a 21st century transportation infrastructure that is in line with planetary health and allows us to meet our obligations in the world.
We need public transportation to be regular, accessible, and affordable within the county and for travel to Sacramento and the Bay Area. We must figure out first-and-last mile transportation so that seniors, people with disabilities, and those who live far from public transit can easily get to the bus. Taking public transit should be a breeze and even be enjoyable.
Let’s all cities and county roads bicycle and e-bike accessible, including looking at all available options for subsidized bicycle purchases, renting, repair and education.
It’s so easy to get in a car and it’s often cheaper than the Amtrak or a public bus. Why is that the case that it’s cheaper for thousands of people to commute in traffic and smog than to relax in transit to work or to visit with friends?
We need to re-envision what 21st century development looks like, making sure that grocery stores and public services are walking and biking distance from new developments. We need to be focused on developing areas that are already walking and biking distance from vital services and community life, bringing food access and services to neglected neighborhoods and think hyper-local.
Overhauling our transportation system is a massive undertaking, though not insurmountable! There are many models out there for how we can improve our transportation infrastructure and make Yolo County a leader in clean, accessible, and equitable transportation. Doing this will only be possible with strong collaboration between communities, local, state, and national governments, researchers, engineers, builders, workers, and financiers. Reminiscent of the energy of the New Deal, but towards a clean and healthy future for all.
It’s time to make things right and face the challenges head on.