The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

    Governor Newsom unveils plan for zero- emission, clean transportation

    Sonoma County’s bus fleet will undergo climate-friendly changes.

    On Friday, Oct. 27, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has approved funds for more than 100 clean transit projects in public transportation. These projects not only aim to cut pollution in the state but will make transportation options more affordable.

    Public transit in California has caused significant pollution issues statewide. According to the California Energy Commission, the state’s transportation sector was the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to 50% of the emissions. 

    Despite this, the energy agency has invested over $100 million each year to help assist its mission of transitioning public transportation to a low-carbon and zero-emission state to reach climate goals.

    With the announcement of Caltrans approving $192 million in funds for 136 clean transportation projects, the department appears to be following through with the current ambitions of the state’s energy commission. 

    According to the governor’s office, Newsom states that the completion of these projects will also make it easier for people to transport and get around. “These programs are key to our climate goals – building charging stations, getting more EV buses on the roads, and reducing costs for public transit,” Newsom said.

    Iris Pedraza, a second-year business student at SSU, was pleased with the announcement but also thinks the state can make additional improvements in public transit. “I feel like it is a great course of action, and it can be a great start, but I also believe some of the funding should go to making public transportation more efficient,” Pedraza said. 

    Despite believing the funding to be a step in the right direction, Pedraza also thinks more is needed to combat climate change and prevent its worst potential effects besides improving transportation. “Transportation is only emitting a small portion of pollution compared to manufacturing plants,” Pedraza said. 

    Pedraza states that California needs to bring general awareness to residents to achieve its climate goals. “I believe bringing more awareness to the topic also mobilizes people to find more ways to combat climate change,” Pedraza said.

    The news of the funding comes more than three weeks after the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors approved plans to construct an electric bus charging facility in Santa Rosa for Sonoma County Transit, which has SSU as one of its stopping locations. 

    According to Sonoma Public Infrastructure, architects designed the yet-to-be-built facility to charge up to 32 vehicles, with the electric transit buses ranging in size from 30 to 40 feet. The project costs around $4.8 million and is set to be completed by June 2024. 

    Supervisor Chris Coursey stated that the plan was a direct investment in the health and well-being of Sonoma County communities. “It reflects our commitment to leading on zero-emission public transportation and stands as an important example of local government doing its part to ensure access to clean air and reliable transportation across our communities,” Coursey said.

    The Board of Supervisors also announced a “rollout plan” on May 23 of this year for county buses, ensuring that all new buses purchased in the next five years will be zero-emission vehicles. Additionally, the plan aims to have all fossil-fueled buses retired by 2040.

    For more information on California’s clean transit goals, visit the California Energy Commission website and select the ‘Programs & Topics’ section. 

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    About the Contributor
    Christian Core
    Christian Core, Staff Writer
    Christian Core is a third year communication major at Sonoma State.
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