Less and less Californians are loving their cars. This is particularly noticeable with the younger generation. Getting stuck in traffic for hours and the awareness of what we are doing to the environment are two huge reasons. However, there remains a sense to a great extent that we’re stuck with our cars and our long commutes. But are we really? I think there are alternatives, and as your Lieutenant Governor I’ll be committed to exploring and, more importantly, expanding those alternatives.

The fact is, traffic in California is at an all-time high, our cities and freeways feel clogged 24/7, and the climate crisis itself demands that we find new solutions to our growing transportation needs. How do we do that? By shifting from our current car culture to more robust public transit.

Other states and countries have shown that the transition is not only possible, but that it improves people’s quality of life dramatically – freeing up our roads, ending countless wasted hours behind the wheel, and improving the very air we breathe.      

Of course, when it comes to public transit there are many forms it can take. California’s high-speed rail project, known as the Bullet Train, is one proposed solution.  Yet the potentially $100 billion cost of this project is astronomical.  Even Governor Jerry Brown has acknowledged there is little hope, under today’s administration, for any federal help with this cost.  I am keeping an open mind to this project if such funding becomes available under a new administration.

There are other innovative projects that merit consideration also.  One of these projects is the Hyperloop​ being designed by Elon Musk, who promises that this travel infrastructure can be built for far less money than the Bullet Train. Much more study needs to happen to determine both the cost and the viability of such a project. However, one of Musk’s Hyperloop models is currently being explored to connect Cleveland and Chicago​.

On a smaller, more immediate scale, we need to make mass transit systems more available in our urban centers.  Light rail already operates in cities like Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and other California cities. These systems could be expanded and improved, and more of our cities could build such systems.  Ultra-light rail systems are possibilities for urban centers as well and should be researched, tested and considered.  I am confident that most Californians will choose to build smart, clean public transit systems in their cities, especially alongside the creation of a California public bank​​ that will save taxpayers 50% on such infrastructure projects.

Of course, we need to upgrade current urban rapid transit systems and consider more bus rapid transit (BRT), hybrid and electric buses, and sustainable ferry transport.  And let’s not forget to create more safe bicycle and pedestrian paths.  While not mass transit per se, getting more people on bicycles and walking also moves us away from our massive car culture, and provides healthy exercise to boot.

Finally, we need to make sure we build affordable housing in and around public transit to make it convenient and readily accessible.

All this will bring us into a 21st Century paradigm shift away from California’s car culture into a new and promising mass transit culture.

As your Lieutenant Governor, I will chair California’s Commission for Economic Development, giving me a unique and powerful platform to push for greater investment in our state’s mass transit infrastructure. Think of how many jobs will be created if we roll up our sleeves in a statewide effort to make mass public transit a reality. And think of the millions of more jobs that people will be able to access using public transportation instead of spending hours each day behind the wheel.

This is part of the future that I envision for our state. With your help we will build it together. Stand with me in demanding that we create better mass transit for our cities and communities. It’s time to get to work.

Please join my campaign for California: gayleforcalifornia.org/donate