California Cap and Trade Proceeds

The Bay Area stands to benefit from the first year of Cap and Trade proceeds. The Cap and Trade program is part of the California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) passed in 2006 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The total funds allocated in 2015 will be $832 million with eleven state agencies having responsibilities for fund disbursement.

The procedures for selection and review of projects require an application and review process, although the procedures vary among agencies.   For example, the Strategic Growth Council, lead agency for dispersing $130 million for the “Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Programs” has released guidelines for funding eligibility, held public workshops, and released funding solicitations. Awards will be announced in June 2015. By contrast, the Air Resources Board has already made most funding decisions for low carbon transportation.

SB 535 (passed in 2012) mandates that 25 percent of the moneys allocated from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund must go to projects benefiting disadvantaged communities. At least 10 percent of the funds must go to projects that are physically located within the disadvantaged communities. The California Environmental Protection Agency was given the responsibility for identifying disadvantaged communities.

Over the next years the Green House Gas Reduction Fund will increase substantially because Cap and Trade will begin to include vehicle fuels starting January 1, 2015. Look for a follow-up article later this year describing funded projects. With the Cap and Trade Budget permanently allocating 60 percent of future auction proceeds to public transit, affordable housing, sustainable communities, and high speed rail, that is where we anticipate seeing the most investment.

Regina Beatus and Cynthia Lloyd for the Climate Change Team

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