Priority Populations and Disadvantaged Communities

What is A Priority Population?

Priority Populations in California are identified in the California Communities Environmental Health Screening Tool Cal Enviroscreen 3.0 and are specifically targeted for investment of proceeds from the State’s Cap-and-Trade program. The goal from the investments is to improving public health, quality of life and economic opportunity in California’s most burdened communities at the same time they’re reducing pollution that causes climate change.

Background:

The availability of auction proceeds provides a unique opportunity to further the goals of AB 32 and provide benefits to disadvantaged communities. In 2012, the Legislature passed, and Governor Brown signed into law AB 1532 (Pérez, Chapter 807, Statutes of 2012) and SB 535 (De León, Chapter 830, Statutes of 2012), followed in 2016 by AB 1550 (Gomez, Chapter 369, Statutes of 2016). SB 535 and AB 1550 provide strong direction for how auction proceeds must be invested to benefit disadvantaged communities.

The legislation provides the framework for investments that can meet multiple policy objectives by requiring funds be both invested in disadvantaged communities and for the benefit of those communities.

For example, an affordable housing project located in a disadvantaged community and near transit can be complemented with a clean car sharing program that improves mobility and air quality for disadvantaged community residents. This type of complementary investment approach enhances the economic, environmental, and public health benefits to a disadvantaged community.

Legislative History:

Senate Bill (SB) 535 was passed in 2012 requiring that, in addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a quarter of the funding received from Cap-and-Trade auction proceeds must be spent towards projects that provide a meaningful and assured benefits to disadvantaged communities (DAC) (a minimum of 25 percent of the total investment are required). These investments are aimed at improving public health, quality of life, and economic opportunity in California’s most burdened communities, while reducing criteria pollutants that can negatively contribute to climate change.

In September 2016, Assembly Bill (AB) 1550 was passed, which modified SB 535. AB 1550 requires that a minimum of 25 percent of the proceeds be invested in projects that are located within and benefiting individuals living in DACs. In addition, AB 1550 requires an additional minimum of 5 percent of funds be invested in projects that benefit low-income households or communities statewide; and that an additional 5 percent be invested in projects that benefit low-income households or communities that are within a ½ mile of a DAC.

The Caltrans Priority Populations liaison facilitates programmatic outreach to Priority Populations and recipients of funding from the Transit and Intercity Capital Program (TIRCP) and the Low-Carbon Transit Operations Program (LCTOP) to achieve the objectives of Senate Bill 535 and AB 1550. The Priority Population liaison’s goal is to strengthen the coordination and partnerships between Caltrans, Community Based Organizations, Eligible Applicants, Air Resources Board (ARB), Strategic Growth Council (SGC), and the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA).

Objectives:

  • Ensure projects awarded through TIRCP and LCTOP will provide direct and meaningful benefits to Priority Populations.
  • Increase programmatic awareness of LCTOP, TIRCP, and participation between Priority Populations and eligible agencies.
  • Strengthen the coordination and partnership between State, regional and local agencies.
  • Promote outreach efforts and strategies to serve the common need in the community.
  • Aim to improve public health, quality of life and economic opportunity to reduce Greenhouse Gases in California’s most burdened communities.

How to Identify a Priority Population?

Please use Cal Enviroscreen 3.0 to help make the determination if your community is identified in a Priority Population.

SB 535 and AB 1550 requirements for allocating funds to benefit Priority Populations:

SB 535

  • Allocate at least 25 percent of the available proceeds to projects that provide benefits to disadvantaged communities.
  • Allocate at least 10 percent of the available proceeds to projects located within disadvantaged communities.

AB 1550

  • Allocate at least 25 percent of available proceeds to projects that are located within and benefiting individuals living in disadvantaged communities.
  • Allocate an additional 5 percent of available proceeds to projects that benefit low-income households or communities statewide, and
  • Allocate an additional 5 percent of available proceeds to projects that benefit low-income households or communities that are within a ½ mile of a disadvantaged community.

Please use Priority Populations to email comments or questions related to TIRCP and LCTOP

Priority Populations and Technical Assistance Legislation:

Air Resources Board Information:

For more information on the Transit, Affordable Housing, and Sustainable Communities Program (and associated programs) please visit www.caclimateinvestments.ca.gov.

This site serves as a central hub for information about California Climate Investments. Please use the same image found on the LCTOP Web page.