Shrayas Jatkar: Low Carbon Transportation in California
Shrayas Jatkar currently works for the Coalition for Clean Air in Sacramento where he advocates for various statewide policies that support environmental and climate justice. He was one of the main advocates for Assembly Bill 1550 (AB 1550), which was signed into law in 2016. This law increases the minimum level of investment in climate mitigation projects (e.g., affordable housing near transit, electric vehicle rebates, weatherization, urban forestry) located within and benefiting disadvantaged communities.
As a member of the Charge Ahead California Initiative, he helped secure $363M in funding for the Low Carbon Transportation Program. This was the single largest annual appropriation for the program, which provides incentive and grant funding to deploy cleaner cars, trucks, and buses in California. In terms of environmental justice, he worked to ensure that a majority of this funding will improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the communities with the heaviest pollution burden and increase low-income consumers' access to zero-emission vehicles.
One example of how this works is the Car Sharing & Mobility Options grant program. In Sacramento, for instance, the goal is to serve approximately 2,000 residents at three affordable housing communities with eight all-electric, zero-emission Kia Souls that can go over 90 miles on a single charge. Jatkar recently wrote a blog post on his organization’s website about the program, which sites clean vehicles and electric charging stations in particular neighborhoods in California where environmental hazards and social vulnerabilities to pollution are excessively high compared to other parts of the state. Consequently, the positive impact of zero-emission vehicles is much greater when driven through neighborhoods dealing with heavy traffic and severe air pollution. Every shared vehicle also helps to displace about thirteen cars on the road and supports public transit, according to Zipcar, a national leader in car-sharing that will operate the project in Sacramento.
In addition, Jatkar is advocating to make California's carbon pricing policy more just and fair (e.g., auctioning virtually all emission allowances) and leading a team of the California Cleaner Freight Coalition focused on aligning freight infrastructure projects and funding with the state's clean air and climate targets.