How to contact the Governor:
Click here to go to the Governor’s contact page.
Fill out the contact form (Select Environmental Issues/concerns as the Topic). Feel free to use and personalize the template letter below as the email message.
Dial the phone number provided on the website. Introduce yourself and clearly state your position. Feel free to use the talking points below to support your message.
Dear Governor Newsom,
I am contacting you today to urge that California set a moratorium on highway widenings until an audit of Caltrans is completed. It has recently come to light that Caltrans is using road widening funding to add additional lanes to the Yolo I-80 project. Not only is this a misappropriation of taxpayer dollars, but continuing to construct highway widening projects while California faces the highest rate of air pollution in the United States and worsening climate change impacts is irresponsible and moves California further away from achieving its climate targets. As a leader on climate solutions for the nation and the rest of the world, I urge you to consider putting a pause on projects that do not move our state toward building a sustainable transportation system.
[Feel free to add a personalized message here. You can talk about how living next to a highway has affected you or if air pollution is a cause of concern for you and your family]
Thank you in advance for your leadership in protecting the lives of Californians from the harmful and often deadly effects of air pollution and climate change. As a resident of this state, the fact that California continues to score high on ozone and particulate matter pollution is concerning to me as it threatens to affect my and my family’s health. Since reducing the number of cars on the road will help reduce air pollutants and greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, I urge you to consider pausing projects that build additional highway lanes to protect the health and lives of Californians like me.
[Your Name Here]
- 40 counties in California are currently in nonattainment under the Federal Clean Air Act.
- 12 of those counties have air pollution levels that are considered extreme
- Most of them fail to meet the Ozone or Particulate Matter (PM2.5) criteria
- Traffic pollution can cause premature death and cardiovascular diseases such as lung cancer, asthma, heart attacks
- Children exposed to air pollution are more at risk for asthma and reduced lung growth
- 72 million people in the U.S. live near highways and are more likely to be low-income or people of color
- People of color communities are 61% more likely to live in areas impacted by unhealthy air
- Highway widenings do not:
- Reduce Traffic – Through a process known as induced demand, additional lanes create more space for cars which quickly fill up by drivers, creating more traffic on the road
- Improve Safety – By increasing the number of cars on the road, highway widenings increase the rate of car accidents
- Improve Accessibility – Low-income households still struggle to reach their destination due to the high costs of car ownership and highways were traditionally built through people of color neighborhoods.
- Improve the Economy – Highway widening projects do not create long-term job opportunities (as opposed to investments in public transit) and have been found to not substantially benefit regional economies.
- Once a highway is built, it is very difficult to mitigate the increase in air pollution through investments in public transit, or biking and walking infrastructure.
- Lane miles have increased by 5% in the last 4 years.
- 80% (or $18.2 Billion) of state transportation funding is spent on projects that result in increased traffic on the road or maintain the status quo.