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Rebels without a cause: Yolo Causeway fight exposes hypocrisy of climate change cartel
What the Yolo Causeway looked like when it opened in 1916 between Davis and West Sacramento which made it possible for motorists to cross the 3.2-mile Yolo Bypass, which serves as a safety value to protect the State Capitol city from flooding from the Sacramento River.

An undeniable truth is emerging in Yolo County.

It is there — along the 3.2 mile causeway — that the hypocrisy of the anti-car wing of the climate change cabal is on full display.

The hypocrisy is deep-rooted in the claim it is fossil fuel that is the culprit is the major cause of manmade greenhouse gas.

According to the state agency known as the California Ocean Protection Council, greenhouse gas is dooming the Golden State.

It will raise ocean levels along the coast — as well as interior areas such as the Delta — an average of 0.8 feet over the next 30 years.

By 2100, greenhouse gases are projected to increase water levels in impacted areas by 1.6 to 3.1 feet.

The nearly $500 million project to add toll lanes in each direction of the six-lane causeway section of Interstate 80 between Davis and West Sacramento is the target of climate change groups that want to stop it.

The reason?

The groups argue Caltrans, along with other state officials, have promised to halt traffic inducing freeway projects.

The expansion endeavors such as ones envisioned to add lanes to the 120 Bypass in Manteca and Interstate 205 through Tracy, are slammed as instruments that will accelerate, or at least contribute, to climate change.

Caltrans believes the causeway project and a slew of other freeway expansion projects they are queuing up, are relieving gridlock.

And in doing so, they are reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Freeway traffic that moves at a constant speed and isn’t stop and go or not moving due to gridlock generates less greenhouse gas emissions.

The National Resources Defense Council is among those that finds fault with environmental projections Caltrans made regarding the Yolo Causeway project.

Caltrans says it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing traffic congestion.

Opponents say by easing congestion it will encourage more driving.

And to be honest, the bottom line is that it encourages more growth as it makes it easier to live father away from employment centers.

Think those that live in the Northern San Joaquin Valley and commute to the Silicon Valley and even San Francisco.

This is where the great shift in environmental analysis of the traffic impacts came into being in 2013.

A deal brokered by then Gov. Jerry Brown with Darrell Steinberg — Sacramento’s current mayor who was state Senator president pro tem at the time — negated a state law rooted in the 1970s.

That law essentially rewrote environmental rules requiring Caltrans and local jurisdictions to mitigate environmental harm that was identified with development project with solutions that essentially encourage sprawl.

The deal — which was made to fast track the environmental review process for the new arena for the Sacramento Kings — made vehicle miles driven (VMT) the new holy grail in analyzing the traffic impacts of new projects.

The idea was simple.

Reducing vehicle trips by finding ways to make cities more livable would reduce driving.

The default position for Caltrans, at least from the perspective of those manning the climate change barricades, would be not to expand the freeway system.

That primarily means adding new lanes given the odds of any new freeway route being pursued in California is now less likely than Caltrans issuing an icy road warning for driving this Fourth of July at high noon in Death Valley.

Caltrans says the Yolo Causeway project will add 110 million vehicle miles a year.

Half of that, in the transportation agency’s crystal ball, would be offset by increased bus and rail service.

As such opponents of the project designed to improve the movement of goods and reduce delays for motorists, point to what they believe is Caltrans’ hypocrisy.

California, after all, based on climate change edicts crafted in Sacramento, is supposed to reduce the overall amount of miles motorists drive in an annual basis 30 percent by 2045.

It makes the position of opponent of the Yolo Causeway appear righteous.

Except there is one little problem.

Their No. 1 argument against the endeavor is that it will increase greenhouse gas emissions.

How can it?

Especially in face of the cornerstone mandate in California’s battle against greenhouse gas emissions which is banning the sales of new vehicles that are not zero emission starting in 2035.

By 2045, based on how long people keep cars, there will clearly be significantly less fossil-fuel vehicles on the road.

If electric vehicles are clean and the answer to eliminating the bulk of manmade greenhouse gases, then the Yolo Causeway expansion project in the world the climate change crowd has carved out for California’s future won’t be much of an issue at all.

Of course, the opponents will switch to the argument it will induce growth.

But the entire premise of using vehicle miles traveled to tighten the rein on growth in California was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

If all vehicles, trucks included, are electric or powered by some other form of zero emissions technology, where are the greenhouse gas emissions?

Remember, the clarion call back in 2013 was California had to rein in growth enabling road projects in the battle against climate change.

This is not to say tweaking development patterns to reduce the miles people have to drive to get to work, shop, access service, and such doesn’t make sense.

It’s just the rule change was sold on the pressing premise of climate change.

Opposing the Yolo Causeway project is fine.

But doing so by perpetuating the lie that the California that Sacramento is creating after 2035 via the ban on new fossil fuel powered vehicle sales is all about greenhouse gas emissions is the handiwork of hypocrites.

The reason advancing the lie is essential is obvious.

If stopping road projects does nothing to save the planet in terms of claims change as they will be filled with zero emission vehicles, how many people would buy into a new California order of growth?

Do not misunderstand.

In many ways, the new order as envisioned makes sense.

The problem is people are being misled by the climate change merchants of hysteria and fear that fan public policy.

Fixing the Yolo Causeway congestion as Caltrans proposes will not ruin the planet.

Unless, that is, Sacramento backs off the 2035 mandate to kill of the sale of fossil fueled vehicles in California.

And if you think that is going to happen, then you also believe PG&E is going to permanently slash electricity rates by 50 percent.

This column is the opinion of editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinions of The Bulletin or 209 Multimedia. He can be reached at