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Friedman Named Chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – Today, Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) was appointed by Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) to serve as Chair of the influential Assembly Transportation Committee.

“Every day, millions of Californians depend upon our transportation infrastructure, and the measures that move through the Assembly Transportation Committee can have a huge impact on the reliability and efficiency of our network and economy,” said Assemblymember Friedman. “As a member of this committee since 2016, it is an honor to now serve as its Chair. We have a lot of hard work ahead of us. I look forward to collaborating with my fellow committee members on meaningful and lasting change for California.”

Since 2019, Friedman has served as the Chair of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee, and has long been recognized as a statewide leader on environmental policy. Friedman’s work on air quality, California’s climate change response, and overall environmental sustainability for communities will shape her priorities in the new leadership role.

"Assemblymember Friedman has already been a strong leader on Assembly matters of particular importance. Her role as Transportation Chair will be to build on the work that has been done by the previous Chair, at the same time strengthening our focus on the future, with efforts like rail in urban areas and between work and housing centers. Her leadership and representation of a district that is in a transportation corridor make her a natural choice."

Friedman has been a member of the Assembly Transportation Committee throughout her time in the legislature. She has authored or coauthored several key pieces of transportation legislation, including measures to change the way California sets speed limits, how we invest in high-speed rail, prioritize transit and active transportation, and address the environmental impacts of the transportation sector.

For years, Friedman has been working to revise the 85th percentile rule, which determines how speed limits are set across the state, an effort that has met sharp resistance in parts of the Capitol. In 2018, Friedman authored a bill that created a Zero Traffic Fatalities Task Force, to review this methodology and other factors leading to traffic fatalities and provide recommendations to policymakers on strategies to eliminate traffic fatalities statewide. The task force concluded and released its policy recommendations in 2019. Last week, Friedman introduced AB 43 to implement their findings.

In her district, Friedman has led conversations around the future of transportation and secured millions of dollars in transportation improvements, including $20 million for the Glendale Narrows Riverwalk Bridge, a pedestrian and bike bridge connecting Glendale and Burbank to Los Angeles and Griffith Park.

“Our transportation sector is at a pivotal moment,” said Assemblymember Friedman. “Transportation related emissions are our state’s largest contributor to climate change. Pedestrians and cyclists are endangered and killed because of antiquated street engineering and the prioritization of cars. We need greater investment in mass transit to relieve congestion and improve mobility options. The world during and after this pandemic is going to be very different, and we need to be ready for that.”

The Assembly Transportation Committee jurisdiction covers the California High-Speed Rail Authority, California Highway Patrol, California Department of Transportation, the California Transportation Commission, the Department of Motor Vehicles, freight and regional transportation agencies, mobile sources of air pollution, fuels, mass transit, highways and local streets and roads, as well as vehicles, aircraft, bicycles and pedestrian facilities, and vessels.

As Chair, Assemblymember Friedman is likely to influence the committee’s efforts away from a focus on freeway and road expansions and towards forward-thinking policies such as investing in mass transit, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, zero-emission vehicles, road safety, and sustainability.