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On Quality of Life: Mass Transit; Judge James Ardaiz

Segment 1: There's no doubt that Californians love their cars, and the Central Valley is no exception. But with rising fuel prices, the struggling economy, and a desire to be more environmentally friendly, many Valley residents and leaders are looking at mass transit as an option. Last week, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that President Obama’s proposed budget sets aside $18 million to help fund a new "bus rapid transit" system for Fresno. Called by many "light rail on rubber wheels," this new "BRT" system would be the first system of its kind in the Valley. John Downs, Planning Division Manager of the City of Fresno's FAX bus service joins us to talk about what this new system may mean for the future of the Valley.

Segment II: But getting more people to use mass transit isn't just a matter of supply, it's also one of demand. Despite ambitious goals in the state’s global warming reduction bill SB 375, getting Californians to leave their cars at home is proving to be difficult. In our second segment, Louise Bedsworth, research fellow at the non-partisan Public Policy Institute of California, tells us about a new study she co-authored called "Driving Change: Reducing Vehicle Miles Traveled." The study calls for government to encourage job growth in areas served by transit, and to raise the cost of driving, in order to reach the greenhouse gas reduction goals signed into law in 2008 with SB375.

Segment III: In our final segment, recently retired State 5th District Court of Appeals Presiding Justice James Ardaiz joins us for a candid discussion about life on the bench. From the personal challenges judges face in their quest to be impartial arbiters of the law, to the role of outreach and innovation in making the judicial system’s interactions with the public, we get rare insights into perhaps the least understood branch of government.

Joe Moore is the President and General Manager of Valley Public Radio. During his tenure, he's helped lead the station through major programming changes and the COVID-19 pandemic, while maintaining the station's financial health. From 2010-2018 he served as the station's Director of Program Content. In that role, he also served as the host of Valley Edition, and helped launch and grow the station's award-winning local news department. He is a Fresno native and a graduate of California State University, Fresno.