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Proposed bill would offer free public transit to California college, university students

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A proposed California bill would provide free transit passes to students attending state's community colleges, state universities and the UC campuses.

Assemblymember Chris Holden (D - Pasadena), who proposed the bill, said in a news release the reason why he introduced it was to come up with a solution to tackle climate change.

"Free transit passes for students would curb greenhouse gas emissions, reduce the financial burden of attending school and create healthier communities," Holden said. 

Dan Jacobson, the Director of Environment California, said the proposal is a "must pass bill" in 2020, because it would get young people out of their cars and into public transit.

Garo Manjikian, Holden's press secretary, said California does not have a statewide program or plan for providing students access to public transit before the proposal.

Many California college campuses already have discounted rates for students who take public transit. Sacramento State students each pay $22 a semester. 

UC Davis Spokesperson Julia Ann Easley told ABC10 that students pay about $43 to use public transit. Students spend a total of $48 for that, but $5 goes to financial aid, Easley said.

"Tremendous untapped potential for public transportation lies here, where Californians take millions of trips each day, to our public colleges and universities," said Joshua Stark, the State Policy Director for TransForm, a public transit advocacy group. "By serving students, our transit system can build long-lasting riders and advocates for public transportation."