California state law (Senate Bill 375) requires the California Air Resources Board to set regional targets for reducing vehicular greenhouse gas emissions. Regions that develop integrated transportation and land use plans that meet the SB 375 targets will receive benefits in consideration for State transportation funding and relief from certain of the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act. Specifically, SB375 requires:
- Each of California’s 18 Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to prepare, in conjunction with each future regional transportation plan, a Sustainable Communities Strategy designed to meet “ambitious but achievable” targets for greenhouse emission reduction
- The California Transportation Commission to maintain guidelines for travel demand models capable of reliably forecasting transportation and land use interactions and consequences for vehicle miles travelled and greenhouse emissions
- Cities and counties to revise their housing elements every eight years in conjunction with the regional transportation plan and complete any related land use zoning
- Environmental review entities relax CEQA requirements for housing developments that are consistent with a Sustainable Communities Strategy and for certain types of transit priority projects.
The Air Resources Board appointed a Regional Targets Advisory Committee (RTAC) in January 2009 to provide recommendations on factors to be considered and methodologies to be used the SB375 target setting process. The RTAC submitted its recommendations in a report to ARB on September 30, 2009. In summary, the report recommends that ARB express the targets uniformly as a statewide per capita reduction in GHG emissions from 2005 levels, and it defines a seven-step process through which MPOs will propose and justify regionally-specific adjustments to ARB in March 2010. ARB will then consider the proposals and propose draft targets by June 2010 and adopt final targets by September 30, 2010.
Click here to read the reflections of Jerry Walters, a member of the SB 375 Regional Targets Advisory Committee, on what the committee recommendations mean for transportation and land use planning in California in 2010 and beyond.