Gino DiCaro

Regional planning to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

By Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications

Capitol Update, May 9, 2008 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Last year, Senator Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), the incoming President Pro Tempore of the California Senate, introduced SB 375 regarding transportation planning, travel demand models, sustainable communities strategy, and environmental review.   The bill didn’t get through the process last year, becoming a "Two-Year Bill".  It now sits in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.  

SB 375 requires transportation planning agencies to adopt a sustainable communities strategy (SCS) in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from autos and light trucks.  The SCS is based on a number of specific statutory mandates and would create an entirely new body of law.  In its current form, many of the key terms are vague, undefined or defined in a way adverse to housing and transportation projects.  New litigation risks would be introduced into the planning process at a time when the economy is slowing and new home building is at a standstill.  

For these reasons, SB 375 is not ready for prime-time and has garnered widespread opposition. Opponents also note that it jumps ahead of critical benchmarks to be set through AB 32 (the 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act, Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles).  Sufficient time needs to be taken to develop and understand AB 32 implementation guidelines before drastic new land-use changes like SB 375 should be considered.  They may conflict with or negatively impact AB 32 implementation.

Despite the significance of the bill, there has not been a coordinated debate on SB 375. Rushing this bill through the last weeks of legislative session could have drastic unintended consequences on the stated goal of reducing emissions, as well as on California’s economy.

CMTA – along with many other business organizations, transportation and taxpayer groups, labor interests and local governments – opposes this bill.

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