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SB-475 Transportation planning: sustainable communities strategies.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 02/17/2021 09:00 PM


Senate Bill
No. 475

Introduced by Senator Cortese

February 17, 2021

An act relating to environmental quality.


SB 475, as introduced, Cortese. Transportation planning: sustainable communities strategies.
Existing law requires certain transportation planning activities by designated regional transportation planning agencies, including development of a regional transportation plan. Certain of these agencies are designated under federal law as metropolitan planning organizations. As part of a regional transportation plan, existing law requires a metropolitan planning organization to adopt a sustainable communities strategy, which is designed to achieve certain targets established by the State Air Resources Board for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles and light trucks in the region. Existing law, to the extent the sustainable communities strategy is unable to achieve the greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, requires the affected metropolitan planning organization to prepare an alternative planning strategy showing how the targets may be achieved through alternative development patterns, infrastructure, or additional transportation measures or policies. Existing law requires the State Air Resources Board to review each sustainable communities strategy or alternative planning strategy to determine its effectiveness in meeting the targets, and requires certain actions by the applicable metropolitan planning organization to revise the strategy if it is found not to meet the targets.
This bill would state the intent of the Legislature to enact subsequent legislation that would make various changes to these provisions.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) Chapter 728 of the Statutes of 2008, commonly known as SB 375, aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector by requiring metropolitan planning organizations across California to adopt land use strategies and prioritize transportation investments that reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in long-range plans known as sustainable communities strategies.
(2) SB 375 strengthened the connection between transportation and land use planning and was groundbreaking in its elevation of climate to a top priority issue. Unfortunately, SB 375 has fallen short of its promise. According to the State Air Resources Board’s Draft 2020 Mobile Source Strategy and its 2018 Progress Report on SB 375, the “real-world results are falling significantly short of the SB 375 targets and are moving in the wrong direction.” While sustainable communities strategies demonstrate progress in reducing per capita vehicle miles traveled, in reality, per capita vehicle miles traveled is growing and outpacing emission gains resulting from a cleaner vehicle fleet.
(3) The provisions of SB 375 focus solely on reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, and therefore present challenges to regional agencies seeking to make progress on other important policy goals, such as social equity and climate resilience. Regional agencies are required to develop housing production plans that promote equity and ensure fair housing as part of a regional housing needs allocation, while also being mindful of minimizing hazards, such as sea level rise and fire, but current law provides no roadmap for how agencies should balance these tradeoffs.
(4)  SB 375 needs to be updated to incorporate social equity and climate resilience goals into its greenhouse gas-related goals and provide direction to regions as to how they can best facilitate win-win solutions across all three goals.
(b) It is therefore the intent of the Legislature to enact subsequent legislation that would do all of the following:
(1) Enable metropolitan planning organizations to develop sustainable communities strategies that incorporate climate resilience and social equity goals and strategies in a manner that continues to reduce per capita greenhouse gas emissions while also making progress on these goals. This expanded scope of the sustainable communities strategy will position the state’s metropolitan areas to align their long-range plans with potential future federal funding aimed at electrifying the transportation system, enhancing public transit systems, improving social equity, and providing for climate adaptation of the state’s infrastructure and communities.
(2) Require the State Air Resources Board to set regional targets for building decarbonization emission reductions.
(3) Require sustainable communities strategies to include an inventory of local building decarbonization policies, a forecast of the total anticipated emission reductions over the planning period, and a list of strategies needed to achieve the state’s regional target.
(4) Proactively align SB 375 with anticipated federal funding.