Summary: California has identified smart growth and transportation system efficiency strategies as a major component of its plans to implement AB32, which requires a 25% reduction from 1990 levels in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. In 2008, California passed SB 375, requiring that the Air Resources Board (ARB), in consultation with the Metropolitan Planning Organizations, set regional goals for greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles. Regional transportation plans will need to incorporate those targets, and Regional Housing Needs Assessments in turn will have to be aligned with the land use component of the transportation plans. SB 375 also relaxes the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)review process] for housing projects that are consistent with plans to meet regional greenhouse gas reduction goals and ensures adequate inter-agency cooperation in the development of the regional plans.
ARB adopted final targets, expressed as percent per capita changes in emissions for each region, in September, 2010.
California also adopted AB 1358 in 2008, a bill that mandates municipalities to create long-term plans that incorporate “complete streets” goals for the physical development of their respective communities. From January 2011 onwards, city or county legislative bodies must “plan for a balanced, multimodal transportation network that meets the needs of all users of streets, roads, and highways, defined to include motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, children, persons with disabilities, seniors, movers of commercial goods, and users of public transportation, in a manner that is suitable to the rural, suburban, or urban context of the general plan.” A major objective of complete streets requirements is to expand the use of non-auto modes of transportation and thereby help to reduce vehicle miles traveled.
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Finally, the state has identified a steady stream of funding for public transit expenditures. California’s Transportation Development Act provides two sources of funding for public transit: the Location Transportation Fund and the State Transit Assistance Fund. Monies are allocated to each county based on population, taxable sales, and transit performance and are used for the development and maintenance of transit infrastructure.