The Rest of the Story: From SB 375 to the First Sustainable Communities Strategies in the San Joaquin Valley

APA California, Central Section


Saturday, August 23, 2014
9:30 a.m. - noon PDT

Fresno, CA, United States

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In 2006, the State of California passed the Global Warming Solutions Act, also known as Assembly Bill 32 (AB 32). In so doing, the State became the first in the Nation to making a long-term commitment to addressing climate change, and doing so in a way that aims to improve the environment, protect natural resources and support the robust economy of the State. In 2008, the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act, also known as Senate Bill 375 (SB 375), required agencies throughout the State of California to be heavily involved planning and implementing activities that aim to accomplish the intent of both bills: the reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has been charged with greenhouse gas reduction targets associated with the bills that would reduce the emissions levels of such gases to 1990 levels by the year 2020. Specific to the transportation sector, CARB has placed a requirement on each Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) in the State to formulate and maintain a Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) within their Regional Transportation Plan (RTP). This summer the eight San Joaquin Valley MPOs have reached the adoption phases of these long-range planning efforts – and are in the midst of currently addressing the legal, environmental and social challenges of incorporating these plans into the transportation planning world of California. This presentation will focus on the legal ins and outs of an SCS, how it is formulated, what implementation means legally and logistically for each MPO and the Valley as a whole, and agencies that have the most crucial roles in implementation leading to the achievement of the goals set by the State. The basic layout of the program follows: • Introduction: The legal background that created the SCS requirement o AB 32 and SB 375 o Legal challenges associated with SCS development and implementation • Collaboration: Ensuring inclusion for all stakeholders and interested parties o Working with local jurisdictions, non-governmental groups, the general public and others • Crafting the Plan: Placing an SCS into the RTP o Creating a document and plan that is internally and externally consistent • Moving into Implementation: Creating and sustaining policies and programs that support the SCS o Challenges and opportunities looking forward o Key players in the process that lies ahead