LA Times. California will likely adopt the US’ first anti-sprawl bill this week. The bill, SB 375, is due to go before the State Assembly and Senate this week, and then to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for his signature.
An earlier version of the bill had been blocked last year.
But California’s landmark global warming law, passed in 2006, requires the state’s greenhouse gas emissions to be slashed to 1990 levels by 2020, amounting to a 30% cut over expected levels. To accomplish that, state officials say, fuel-efficient cars and factories won’t be enough. Subdivisions, commercial centers and highways must be planned so that Californians can live and work closer together, reducing the amount they drive. “Our communities must change the way they grow,” [bill sponsor incoming state Senate leader Darrell] Steinberg said.
A compromise version of the 17,000-word bill was hammered out this month and endorsed by builders, environmentalists and local officials. It will require the state's 17 metropolitan planning organizations and its regional transportation plans to meet concrete targets to reduce their global-warming emissions. The targets will be enforced by the state Air Resources Board.
The bill requires metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) to include sustainable communities strategies (SCS), as defined, in their regional transportation plans (RTPs) for the purpose of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles and light trucks in a region, aligns planning for transportation and housing, and creates specified incentives for the implementation of the strategies.
If an SCS is unable to reach the CARB target, the bill requires the MPO to show how those greenhouse gas emission targets would be achieved through alternative development patterns, infrastructure, or additional transportation measures or policies, as specified.