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California's Proposed Traffic Impact Rules Rethink Congestion

California planning expert Bill Fulton discusses a long-awaited proposal from the Governor's Office of Planning and Research that would shift the state's traffic impact assessments away from their current focus on traffic congestion.

A sweeping set of recommendations for a new traffic impact assessment standard appeared late Wednesday from the California Governor's Office of Planning and Research. Under the proposal, traffic congestion would no longer be considered a significant environmental impact under the California Environmental Quality Act, and expanded roadways in congested areas would be assessed for possible growth-inducing impacts.

The recommendation would replace the “level of service” traffic congestion standard with a “vehicle miles traveled” standard in order to tether CEQA analysis more closely to other state goals, especially the greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals contained in AB 32, the state’s climate change law.

If adopted, the recommendations could have widespread implications for how traffic is mitigated under CEQA and the leverage local governments have over developers in dealing with traffic congestion issues.

Full Story: OPR's new traffic draft rethinks congestion

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