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Landmark Smart Growth Bill Close to Passing in CA

CA's landmark smart growth bill, SB 375, is close to passing. It aims to reduce global warming by requiring regions to devise "sustainable community strategies".
August 23, 2008, 1pm PDT | Irvin Dawid
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"The measure (SB 375) links regional planning for housing and transportation with California's new greenhouse gas reduction goal (AB 32) enacted in 2006. The goal is to reduce greenhouse emissions to the 1990 level by 2020. That's a 30% cut from projected emissions.

"One issue everyone has been afraid to touch is land use," Steinberg says. "Everyone understands about using alternative fuel. But land use has been the third rail. AB 32 changed the equation because now land use has to be part of the solution to global warming. You can't meet our goal just with alternative fuels. You have to reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled."

"Basically the bill would work like this: Each metropolitan region would adopt a "sustainable community strategy" to encourage compact development. They'd mesh it with greenhouse emissions targets set by the California Air Resources Board, which is charged with commanding the state's fight against global warming.

And this is the key part: Transportation projects that were part of the community plan would get first dibs on the annual $5 billion in transportation money disbursed by Sacramento. (Projects approved before 2010 would be funded under the current system.)"

"Tom Adams, board president of the California League of Conservation Voters, calls the measure "the most important land-use bill in California since enactment of the Coastal Act" three decades ago."

"It is also the first legislation to link transportation funding with climate policy," he said.

"The bill is on the Assembly floor and, if passed as expected, must return to the Senate for approval of amendments. No Republican voted for the measure when it first passed the Senate last year before substantial amending. It requires only a simple majority vote."

Thanks to Jennifer Alverson

Full Story:
Published on Thursday, August 21, 2008 in LA Times
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