Image source does not exist News Release: 2010-09-23 California takes the first step toward more livable, sustainable communities

Release #:10-50

ARB PIO: (916) 322-2990

Stanley Young

California takes the first step toward more livable, sustainable communities

Regional targets promote more integrated planning, greater transportation choice for Californians

SACRAMENTO - Today California adopted goals for more healthy and sustainable communities that improves the way we plan and promotes more transportation choices.
Today the Air Resources Board adopted targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 and 2035 associated with passenger vehicle travel in the state's 18 Metropolitan Planning Organizations.
The proposed targets, required under SB 375 (2008, Steinberg), are designed to help coordinate land use and transportation planning. The law requires cities and counties to use the targets to help develop sustainable strategies for growth and development over the next 25 years.

Improved planning will offer a wider variety of transportation choices, including public transit and more walkable streets and cities.  It will also guide future development decisions so people can live close to where they work and play.  While the goal is to reduce greenhouse gases from passenger vehicles, it also helps clean the air in the state by reducing the amount of pollution that creates smog.

"These targets are ambitious, achievable and very good news for California communities.  Improved planning means cleaner air in our cities, less time stuck in your car, and healthier, more sustainable communities," said ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. "Cities that choose to develop Sustainable Communities Plans that meet these targets have an advantage when it comes to attracting the kinds of vibrant, healthy development that people want."

The targets adopted today were the result of intensive collaboration between ARB and the Metropolitan Planning Organizations, involving strong and consistent input from cities, municipalities and the public.

Today the Board adopted the following targets. They call for a percent reduction in per-capita emissions by the years 2020 and 2035:

In adopting these regional targets, the Board recognized and committed to help identify the funding and resources that are essential tools for regions to move forward successfully towards more sustainable communities.

With the targets now largely in place, the cities within each region will work together with their planning agency to begin developing a Sustainable Community Strategy. Each strategy, designed to accommodate the specific needs and requirements of each region, outlines where growth and development will occur, and how the transportation system can support that growth so that their region's targets can be achieved.  Cities are full partners in this process and retain full local decision making and zoning authority.

The adoption of the targets today marks a major milestone for the implementation of SB 375, the landmark bill Governor Schwarzenegger signed into law in September 2008. A 21-person advisory committee of experts issued a report in 2009 recommending that the targets be expressed as a percentage reduction of per capita greenhouse gas emissions produced from transportation, using 2005 as the baseline.

The targets adopted today include forecasts and computer modeling by the planning organizations that reflect a wide variety of strategies, including such things as: shifts towards multi-unit housing closer to a city's center, increasing the number of workers who telecommute and carpool, adding carpool lanes, or increasing the number of people who take public transit.
Regions that meet the targets may receive incentives in the form of easier access to federal funding and streamlined environmental review for development projects.
For more information on SB 375, see:

ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.