The Sacramento region: Where innovative policy is implemented

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg

Senate Bill 375 and the Sacramento region’s leadership

Senate Bill 375, authored by Senator Darrell Steinberg of Sacramento and signed by Governor Schwarzenegger in 2008, requires the California Air Resources Board (ARB) to develop regional greenhouse gas emission targets for automobiles and light trucks. Metropolitan Planning Organizations in 18 California regions, including the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG), will each create a Sustainable Communities Strategy, combining transportation and land use elements to serve as a plan for achieving the emission reductions targets.

The California Air Resources Board established the Regional Targets Advisory Committee (RTAC) and tasked the Committee with providing recommendations on the principles and methodologies for the target-setting process. SACOG Executive Director Mike McKeever served as statewide chair of the RTAC. The RTAC submitted its recommendations to the Air Resources Board on September 29, 2009.

As required by SB 375, SACOG approved regional Greenhouse Gas emission targets for passenger vehicles consistent with the State recommendations before the September 30, 2010 deadline. On August 12, 2010, the SACOG Board of Directors approved a reduction of seven percent (7%) per capita reduction for passenger vehicles by 2020 and a sixteen percent (16%) reduction by 2035 compared to 2005 levels.

On October 15, 2010, a consortium of partner agencies led by SACOG was awarded a $1.5 million grant from the Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant program, part of a new federal Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities. The Sacramento area was just one of two California applicants to be awarded funds. The grant will be used to help the Sacramento region plan for the construction of housing and employment centers in high-frequency transit areas. The funds will also be used to integrate natural resources planning with other local and regional planning helping the region to both implement the nationally-recognized SACOG Blueprint Plan and to meet the requirements of SB 375.

The leadership of the SACOG Board and Executive Director Mike McKeever, collaboration of partner agencies, and recognition in the form of funding from the federal government is critical to making the region a model in sustainable communities planning and in meeting the SB 375 passenger vehicle emission reduction targets.

Sources: Sacramento Area Council of Governments, California Air Resources Board

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