California’s Air Resources Board has reportedly approved goals for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from automobiles and light trucks in 18 urban planning areas in the state. The goals, which are nonbinding guidelines, represent the first step toward implementing the state’s smart-growth law called the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008 (S.B. 375). Although the goals are nonbinding, local planning areas would have to demonstrate that they can meet the goals to take advantage of certain incentives under the California Environmental Quality Act. The goals for the state’s four largest regions—Southern California, San Diego, San Francisco, and Sacramento—would curb GHG emissions 7 to 8 percent per capita by 2020 and 13 to 16 percent per capita by 2035. Goals in other designated areas are less optimistic.
The law provides incentives to cities and counties to build more sustainable communities supported by a wide range of transportation options. Communities proposing projects consistent with the sustainable model detailed in the law will receive priority in the distribution of transportation funding. See BNA Daily Environment Report, September 24, 2010.