The Blogs are Out! SANDAG Adopts 2050 RTP and Sustainable Communities Strategy

Marking the first of California’s MPOs to release an RTP Update in a post SB-375 world, the SANDAG Board of Directors adopted the 2050 Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy on Friday.  The Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) is a new element of the 2050 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), as required by Senate Bill 375 (SB 375). SB 375 requires that Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) prepare a SCS as a new element of their RTPs, along with the traditional policy, action, and financial requirements.

Below is a summary and commentary from PublicCEO’s Dan Oney and NRDC’s Amanda Eakin.

 

 

SANDAG Adopts 2050 Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy

Written by  Dan Oney

October 31, 2011

On Friday, the SANDAG Board of Directors adopted the 2050 Regional Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy. The plans, which came after two years of research, revision, and public comment, represents the region’s balanced vision for the evolution of the San Diego area transportation system over the next 40 years.

“This RTP takes a balanced approach,” SANDAG Board Chair and Encinitas Deputy Mayor Jerome Stocks said. “It provides more transportation choices with an integrated system, it protects our environment, and it responsibly invests taxpayer funds.”

The 2050 RTP lays out a plan for investing an estimated $214 billion in local, state, and federal transportation funds expected to come into the region over the next 40 years.

The largest proportion of the funds will go toward transit, which will receive 36 percent of the funds in the first 10 years, with 34 percent going to highway improvements (largely for the addition of high occupancy vehicle lanes to existing freeway corridors), and 21 percent to local roads and streets. The percentage dedicated to transit will grow each decade, up to 44 percent from 2021 to 2030, 47 percent in the third decade, and 57 percent in the last decade of the plan.

Along with the 2050 RTP, the Board adopted the Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS). The SCS details how the region will reduce greenhouse gas emissions to state-mandated levels over time. The inclusion of the SCS is required by Senate Bill 375, and the San Diego region is the first in California to produce a regional transportation plan with an SCS.

The Board also adopted the Environmental Impact Report for the 2050 RTP and SCS. And the Board adopted the final Regional Housing Needs Assessment Plan.

The 2050 RTP calls for increasing transportation choices in the region through an integrated system, including vast improvements to transit and a transformed highway system that includes 130 miles of Express Lanes to accommodate carpooling, vanpooling, and transit. This new system also will:

  • Provide 156 new miles of trolley service
  • Expand and speed up COASTER service in the North Coast Corridor
  • Double transit service miles and increase frequency in key corridors
  • Dedicate $3.8 billion for regional and local bicycle and pedestrian projects
  • Create new carpool and telework incentive programs to reduce solo driving

The plan also preserves our natural resources and promotes smart growth. It will:

  • Meet state greenhouse gas reduction targets
  • Preserve more than half of our land as open space, parkland and habitat
  • Accommodate housing to meet projected population growth in San Diego County

And it maximizes investments to meet the funding challenges faced by the region as we work to accomplish our many goals. The plan:

  • Stimulates $4.4 billion annually in projected regional economic output
  • Creates 35,600 jobs per year in the San Diego region
  • Calls for equitable distribution of investments throughout the region

Amanda Eaken

San Diego Adopts Nation’s First Sustainable Communities Strategy

Written by Amanda Eaken

Posted October 28, 2011

Today the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) voted 14 – 1 to adopt the first Sustainable Communities Strategy to implement SB 375 in California. After hours of public testimony and debate, SANDAG Chairman Jerome Stocks summarized his thoughts on the day, and called for the vote.

“We are the first in the state, the nation, and possibly the world to adopt a Sustainable Communities Strategy, and that does matter.”

Since this summer, NRDC has been working with SANDAG to recommend improvements to the plan, and we are pleased to see that some of our recommendations have been incorporated into the final plan, and grateful to staff for their willingness to work with us, particularly at this late date. In particular, we are pleased to see SANDAG commit to adopt an early action measure for active transportation by next summer, to develop a transit-oriented development policy to ensure its $53 billion investment in transit leads to strong ridership gains, and to develop a complete streets policy. We also appreciate SANDAG’s commitment to evaluating alternative land use scenarios through its upcoming Regional Comprehensive Plan.

But we need a clear commitment from SANDAG that these scenarios will be integratedland use and transportation scenarios which will re-assess SANDAG’s transportation network– as the Air Resources Board itself has recommended–in order to reverse the backsliding in the out years of the plan.

As co-sponsor and drafter of SB 375, NRDC never once imagined that a region would be considered to have met its targets if the GHG reductions were temporary and eroded over time. AB 32 calls for permanent reductions. SB 375 implements AB 32. We are pleased to hear Boardmember Heebner commend staff for their commitment to “address and reverse the backsliding”, as well as invite us all to keep SANDAG honest in the months and years to come.  We will honor this request and ensure that through the Regional Comprehensive Plan and next Regional Transportation Plan, that SANDAG finds a way to make sure these critical pollution reduction gains are permanent. We also hereby commit to working with SANDAG to secure the necessary transit funding to make this goal a reality.

Following quickly on the heels of adoption of this plan, the Southern California Association of Governments, SANDAG’s neighbor to the north, will consider a preferred scenario for their SB 375 plan next Thursday November 3rd at 10:30 am. Stay tuned.

 

 

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