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California Policy Cap and Trade Education/Webinars GHG Reduction Livable Communities Local Government NewsFlash SB 375 State Policy Transportation Funding

Cap and Trade Resource Center Launches! Website + Infographic + Brochure (with a side of Podcast) 

Multi-Media Transportation Policy

This month, Policy in Motion is pleased to announce two exciting communications projects that will help local governments and interested stakeholders better understand the basics of transportation planning and new grant funding opportunities under California’s new Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.

If you happen to be one of the 216,000 people following Streetsblog podcaster, Jeff Wood, on twitter you may have heard that Policy in Motion’s Lauren Michele was recently featured on a podcast called Remaking California’s Transportation System for People and Their Environment. This first podcast in a three part series looks at California’s move to change the way transportation is funded and organized at the state level. With major environmental laws passed in the last decade that focus on reducing greenhouse gasses, California is on the cusp of great change. Lauren Michele and Kate White, Deputy Secretary for Environmental Policy and Housing at CALSTA, were hosted in Part 1 to talk about the new laws and the consolidation of state transportation departments under one agency.  Listen to the 13 minute segment on-line or on your phone here.

Policy in Motion worked with the Institute for Local Government (ILG) to launch a new “Cap and Trade Resource Center” this month – a one stop shop for locals to get a reader’s digest version of how California’s cap and trade program works, and what grant funding is available for local governments.  Lauren Michele developed the content and materials for ILG’s Resource Center, which summarizes 13 new and existing state agency grant programs funded through AB 32 cap and trade auction revenues that could fund or support local government sustainability efforts.

The information can be found on-line at ILG’s website, downloaded as a full brochure, and/or viewed as an Infographic!

Lauren Michele, Principal / Founder, Policy in Motion.

Lauren earned a Master’s of Science degree from the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies after working as a transportation planning professional at Fehr & Peers, a climate change policy analyst at the Center for Clean Air Policy in Washington D.C., and an air quality program assistant at the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District.  At the UC Davis Urban Land Use and Transportation Center (ULTRANS) she focused on the links between California’s Senate Bill 375 and developing federal climate/energy legislation and the transportation reauthorization.  Her academic work includes teaching undergraduate courses in Transportation Policy at UC Davis and experiential learning while living and researching multi-modal transportation planning in Europe.

Lauren organized and served as Policy Director for the Transportation Coalition for Livable Communities — a coalition which includes the California Alliance for Jobs, California Transit Association, National Resources Defense Council, League of California Cities, State Association of Counties, and the Metropolitan Planning Organizations and Councils of Governments throughout the state. The Coalition promotes the investment of cap and trade revenue to address both the greenhouse gas reduction goals of AB 32 and critical transportation system maintenance and operation needs that build on the framework of SB 375 and other GHG reduction strategies.

Her firm, Policy in Motion, specializes in sustainable transportation policy.  Policy in Motion offers planning practitioners, policy makers, and public agencies an understanding of how to integrate sustainability policy into transportation infrastructure and land use decisions.  Lauren Michele’s 2011 book, “Policy in Motion: Transportation Planning in California after AB 32” explores the State’s evolving policies for sustainable living through transportation planning, and identifies how outdated regulatory frameworks must be aligned with supporting paradigm shifts if California is to move forward in a truly unified vision for “People-Oriented Development” and transportation.  Lauren’s 2012 film documentary, “Policy in Motion: Growing Beautiful Communities” continues to explore how an integrated approach to transportation planning and funding based on “People-Oriented Development” (POD) can improve community quality of life while meeting California’s environmental and economic goals. Policy in Motion’s book and film are available for purchase on-line at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and www.policyinmotion.com.

 

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NewsFlash

$130M Approved Today for Sustainable Communities in California!

$130M Approved Today for Sustainable Communities in California!

Policy in Motion would like to applaud the Strategic Growth Council and agency partners for taking the time to revisit the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program Guidelines (AHSC) and approving them at today’s hearing.

The principle change in the guidelines was to make greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction per dollar the primary criteria for project selection.  While the public testimony was dominated by a discussion over the weight of scoring the affordability vs GHG reduction of projects, the SGC approved the updated guidelines to include the amount of GHG reduction achieved per grant dollar requested as a major focus of scoring criteria in order to ensure this program maximizes our limited dollars in the most effective way to meet our AB 32 and SB 375 goals.  Given this is the FIRST year we have done this brand new program, it is essential that we have metrics in place to assess the success of this program next year – GHG per dollar levels the playing field between large urban projects and smaller rural projects to equitably ensure that all applicable projects are competing based on how much GHG reduction they are getting from the amount of grant dollars requested.  Additionally, being able to point to this particular metric is critical for the long-term viability of the AB 32 Cap and Trade Program.  The first year AHSC program is going to yield 13-25 projects across the state that will be looked at next year as pilot examples for whether the process worked or didn’t – and the overall GHG reduction that was achieved from the total grant program will be pointed to by the Legislature, Administration, and stakeholders.

In addition to maximizing the investment in this program by highlighting GHG reduction as scoring criteria, the updated guidelines also include a greater role for the Metropolitan Planning Organizations in reviewing the applications to ensure that we are implementing regional SB 375 Sustainable Communities Strategies to best meet the needs of our communities.

GHG Methodology

Some concerns were also raised at today’s hearing regarding the use of perhaps outdated data in the CalEEMod and CMAQ tools that are to be used to score applications’ GHG reduction quantification.  CalEEMod doesn’t account for affordable housing very well, nor does it account for urban land use characteristics like the “8D’s” (major factors that reduce VMT).  These “8’Ds” are: density, diversity, design, destination, distance to transit, development scale, demographics, and demand management.  These D-factors are critical if we are to really examine how an integrated, land use and transportation project will reduce GHG emissions.  That said, new data that has been peer reviewed could be incorporated into CalEEMod.  However, why not use some of the latest tools SGC and nearly all of the state’s MPOs have been using for SB 375 GHG reduction quantification from land use already?: UrbanFootprint. What is unique about UrbanFootprint is that it is a platform that can hold whatever latest data is out there – whether that’s affordable housing or land use characteristics.  In fact, UrbanFootprint already includes a rigorous transportation and land use component based on the “8Ds.”  And what’s even cooler is that it has the capacity – with the help of pioneers like TNC and Sonoma County carving the path – to build a rigorous conservation and agriculture component so we could use ONE platform for both the AHSC program and its complimentary (smaller yet equally important younger brother program) Sustainable Agricultural Conservation and Lands Program. That way we can really look at both sides of the coin in a holistic way to implement SB 375 through both urban infill and rural conservation of land.

So What’s Next?

Project concepts are due in one month so time to roll up your sleeves!

Want More Background Info?

Check out Policy in Motion’s previous blog posts on this topic:

Lauren Michele, Principal/Founder, Policy in Motion.

Lauren earned a Master’s of Science degree from the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies after working as a transportation planning professional at Fehr & Peers, a climate change policy analyst at the Center for Clean Air Policy in Washington D.C., and an air quality program assistant at the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District.  At the UC Davis Urban Land Use and Transportation Center (ULTRANS) she focused on the links between California’s Senate Bill 375 and developing federal climate/energy legislation and the transportation reauthorization.  Her academic work includes teaching undergraduate courses in Transportation Policy at UC Davis and experiential learning while living and researching multi-modal transportation planning in Europe.

Lauren organized and served as Policy Director for the Transportation Coalition for Livable Communities — a coalition which includes the California Alliance for Jobs, California Transit Association, National Resources Defense Council, League of California Cities, State Association of Counties, and the Metropolitan Planning Organizations and Councils of Governments throughout the state. The Coalition promotes the investment of cap and trade revenue to address both the greenhouse gas reduction goals of AB 32 and critical transportation system maintenance and operation needs that build on the framework of SB 375 and other GHG reduction strategies.

Her firm, Policy in Motion, specializes in sustainable transportation policy.  Policy in Motion offers planning practitioners, policy makers, and public agencies an understanding of how to integrate sustainability policy into transportation infrastructure and land use decisions.  Lauren Michele’s 2011 book, “Policy in Motion: Transportation Planning in California after AB 32” explores the State’s evolving policies for sustainable living through transportation planning, and identifies how outdated regulatory frameworks must be aligned with supporting paradigm shifts if California is to move forward in a truly unified vision for “People-Oriented Development” and transportation.  Lauren’s 2012 film documentary, “Policy in Motion: Growing Beautiful Communities” continues to explore how an integrated approach to transportation planning and funding based on “People-Oriented Development” (POD) can improve community quality of life while meeting California’s environmental and economic goals. Policy in Motion’s book and film are available for purchase on-line at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and www.policyinmotion.com.

 

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Education/Webinars Mentorship

Happy Holidays from Policy in Motion

The holiday season is always a good time for reflection on what we’ve achieved in the transportation and sustainability planning profession, as well as thinking about the upcoming year’s goals.  However, the other 11 months of the year often fly by us in a frenzy as we are inundated with deadlines and meetings.  Here at Policy in Motion I’ve learned a trick to balancing out the immediate demands of work with long-term thinking: MENTORING

It may sound like something that just requires more time, but incorporating professional and personal mentorship into our schedules is the best thing we can do not only for our future transportation and planning leaders, but for ourselves too.

I started the Policy in Motion “Career Development” Mentorship Program in 2011 as a way to bridge student interests with real-world projects.  I’ve since worked with half a dozen high school, undergraduates, and grad school students on projects in the Sacramento region and it has been a joy to see these bright leaders go on to pursue careers in the public, private, and academic transportation sectors.

This year I have the great pleasure of mentoring a young professional through the American Planning Association’s “Planning+Leadership+Advancement+Networking” (PLAN) Mentorship Program with 10 other mentors and their mentees.  Say hello to Emily!

Emily Alice Gerhart is a recent graduate of UC Davis, with a Bachelor of Science in Community and Regional Development and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations.  She is a project coordinator at WALKSacramento, a non-profit that promotes walkable communities through active transportation planning and advocacy.  She currently works on a variety of projects, leading a Safe Routes to School project in West Sacramento, reviewing development projects and plans, and analyzing regional policies related to Complete Streets. Emily was an invited speaker at the Pedestrians Count! 2014 statewide conference in May 2014, where she gave a presentation on using social media to achieve pedestrian advocacy and outreach goals. In Fall 2014, she was accepted into the American Planning Association award-winning PLAN Sac Valley mentorship program for aspiring planners.  Emily Alice is passionate about creating safe public spaces and promoting active transportation through urban and environmental design.

Here are a few easy tips on how to help students succeed:

  • Share internship opportunities with related programs at local Universities. For example, contact Cynthia Goldberg at the UC Davis Internship and Career Center with internship announcements related to environmental planning/policy at clgoldberg@ucdavis.edu.
  • Volunteer with college outreach activities through a local professional organization, such as the Women’s Transportation Seminar, American Planning Association, Urban Land Institute, or the Institute of Transportation Engineers.
  • Encourage your agency, company, or organization to make donations to local scholarship funds.  Most professional organizations have a student scholarship program. Share information about these scholarship opportunities with local teachers and advisors.
  • Meet for coffee — invite a young professional at your organization or someone you met in a meeting out for a morning coffee.  The best mentorship is subtle, casual, and genuine.
  • Bring a student or young professional with you next time you have a WTS luncheon, ITE holiday party, APA planning program, or ULI happy hour. Introduce them to others in the field. Mentorship breeds easily :)

Happy Holidays Everyone!

 

Categories
NewsFlash

SB 375: Still Ambitious & Achievable?

Hope everyone had a Thanksgiving full of love and gratitude. Hard to believe it’s already the last month of 2014! Approaching a new year is a great time of reflection on where we’ve been and what our goals are going forward. I’d like to take this opportunity to offer some reflections on one of the key areas in the transportation sector: SB 375.

In 2008, California established a process and program for regional GHG reduction from land use — SB 375.  SB 375 was crafted to be a performance-based, yet flexible, approach to meeting greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals. It successfully blended the need for “ambitious” GHG reduction goals with an “achievable” and practical approach so that cities and counties could ultimately create significant changes in land use patterns.  Because it is actually land use, not transportation investments, that create the most GHG reduction impacts.  This successful approach emerged not magically overnight, but after a year of collaboration via the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) Regional Targets Advisory Committee who examined the best approach to create meaningful GHG reduction goals for SB 375.  And it was that process that led to every MPO creating a Sustainable Communities Strategy that actually hit the State-assigned GHG target for their region.  Remember the Alternative Planning Strategy?  That was supposed to be the Plan B for any MPO who couldn’t create a Regional Transportation Plan that hit its target — but because of the performance-based approach in the crafting of these plans, MPOs were all able to make it happen.

Now it’s time to help those responsible for IMPLEMENTING these plans — local cites and counties.  Local governments deserve the same thoughtfulness and approach that worked for the MPOs if we want to see SB 375 be truly successful.  It is the responsibility of the State to ensure that the all the great work done to date follows in the original spirit of SB 375:  tackling these ambitious GHG goals through an achievable, performance-based approach — maximizing GHG reduction while creating ample flexibility for the communities who must now implement these regional plans.

As we approach 2015 in an era of cap and trade funding possibilities, we have an incredible opportunity to make this happen.  But only if we do it right.  Lack of funding for the SB 375 process presents a threat to AB 32 and all of the existing work that CARB and the MPOs have done since 2008.  Funding individual transportation and housing projects alone that happen to be consistent with the Regional Transportation Plan isn’t really what SB 375 is about, nor is that the way to maximize ambitious GHG reduction.  Funding should be prioritized to projects that create the greatest GHG benefits under the Sustainable Communities Strategy. While the cap and trade program is a start, it needs not only more attention in the administration of the first year funding, but significantly more funding for future years.  And the only way to make the case for more funding is to show that we can do a really good job with limited resources in the first year.

So what do we need to do?  I think we need to look backward before we can look forward.  Six years ago we decided to pass a landmark bill that included in it a process for collaboration with technical, policy, and political experts.  We then identified what was needed: better transportation and land use modeling so that we could create these plans.  The Strategic Growth Council allocated $12 million in Prop 84 funding to the MPOs so that they could build modeling capacity to make this process actually take off. That’s what we need now, but it’s time to shift focus from the MPOs who have been so successful in helping us get this far and figure out how we can empower local communities to do the implementation side.  Because local agencies and institutions are at the front lines of implementing SB 375. Let’s ensure that local government gets the chance it now needs to create “ambitious and achievable” SB 375 implementation.

Cap and trade is our one shot this decade to make SB 375 work.  For the next year let’s focus on giving locals maximum flexibility to achieve maximum GHG reduction.  And the great thing?  When we empower communities to come up with their own innovative solutions they not only reduce GHG emissions even more than expected, but they maximize other community benefits like better health, better access, and better quality of life.

For more background on SB 375 check out the policy blog archives on www.policyinmotion.com for articles such as this one from 2011:Targets and Goal Setting

 

Categories
NewsFlash

ICP is the new TOD

Introducing three new words: Integrated Connectivity Projects.

Kudos to the Strategic Growth Council for coming up with a new acronym in their Draft Program Guidelines for the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program (AHSC).

The concept of the ICP is to expand the definition of TOD to include areas that have the potential to improve transit by improving other transportation infrastructure that provide access to existing or new public transit or shuttle stops.  An ICP would include at least one of the following infrastructure-related capital uses of funds:

  • Housing Developments (e.g. construction of green/vegetated roofs)
  • Housing-Related Infrastructure (e.g. water, sewer or other utility service improvements and relocation)
  • Transportation- or Transit-Related Infrastructure (e.g. the reconstruction or resurfacing of sidewalks and streets; bicycle paths; traffic calming projects like roundabouts)
  • Green Infrastructure (e.g. easements and rights of way)
  • Or Planning Implementation if combined with any of the above (e.g. analysis to update adopted General/Specific Plans, zoning ordinances which are required to implement a capital project)
  • Note: Policy in Motion strongly recommends that commercial-related infrastructure development be eligible given that commercial use near transit reduces VMT even more than housing development near transit

There would also be a variety of eligible applicants that could apply for grant funding for an ICP in their community. The Public Agency that has jurisdiction over the Project Area would be a required applicant, either by itself or jointly (co-applicant) with any of the following: Joint Powers Authority, Public Housing Authority, Transit Agency/Operators, School District, facilities district or other special district, developers (profit and/or non-profit).

The guideline’s 81 pages of flow charts and matrices are far from simple to understand at first glance (or second), but the reality is integrating land use and transportation projects are not simple problems with simple solutions.  I don’t think any of us fully understand the SGC’s guidelines at this point, but I would say that’s actually an excellent indication that we are on track to a meaningful program with real-world implementation that works.  I’d also like to give kudos to SGC for taking on an extremely complicated approach to integration of infrastructure and programs that will be difficult — but certainly not impossible — to quantify GHG emissions and co-benefits.  Leveraging the incredible work done by California’s regional and local governments will be not just important, but essential, in achieving a flexible and durable program that maximizes our goals under this program.

The purpose of the AHSC Program is to reduce GHG emissions through projects that implement land use, housing, transportation, and agricultural land preservation practices to support infill and compact development.  The AHSC Program is supported by auction proceeds derived from the California Air Resources Board’s Cap and Trade Program, and appropriated in the annual State Budget to the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. $130 million has been allocated to this program for this fiscal year.  The guidelines recommend that no less than 30 percent of these funds be allocated to Integrated Connectivity Projects and no less than 40% to Transit Oriented Development projects.  The total dollar amount is likely to double next year and see significant increases after that.

 

Lauren Michele, Principal/Founder, Policy in Motion.  Lauren earned a Master’s of Science degree from the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies after working as a transportation planning professional at Fehr & Peers, a climate change policy analyst at the Center for Clean Air Policy in Washington D.C., and an air quality program assistant at the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District.  At the UC Davis Urban Land Use and Transportation Center (ULTRANS) she focused on the links between California’s Senate Bill 375 and developing federal climate/energy legislation and the transportation reauthorization.  Her academic work includes teaching undergraduate courses in Transportation Policy at UC Davis and experiential learning while living and researching multi-modal transportation planning in Europe.

Lauren currently serves as Policy Director for the Transportation Coalition for Livable Communities — an organization which includes the California Alliance for Jobs, California Transit Association, National Resources Defense Council, League of California Cities, State Association of Counties, and the Metropolitan Planning Organizations and Councils of Governments throughout the state. The Coalition promotes the investment of cap and trade revenue to address both the greenhouse gas reduction goals of AB 32 and critical transportation system maintenance and operation needs that build on the framework of SB 375 and other GHG reduction strategies.

Her firm, Policy in Motion, specializes in sustainable transportation policy.  Policy in Motion offers planning practitioners, policy makers, and public agencies an understanding of how to integrate sustainability policy into transportation infrastructure and land use decisions.  Lauren Michele’s 2011 book, “Policy in Motion: Transportation Planning in California after AB 32” explores the State’s evolving policies for sustainable living through transportation planning, and identifies how outdated regulatory frameworks must be aligned with supporting paradigm shifts if California is to move forward in a truly unified vision for “People-Oriented Development” and transportation.  Lauren’s 2012 film documentary, “Policy in Motion: Growing Beautiful Communities” continues to explore how an integrated approach to transportation planning and funding based on “People-Oriented Development” (POD) can improve community quality of life while meeting California’s environmental and economic goals. Policy in Motion’s book and film are available for purchase on-line at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and www.policyinmotion.com.

Categories
NewsFlash

Top 5 Ways SGC Can Score Big for California

STRATEGIC GROWTH COUNCIL TO OVERSEE MILLIONS IN GRANTS FOR COMMUNITIES

With over $100 million now dedicated in the State Budget to sustainable communities and 20% of future cap and trade revenues secured, our attention turns to the California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) who will establish guidelines and oversee the implementation of this program.

The vision of the Strategic Growth Council for “healthy, vibrant, and resilient California communities” is one that lends itself to innovation, partnership, and empowerment of those communities the Council seeks to activate.  This Sustainable Communities Cap and Trade Program is a perfect opportunity to advance the vision that SGC has set forth to accomplish.

Communities and the elements that make them vibrant are complex – as much as we would like to have the same silver bullet solution across the state, the reality is that we need a funding program as robust and innovative as the communities it will serve. Likewise, we need to have a Strategic Growth Council that understands the complexities of land use, transportation, and travel behavior interactions and how to implement on the ground transformation. And that’s not simple despite how much we would all wish it to be. We need regional expertise and local engagement on our side – and that means an SGC that empowers and leverages those technical and political resources. Unfortunately, the statute passed by the Legislature to guide the spending of the cap and trade funds is ambiguous and incomplete.  It will be up to the SGC to fill in the gaps to make this program an effective complement to SB 375 and a transformative force in California land use and transportation policy.

Considering these 5 approaches could help SGC score big for California:

1) Evaluate proposals based on the regional GHG impact of the transportation investments.

2) Encourage and reward projects that are integrated with land use changes. Land use is where the big gains in GHG reduction can be found and this linkage is at the heart of SB 375. Isolated, single purpose projects don’t get the GHG reductions we need.

3) Provide local flexibility in project design. The state shouldn’t try to limit the types of projects local governments develop so long as they reduce GHG emissions and contribute to community goals.

4) Develop rigorous modeling and monitoring protocols and make the results public. Allowing flexibility at the local level works if we evaluate to a common goal—reducing regional GHG emissions—and select projects on that basis.

5) Empower the regions. SB 375 requires regions to develop and implement workable plans.  Cap and trade dollars should support those goals and help the regional agencies do the job the state has given them.
Lauren Michele, Principal/Founder, Policy in Motion.

Lauren earned a Master’s of Science degree from the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies after working as a transportation planning professional at Fehr & Peers, a climate change policy analyst at the Center for Clean Air Policy in Washington D.C., and an air quality program assistant at the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District.  At the UC Davis Urban Land Use and Transportation Center (ULTRANS) she focused on the links between California’s Senate Bill 375 and developing federal climate/energy legislation and the transportation reauthorization.  Her academic work includes teaching undergraduate courses in Transportation Policy at UC Davis and experiential learning while living and researching multi-modal transportation planning in Europe.

Lauren currently serves as Policy Director for the Transportation Coalition for Livable Communities — an organization which includes the California Alliance for Jobs, California Transit Association, National Resources Defense Council, League of California Cities, State Association of Counties, and the Metropolitan Planning Organizations and Councils of Governments throughout the state. The Coalition promotes the investment of cap and trade revenue to address both the greenhouse gas reduction goals of AB 32 and critical transportation system maintenance and operation needs that build on the framework of SB 375 and other GHG reduction strategies.

Her firm, Policy in Motion, specializes in sustainable transportation policy.  Policy in Motion offers planning practitioners, policy makers, and public agencies an understanding of how to integrate sustainability policy into transportation infrastructure and land use decisions.  Lauren Michele’s 2011 book, “Policy in Motion: Transportation Planning in California after AB 32” explores the State’s evolving policies for sustainable living through transportation planning, and identifies how outdated regulatory frameworks must be aligned with supporting paradigm shifts if California is to move forward in a truly unified vision for “People-Oriented Development” and transportation.  Lauren’s 2012 film documentary, “Policy in Motion: Growing Beautiful Communities” continues to explore how an integrated approach to transportation planning and funding based on “People-Oriented Development” (POD) can improve community quality of life while meeting California’s environmental and economic goals. Policy in Motion’s book and film are available for purchase on-line at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and www.policyinmotion.com.

 

Categories
NewsFlash

California Budget Deal on Cap and Trade Program Reached : Transportation Comes Out on Top

BUDGET CONFERENCE COMMITTEE REACHES COMPROMISE ON CAP AND TRADE

Today the Legislature put forward an agreement for how to spend AB 32 Cap and Trade revenues for Fiscal Year 2014-15, as well as an expenditure plan for future years. Policy in Motion whipped up a quick reader’s digest on The Good, The Bad, and The Beautiful:

The Good:

  • For the first year of the program’s funding (2014-15), transportation-related programs will receive over 70% of the $872 million allocated.  This includes $250M for High-Speed Rail; $25M for Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program; $25M for Low Carbon Transit Operations; $65M for Affordable Housing; $65M for Sustainable Communities; and $200M for Low Carbon Transportation.
  • For future years (beginning in 2015-16), SB 375 related programs will receive 35% of cap and trade revenues on a continuously appropriated basis.  This includes 10% for Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (administered by Caltrans and CTC); 5% for Low Carbon Transit Operations (via State Transit Assistance formula); 10% for Affordable Housing; and 10% for Sustainable Communities.
  • Additionally, the High Speed Rail Authority will receive 25% of continuously appropriated funding for the construction of the High Speed Rail.

The Bad:

  • Misses the opportunity for a competitive process to get the best projects on the ground and encourage innovation – which is really at the heart of this market-based economic approach of doing a cap and trade program.
  • Does not consider the cost of how much GHG reduction we can get per dollar spent – though it seems like a lot of money, the reality is we only have a limited amount of dollars to ensure that California meets its AB 32 greenhouse gas reduction goals.
  • No dedicated funding for active transportation – bicycling, walking, and the land use patterns necessary to facilitate bikable and walkable communities is vital for any comprehensive transportation funding program.
  • No dedicated funding for street maintenance – as we invest in new transit buses and promote urban infill development maintaining a basic state of good repair is not only necessary for the cars and buses using urban roads but is a vital piece of complete and safe streets as bicyclists and pedestrians also are users of pavement.

……And the Beautiful:

  • Now that we have funding allocated for sustainable communities we need to look forward toward working with the Administration to develop guidelines that will grow beautiful communities through “people-oriented development.” We must keep this vision through the implementation process of revenue allocation from the AB 32 cap and trade program.

Lauren Michele, Principal/Founder, Policy in Motion.

Lauren earned a Master’s of Science degree from the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies after working as a transportation planning professional at Fehr & Peers, a climate change policy analyst at the Center for Clean Air Policy in Washington D.C., and an air quality program assistant at the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District.  At the UC Davis Urban Land Use and Transportation Center (ULTRANS) she focused on the links between California’s Senate Bill 375 and developing federal climate/energy legislation and the transportation reauthorization.  Her academic work includes teaching undergraduate courses in Transportation Policy at UC Davis and experiential learning while living and researching multi-modal transportation planning in Europe.

Lauren currently serves as Policy Director for the Transportation Coalition for Livable Communities — an organization which includes the California Alliance for Jobs, California Transit Association, National Resources Defense Council, League of California Cities, State Association of Counties, and the Metropolitan Planning Organizations and Councils of Governments throughout the state. The Coalition promotes the investment of cap and trade revenue to address both the greenhouse gas reduction goals of AB 32 and critical transportation system maintenance and operation needs that build on the framework of SB 375 and other GHG reduction strategies.

Her firm, Policy in Motion, specializes in sustainable transportation policy.  Policy in Motion offers planning practitioners, policy makers, and public agencies an understanding of how to integrate sustainability policy into transportation infrastructure and land use decisions.  Lauren Michele’s 2011 book, “Policy in Motion: Transportation Planning in California after AB 32” explores the State’s evolving policies for sustainable living through transportation planning, and identifies how outdated regulatory frameworks must be aligned with supporting paradigm shifts if California is to move forward in a truly unified vision for “People-Oriented Development” and transportation.  Lauren’s 2012 film documentary, “Policy in Motion: Growing Beautiful Communities” continues to explore how an integrated approach to transportation planning and funding based on “People-Oriented Development” (POD) can improve community quality of life while meeting California’s environmental and economic goals. Policy in Motion’s book and film are available for purchase on-line at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and www.policyinmotion.com.

 

Categories
California Policy Complete Streets GHG Reduction Livable Communities Local Government Metropolitan Planning Public Transit Safe Routes to School SB 375 Sustainability

Strategic Growth Council Awards $16M in Planning Grants : Looks to Future Cap and Trade Funding

FINAL ROUND OF PROP 84 SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES PLANNING GRANTS AWARDED – WHAT’S NEXT?

Today the California Strategic Growth Council awarded over $16 million in its third and final round of Proposition 84 Sustainable Communities Planning Grants.  This successful program has sparked innovation in sustainability planning across California’s communities by incentivizing the integration of transportation, land use, and resource conservation.

The City of Davis, in partnership with Yolo County and UC Davis, received $591,108 for their “Downtown/University Gateway District Plan” proposal — which will bring together a vision for energy, water, and transportation conservation in a critical infill site located between the three jurisdictions.  Reviewed by a panel including a dozen state agency departments, the innovative plan was the highest ranking application in the state.  Policy in Motion is so grateful to have had the opportunity to help craft this proposal with the City, County, and University and is dedicated to ensuring California continues to fund the implementation of projects like this across the state.

Today was a significant milestone for the Strategic Growth Council — having now awarded over $66 million to 126 cities, counties, and regions in California under the Prop 84 funding program.  With the total grant requests vastly exceeding the available funding, it is clear that California communities are eager to plan and build a more sustainable future.

Since the passage of SB 375 in 2008 local governments have been actively seeking funding sources to make the implementation of regional Sustainable Communities Strategies not just a goal, but a reality.

We have a transformative opportunity under California’s cap and trade program to help communities do this — but we need to ensure that we create a program that focuses on three things:

  • INTEGRATION – the combination of different transportation demand management and multi modal infrastructure is essential for not only maximizing greenhouse gas emissions, but also for cost effective investments in our communities. A Sustainable Communities Implementation Program that focuses on real projects and programs in communities would allow for innovative and integrated transportation solutions — for some communities that might be electric car sharing, others may need a central transit station, a bike trail that links across town, or a landscaped street to encourage walking. We need to empower local governments to figure out the best combinations of these investments and incentivize combined approaches because transportation is a “system” not a “silo.”
  • LAND USE – local land use planning is the most critical and most overlooked component in reducing transportation GHG emissions.  We need to take this window of opportunity to leverage sustainable changes in local land use plans, codes, and ordinances, by offering local governments much needed transportation funding that requires outdated land use plans to get a makeover. We have a critical opportunity to think about how transportation systems link and leverage land use. This is what “integration” is all about.
  • PEOPLE – we must keep in mind the cap and trade program impacts will essentially look like a new gas tax to consumers of all incomes and should keep a nexus with putting funding back into local transportation systems that serve all people — whether they be motorists, transit riders, bicyclists, or pedestrians (all of whom use some aspect of our roads). Current proposals for allocating cap and trade do not highlight the importance of this and need to include more funding for active transportation and roadway preservation. And we also must remember sustainable communities are ultimately about creating “people-oriented development” and places where families, seniors, and students all want to live, work, learn, shop, and play.  At the end of the day we want to create communities where people want to walk their dogs under tree lined streets, bike with their kids to a school nearby, take transit to work (and get there on time), and drive through roundabouts without potholes.

Cap and trade revenues will grow into billions of dollars per year in the next few years, so this source of revenue could provide the missing piece in achieving sustainable communities throughout California if done right.

But now is the time.

A performance-based approach to reducing GHG emissions is at the heart of cap and trade – it is a market mechanism geared toward innovation beyond what can be achieved purely through regulatory measures.  We have a real opportunity to use a unique funding source to re-create communities across the state.

We can do this through new sources of funding that are allocated at a regional level where the technical and policy expertise is greatest, and through competitive grants for local communities that are based on maximizing GHG reduction through combinations of transportation investments and land use changes needed to implement SB 375.

Lauren Michele, Principal/Founder, Policy in Motion.

Lauren earned a Master’s of Science degree from the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies after working as a transportation planning professional at Fehr & Peers, a climate change policy analyst at the Center for Clean Air Policy in Washington D.C., and an air quality program assistant at the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District.  At the UC Davis Urban Land Use and Transportation Center (ULTRANS) she focused on the links between California’s Senate Bill 375 and developing federal climate/energy legislation and the transportation reauthorization.  Her academic work includes teaching undergraduate courses in Transportation Policy at UC Davis and experiential learning while living and researching multi-modal transportation planning in Europe.

Lauren currently serves as Policy Director for the Transportation Coalition for Livable Communities — an organization which includes the California Alliance for Jobs, California Transit Association, National Resources Defense Council, League of California Cities, State Association of Counties, and the Metropolitan Planning Organizations and Councils of Governments throughout the state. The Coalition promotes the investment of cap and trade revenue to address both the greenhouse gas reduction goals of AB 32 and critical transportation system maintenance and operation needs that build on the framework of SB 375 and other GHG reduction strategies.

Her firm, Policy in Motion, specializes in sustainable transportation policy.  Policy in Motion offers planning practitioners, policy makers, and public agencies an understanding of how to integrate sustainability policy into transportation infrastructure and land use decisions.  Lauren Michele’s 2011 book, “Policy in Motion: Transportation Planning in California after AB 32” explores the State’s evolving policies for sustainable living through transportation planning, and identifies how outdated regulatory frameworks must be aligned with supporting paradigm shifts if California is to move forward in a truly unified vision for “People-Oriented Development” and transportation.  Lauren’s 2012 film documentary, “Policy in Motion: Growing Beautiful Communities” continues to explore how an integrated approach to transportation planning and funding based on “People-Oriented Development” (POD) can improve community quality of life while meeting California’s environmental and economic goals. Policy in Motion’s book and film are available for purchase on-line at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and www.policyinmotion.com.

 

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NewsFlash

SENATOR STEINBERG PROPOSES NEW VISION FOR CAP AND TRADE FUNDING

In 2008 California became the first state in the nation to set the course for integrated land use and transportation planning to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under Senator Steinberg’s SB 375 – for the last five years regional and local governments have been actively seeking funding sources to make the implementation of these Sustainable Communities Strategies not just a goal, but a reality.

Senator Steinberg’s proposal today is a step toward making that goal a reality.

Among the key supporters of this proposal are members of the Transportation Coalition for Livable Communities — including the League of California Cities, State Association of Counties, CALCOG, California Transit Association, and California Alliance for Jobs.  These groups have praised Senator Steinberg’s leadership on this critical issue and are committed to working with him as a more detailed proposal develops over the coming weeks.

The concepts outlined in Senator Steinberg’s Long Term Investment Strategy for Cap and Trade Revenue would empower regional and local governments to be leaders in implementing sustainable communities and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector — California’s largest source of GHG emissions.

Specifically, these elements of the proposal have the potential to make transformational changes in the planning and implementation of California’s sustainable communities:

  • A long-term funding source for SB 375 and integrated transportation and land use strategies;
  • A competitive ranking process to ensure that projects providing maximum feasible reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are funded;
  • Regional allocation of funding through the Strategic Growth Council for Sustainable Communities Strategies implementation;
  • Funding for transit construction and operations based on GHG performance criteria;
  • Funding for complete streets and roadway retrofits, maintenance, and operations based on GHG performance criteria;
  • Funding for Electric Vehicle Deployment Program;
  • Funding for construction of California High Speed Rail

By recognizing that transportation and land use investments must be integrated together in order to maximize GHG emissions and foster sustainable communities, Senator Steinberg’s approach to allocating cap and trade revenues has the potential to go beyond just “transit-oriented development” to create more “people-oriented development.”

Integration is critical for ensuring that we use our limited financial resources in the most cost-effective way. Changes in land use patterns, if properly supported with transportation infrastructure, are vastly more important to achieving more livable communities—and GHG reductions—than any transportation investment alone.

California’s MPOs are all showing trends toward sustainability. The SB 375 Sustainable Communities Strategies have laid out a vision for more compact and diverse mixes of development patterns – combined with needed investments in new and existing transit systems, active transportation programs and projects, and complete streets maintenance and operations.

Senator Steinberg’s proposal would create an integrated funding source at the regional level so that local communities can compete to reduce GHG emissions — with strategies like transit-oriented development, land use planning, active transportation, high density mixed use development, and transportation efficiency and demand management projects.

SB 375 was created to help the State achieve the GHG reduction goals of AB 32. The four largest MPOs have all adopted Sustainable Communities Strategies to meet the GHG targets and are now ready to fund integrated projects that will improve communities for all, create new jobs, and protect the environment.

Cap and trade revenues will grow into billions of dollars per year in the next few years, so this source of revenue could provide the missing piece in achieving sustainable communities throughout California.

A performance-based approach to reducing GHG emissions is at the heart of cap and trade – it is a market mechanism geared toward innovation beyond what can be achieved purely through regulatory measures.  We have a real opportunity to use a unique funding source to re-create communities across the state.

We can do this through new sources of funding that are allocated at a regional level where the technical and policy expertise is greatest, and through competitive grants for local communities that are based on maximizing GHG reduction through combinations of transportation investments and land use changes needed to implement SB 375.

Lauren Michele, Principal/Founder, Policy in Motion.

Lauren earned a Master’s of Science degree from the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies after working as a transportation planning professional at Fehr & Peers, a climate change policy analyst at the Center for Clean Air Policy in Washington D.C., and an air quality program assistant at the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District.  At the UC Davis Urban Land Use and Transportation Center (ULTRANS) she focused on the links between California’s Senate Bill 375 and developing federal climate/energy legislation and the transportation reauthorization.  Her academic work includes teaching undergraduate courses in Transportation Policy at UC Davis and experiential learning while living and researching multi-modal transportation planning in Europe.

Lauren currently serves as Policy Director for the Transportation Coalition for Livable Communities — an organization which includes the California Alliance for Jobs, California Transit Association, National Resources Defense Council, League of California Cities, State Association of Counties, and the Metropolitan Planning Organizations and Councils of Governments throughout the state. The Coalition promotes the investment of cap and trade revenue to address both the greenhouse gas reduction goals of AB 32 and critical transportation system maintenance and operation needs that build on the framework of SB 375 and other GHG reduction strategies.

Her firm, Policy in Motion, specializes in sustainable transportation policy.  Policy in Motion offers planning practitioners, policy makers, and public agencies an understanding of how to integrate sustainability policy into transportation infrastructure and land use decisions.  Lauren Michele’s 2011 book, “Policy in Motion: Transportation Planning in California after AB 32” explores the State’s evolving policies for sustainable living through transportation planning, and identifies how outdated regulatory frameworks must be aligned with supporting paradigm shifts if California is to move forward in a truly unified vision for “People-Oriented Development” and transportation.  Lauren’s 2012 film documentary, “Policy in Motion: Growing Beautiful Communities” continues to explore how an integrated approach to transportation planning and funding based on “People-Oriented Development” (POD) can improve community quality of life while meeting California’s environmental and economic goals. Policy in Motion’s book and film are available for purchase on-line at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and www.policyinmotion.com.

 

Categories
NewsFlash

THE NEXT BIG VISION :: California and Global Leaders in Sustainability Convene for 2014 VerdeXchange in Los Angeles

Yesterday I had the pleasure of hearing Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti address the 2014 VerdeXchange – a green energy conference packed with leaders in sustainability from across the globe, not to mention a few of California’s own like CARB Chairman Mary Nichols, University of California President Janet Napolitano, Former Chief of Staff to Gov. Schwarzenegger Susan Kennedy, ITS-Davis Director Dan Sperling, Senior Advisor to Gov. Brown for Renewable Energy Michael Picker, and hundreds of others I had the pleasure of speaking alongside.

From auto manufactures discussing green technologies to the Urban Land Use panels on innovative community designs and “urban acupuncture,” the underlining theme of the conference seemed to convey a message of solidarity – that California’s past environmental successes have been due to great vision, that we have done seemingly insurmountable things to make that vision a reality, and that we must continue to ask ourselves: WHAT IS THE NEXT BIG VISION?

While the State has pioneered solutions to some of our greatest environmental challenges over the past few decades, largely through new technologies, I would say Mayor Garcetti really hit the nail on the head when he talked about the role of “cities as the innovation hub of the state” – because this time it is our communities that need to be pioneering the NEXT BIG VISION.

For those of you who were not able to join us in Los Angeles the past few days, I wanted to share Policy in Motion’s presentation on “Financing Sustainable Communities “ capturing how we can really empower communities like Los Angeles and other cities and counties across the state to be pioneers for our sustainability challenges.

Cap and Trade for “PODs” :: Tuesday, January 28th :: Lauren Michele, Policy in Motion

“We don’t struggle from ingredients, we struggle from how we combine them.” I wanted to open with this quote from Mayor Garcetti’s address to the VerdeXchange because it illustrates exactly what I want to talk about today: that our success lies in local innovation and integrated solutions.

It’s really a pleasure to be here at my first VerdeXchange among such leaders to talk about financing sustainable communities through new sources and approaches.  I’m here to share a concept that has been the result of my years of technical research on greenhouse gas reduction through transportation strategies, as well as my personal experiences living car-free in Sacramento for 8 years (before leasing an Electric Smart Car two weeks ago!).

The dialogue for promoting sustainable communities is often driven by a dialogue about transportation infrastructure, but if you look at all the great cities of the world and the great neighborhoods to live in you find one thing in common: they fundamentally are “people-oriented” and have evolved to include within its land use patterns the diversity of commercial, residential, retail, public space, and other services that create a quality life.

So really, sustainable communities are fundamentally People Oriented Development—not transit oriented development, not vehicle oriented development —but “POD.” We need to create PODs across California.

In looking for ways to reduce GHG emissions as required by law we see a fascinating phenomena—POD has inherently lower GHG footprint, lower infrastructure cost, AND provides a more livable community.

The great thing is when we design communities around people instead of infrastructure like roads or transit there is less dependence on it – so a reduction in vehicle miles traveled and GHG emissions becomes a co-benefit to really awesome communities.

But integration is the key.

State and federal governments have a tendency for single purpose funding programs – one pot for roads, another for active transportation, one for transit, etc. But we don’t get GHG reductions from just single purposes.

All the research points to the same central message: you get compounding reductions in GHG emissions when you combine transportation strategies with land use changes.  For example, you get a magnitude of around four times the reductions you would get with just transit when you combine transit with land use changes that increase density, and even more when the transit is linked to good pedestrian, bike, and automobile access.  So it’s not really about just funding transit – it’s about leveraging land use changes and incentivizing combinations of transportation investments across all modes.

Integration is critical for ensuring that we use our limited financial resources in the most cost-effective way.   Changes in land use, if properly supported with transportation infrastructure, are vastly more important to achieving more livable communities—and GHG reductions—than any transportation investment alone.

Compact development isn’t “one ingredient” – it’s a “combination of ingredients.” It’s buses and bike lanes, people and sidewalks, underground infrastructure, trees, apartments, coffee shops, and banks.  It’s also schools and parks, and how we connect to them safely, conveniently, and pleasantly.

Likewise “funding compact/infill development” doesn’t magically happen with the stroke of one funding source.  Local governments have to piece together funding from multiple, usually single purpose programs, to get to the kind of integration we see in vibrant and sustainable neighborhoods.

We have programs in place across California to encourage cities, counties, and regions to do smart growth and compact/infill development, to make better use of existing infrastructure, and to support transit oriented development.  What we haven’t done is evolve our transportation funding programs to align with this new vision.

A key reason for this misalignment is purely institutional—taking advantage of local government’s ability to integrate transportation investments with land use changes requires giving local and regional agencies more discretion in how they spend transportation dollars.  That decreases the level of control at the state level, and giving up control is hard to do.

SB 375 was created in 2008 to help the State achieve the GHG reduction goals of AB 32.  It requires Metropolitan Planning Organizations like SCAG here in LA to develop integrated transportation and land use strategies to achieve their assigned regional GHG targets.  The four largest MPOs have all adopted Sustainable Communities Strategies to meet the GHG targets and are now faced with the elephant in the room: how will we fund these integrated approaches.

California’s MPOs are all showing trends toward sustainability: a shift toward more compact development, more diverse transportation alternatives, and a more diverse mix of development with multi-modal, integrated transportation infrastructure.

But planning is one thing, implementation another.   Our existing funding sources for transportation tend to focus on one purpose: one program for road maintenance, one for transit capital, one for transit operations, one for bikes, one for pedestrians, one (if any) for streetscape enhancements.  While some progress has been made, the current mix of funding simply does not support the integrated strategies found in the Sustainable Communities Strategies.

So what’s the solution? The State has an opportunity to start fixing this through cap and trade revenue, or at least using that new program to provide the overarching integration funding we need to achieve the vision of sustainable communities.

The Governor’s budget proposes directing $100 million through the Strategic Growth Council—an organization founded on the notion of increasing integration of infrastructure and environmental goals—to fund planning and implementation of Sustainable Communities Strategies.

The language in the Governor’s proposal has a number of good points—recognizing the need to link land use and infrastructure, housing and transportation—but it also reverts to traditional siloed thinking is several ways.  It fails to run the funds through the MPOs, the institutions charged with implementing SCSs, instead keeping control at the state level.  It also fails to explicitly require projects to achieve the greatest GHG reductions through combining land use changes with infrastructure investments.  However, both of these deficiencies do have the potential to be corrected in the budget process.  But failure to do so will mean the state misses an opportunity to achieve the maximum benefit from its investment.

Cap and trade revenues will grow into billions of dollars per year in the next few years, so this source of revenue could provide the missing piece in achieving Sustainable Communities throughout California.

By aligning our funding and programs under an integrated approach we will shift the focus of sustainable communities toward people-oriented infrastructure rather than forcing local governments and people to conform to transportation infrastructure driven by funding steams.

So in closing, we have been cultivating a new vision across the state’s communities but also need a new vision for integrated funding approaches to support this and SB 375 implementation.  Innovation, integration, and collaboration are the key elements that underline “POD.”

A performance-based approach to reducing GHG emissions is at the heart of cap and trade – it is a market mechanism geared toward innovation beyond what can be achieved purely through regulatory measures.  We have a real opportunity to use a unique funding source to re-create communities across the state.

We can do this through new sources of funding that are allocated at a regional level where the technical and policy expertise is greatest, and through competitive grants for local communities that are based on maximizing GHG reduction through combinations of transportation investments and land use changes needed to implement SB 375.

I would be happy to talk with anyone interested in learning more about this statewide effort to support this concept and implementation!

Lauren Michele, Principal/Founder, Policy in Motion.

Lauren earned a Master’s of Science degree from the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies after working as a transportation planning professional at Fehr & Peers, a climate change policy analyst at the Center for Clean Air Policy in Washington D.C., and an air quality program assistant at the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District.  At the UC Davis Urban Land Use and Transportation Center (ULTRANS) she focused on the links between California’s Senate Bill 375 and developing federal climate/energy legislation and the transportation reauthorization.  Her academic work includes teaching undergraduate courses in Transportation Policy at UC Davis and experiential learning while living and researching multi-modal transportation planning in Europe.

Lauren currently serves as Policy Director for the Transportation Coalition for Livable Communities — an organization which includes the California Alliance for Jobs, California Transit Association, National Resources Defense Council, League of California Cities, State Association of Counties, and the Metropolitan Planning Organizations and Councils of Governments throughout the state. The Coalition promotes the investment of cap and trade revenue to address both the greenhouse gas reduction goals of AB 32 and critical transportation system maintenance and operation needs that build on the framework of SB 375 and other GHG reduction strategies.

Her firm, Policy in Motion specializes in sustainable transportation policy.  Policy in Motion offers planning practitioners, policy makers, and public agencies an understanding of how to integrate sustainability policy into transportation infrastructure and land use decisions.  Lauren Michele’s book, “Policy in Motion: Transportation Planning in California after AB 32” explores the State’s evolving policies for sustainable living through transportation planning, and identifies how outdated regulatory frameworks must be aligned with supporting paradigm shifts if California is to move forward in a truly unified vision for “People-Oriented Development” and transportation.  Lauren’s 2012 film documentary, “Policy in Motion: Growing Beautiful Communities” continues to explore how an integrated approach to transportation planning and funding based on “People-Oriented Development” (POD) can improve community quality of life while meeting California’s environmental and economic goals. Policy in Motion’s book and film are available for purchase on-line at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and www.policyinmotion.com.