Similar to California’s “early efforts” in integrated planning which laid the foundation for SB 375, the State of Oregon enacted a legislative framework through SB 1059 for regional scenario planning and programs based on the HB 2001 model provided by the State’s largest MPO (Portland Metro). Additionally, Oregon is the only western state with a truly “top-down” growth strategy which gives regional planning agencies limited land use control to implement a regional vision. As in California, Oregon’s new law requires Portland Metro to develop two or more land use and transportation scenarios designed to reduce GHG emission from light vehicles while accommodating population and economic growth. However, unlike SB 375, Oregon’s HB 2001 requires the local governments within the Metro boundaries to adopt comprehensive plans and land use regulations consistent with the adopted regional scenario – contingent on ODOT and DLCD proving the technical and financial assistance needed by local governments and Metro. These agencies are currently developing technical resources in the forms of a toolkit for MPOs which includes strategies and policies along with technical tools; scenario planning guidelines; and a statewide strategic plan.
Key technical needs across the west coast states include dedicated and flexible planning funding, along with capacity to perform extensive public engagement needed as part of developing SCS plans. Technical data and staff resources are needed to incorporate co-benefit analysis on economic livability factors into the development of regional plans. Another significant capacity challenge arises from governance where different state agencies can have competing objectives, such as in California’s case where the organizations at the State level operate less collaboratively than in Oregon and Washington. California and Washington were mandated to craft a statewide plan, SB 391 and EO-09-05 respectively, addressing how integrated land use and transportation plans will achieve statewide GHG reduction targets. Both states will likely report to policy makers that there are significantly barriers to achieving the reduction targets that were legislatively outlined. In California, this will likely revolve around major financial challenges, such as lack of sufficient transit funding, which prohibit successful implementation of SB375. In Washington, the challenge is largely meeting politically-mandated GHG and VMT reduction levels that were not technically vetted for feasibility through state agencies and MPOs prior to adoption.