US Green Building Council to Host LEED-ND Panel: August 12, 2010

AIA Central Valley Chapter Gallery
1400 S Street
Suite 100
Sacramento, CA 95814
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LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND), the much-anticipated and latest rating system under the LEED umbrella, has just been launched. LEED-ND integrates the principles of Smart Growth, New Urbanism, and Green Building into the first national rating system created specifically for neighborhood design. This program will introduce the new rating system and discuss its differences from the other LEED rating systems, particularly LEED for New Construction. The process for project submission will be discussed, as well as the future impacts of LEED-ND in neighborhood design.

Dan Fenoccio, Vice-President, and Martin Lewis, Senior Engineer, of Cunningham Engineering Corporation will explain the primary concepts of Smart Growth, New Urbanism, and the LEED-ND rating system. They will describe projects that are currently seeking LEED-ND certification, and analyze future trends and design implications for LEED-ND.

Jeff Caudill, Consultant for Green Building Services’ Green Communities Group, will provide first-hand experience and “lessons learned” with LEED-ND through a variety of project types. Green Building Services (GBS) has contributed to the certification of 5 LEED-ND Pilot projects thus far. This portion of the presentation will provide a description of their experience in working with a range of LEED-ND projects, including a single block mixed-use project in Portland, OR; a multiple block mixed- and multi-use project in a small town in Washington; an affordable single-family infill project in Portland, OR; and a 15-acre multi-use project in Washington, DC. From this varied experience, Green Building Services has accumulated a deep understanding of the application of the LEED-ND Pilot rating system, its challenges, and benefits. Additionally, the presentation will discuss how LEED-ND compares to other established LEED rating systems and some of the modifications made between the pilot and final rating systems.

Darin Dinsmore, an urban planner and landscape architect, will explain how to use EcoDistricts to implement smart growth, how to create a city, county or statewide program, and describe new techniques in project design and financial tools to facilitate implementation.

GBCI Credential Maintenance Program

Approved for
2 Continuing Education Hours
for LEED Professional Credential Maintenance

Activity Type:
Professional Development
Continuing Education

Project Surrounding and Public Outreach or Project Site Factors

Learning Objectives

  • Explain the primary concepts of Smart Growth and New Urbanism
  • List unique characteristics of the LEED-ND rating system
  • Understand the Prerequisite Review Process for Smart Location & Linkage
  • Identify stages of the LEED-ND certification process
  • Define terms used to describe LEED-ND projects
  • Analyze future trends and design implications for LEED-ND
  • Describe the current and future role of LEED-ND in the design and construction process and how best to integrate LEED-ND into project decision-making
  • Compare the various aspects of the LEED-ND rating system and certification process with other LEED rating systems (e.g. LEED-NC, LEED-EB, etc.)
  • Understand how modifications made to the Pilot Rating System in the Final Rating System may affect the process of LEED-ND certification
  • Understand how EcoDistricts can be used to implement smart growth
  • Learn how to create a city, county or statewide program
  • Learn new techniques in project design and financial tools to facilitate implementation


5:00 – 5:30    Registration and networking, announcements
5:30 – 7:00    Panelist presentations
7:00 – 7:15    Q&A

About the Speakers

Dan Fenoccio, P.E, Vice President, Cunningham Engineering Corporation
Dan Fenocchio serves as Vice President of Cunningham Engineering Corporation, a civil engineering, landscape architecture, and project planning firm with offices in Davis and Sacramento. Dan has directed numerous teams in the planning, design and development of a diverse range of project types, from large suburban residential to in-fill mixed-use projects on constrained sites. He has been instrumental in the company’s business planning efforts and has played a key role in the firm’s strategic positioning to support the green movement and sustainable site design techniques. With a well rounded understanding of the design and construction process, he has successfully integrated low impact development techniques into a number of LEED-certified projects. The Colonia San Martin project in Sacramento, for which Dan served as the civil engineering project manager, was named the “2009 Outstanding Stormwater Quality Project” by the California Stormwater Quality Association. Dan also serves on the Transit Oriented Development Advisory Council for the Urban Land Institute. Dan received his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from UC Davis, and is a licensed civil engineer in California.

Martin Lewis, P.E., Senior Engineer, Cunningham Engineering
A senior engineer with Cunningham Engineering, Martin has over 15 years consulting experience in civil engineering. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering Science from Oxford University and is a licensed civil engineer in New Mexico and California. His expertise lies in planning and design for urban storm drainage and municipal infrastructure. He has extensive experience in hydrologic/hydraulic modeling, and design of regional and site-scale drainage systems (including integration of Low Impact Development techniques). Martin played a key role in the University of California’s master planning for the West Village Mixed-Use Community in Davis, and continues to be instrumental in the design of that project’s first phase. West Village will be a 220-acre Zero Net Energy community on university-owned land and is implementing a variety of sustainable design components.

Jeff Caudill, AICP, LEED AP, Consultant, Green Building Services’ Green Communities Group
Jeff Caudill serves as a consultant in the Green Communities group at GBS and holds a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Portland State University. Jeff combines his experience at GBS with three previous years as a land use planner to identify innovative green building techniques at a variety of levels, including the planning, design, and construction phases of projects in the Pacific Northwest, California, and elsewhere. In these projects, Jeff provides green building expertise for a variety of design decisions and assists in certification efforts associated with the LEED-ND and LEED-NC programs. Jeff has contributed to four LEED-ND projects and a wide range of LEED-NC projects, including projects utilizing the LEED-NC Application Guide for Multiple Buildings and On-Campus Building Projects (AGMBC). In addition to LEED certification, Jeff applies his experience and knowledge of land use planning and policy development to assist governmental agencies and other public institutions in the development and implementation of green building policy and strategies. On these projects, Jeff applies a critical eye to identify appropriate and effective green building solutions at the state and local level. In 2007, Jeff’s work was recognized for excellence in land use planning (Washington Chapter of the America Planning Association) and historic preservation (Washington State Historic Preservation Office). Jeff also facilitates project eco-charrettes, completes Green Communities Site Assessments, and conducts LEED certification reviews for the USGBC. Jeff is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).

Darin Dinsmore, Principal, Darin Dinsmore & Associates
Darin Dinsmore is an innovative and award-winning urban planner and landscape architect with over 20 years of experience in helping communities to increase their livability and prosperity, reduce their ecological footprint and improve human and ecological health. Darin is also a development partner on a 250 acre Build It Green certified mixed use project. Darin’s expertise includes:

  • Drafting regional green building goals, policies and actions for Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA)
  • Writing EcoDistrict approaches for high performance neighborhoods
  • Master Plan of Railyard in Truckee, CA (LEED-ND, APA Award for Comprehensive Planning)
  • Creating Form & Performance Based Code for 5 Tahoe area counties and City of Truckee
  • Creating Regional Community Enhancement Program based on LEED-ND
  • Coordinating Built Environment Task Force and created demo projects
  • Working with Nevada City, CA, for a downtown EcoDistrict
  • Developing 30 green building types for mixed use infill projects with a construction cost ratios

Previously he served as the Director of Town Planning for The Sierra Business Council and implemented the Planning for Prosperity Program throughout the Sierra, by partnering and working with counties and communities to implement sustainable development in the region. Darin recently formed Sustainable Community Strategies (SCS) to help communities and regions address climate change as well as new state and federal policies. They also created the Tahoe Community Enhancement Program (CEP) based on LEED ND principles calibrated to local issues and opportunities. There are currently 3 LEED projects working through the CEP process. Darin also teaches through the UC Davis Extension Green Building and Sustainable Design Certificate Program on “Sustainability by Design: Retrofitting our Cities, Communities and Neighborhood”.

Public Transportation

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Education/Webinars US DOT

US DOT Increases Efforts to Attract Women Transportation Professionals

DOT 145-10
Monday, July 26, 2010
Contact:  Olivia Alair
Tel: 202-366- 4570

U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces Expanded Internship Program to Get More Women Working in Transportation

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced the expansion of an internship program designed to encourage young women to pursue careers in transportation.  Secretary LaHood made the announcement at a Women’s Small Business Day hosted by the Department of Transportation (DOT).

“Women are an essential part of today’s labor force, yet women are underrepresented in the transportation industry,” said Secretary LaHood.  “We’re saying to all the college women out there – no matter where you’re enrolled, there’s a DOT Small Business Transportation Resource Center close by to help you plug into your dream job, whether it’s an airport, an engineering or aerospace firm, a railroad, a transit agency or perhaps one of our DOT offices.”

The internship program will expand from one to ten regions of the country, enabling young women from colleges and universities across the country to participate.  It will be administered through the Department’s 11 Small Business Transportation Resource Centers.  These Centers, spread throughout the nation, provide resources, technical assistance and outreach to all 50 states and U.S. territories.  Each Center will be responsible for placing qualified female college students in transportation related internships in their regions.

The expanded program, based on a successful pilot with Spelman College that Secretary LaHood announced in 2009, is part of a broader effort by the Department of Transportation to create a pipeline of younger women coming into the transportation workforce.

“We are excited about expanding a great program that will introduce young women to transportation careers nationwide,” said Office of Small and Disadvantage Business Utilization Director Brandon Neal. “It is our goal to assist as many women as possible and continue to be the training ground for future small business owners.”

In May 2010, Secretary LaHood also signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with the Women’s Transportation Seminar International to engage women at the juncture when they’re beginning to think seriously about their futures and inspire them to pursue careers in transportation by completing undergraduate and graduate degrees in science, technology, engineering and math.  The aim is to attract and retain a new generation of women in transportation professions.

The Women’s Small Business Day at the Department of Transportation enabled small business specialists from all of the department’s operating administrations to meet with the small business owners in attendance.

The program is one of several internships and fellowship programs offered through the U.S. Department of Transportation for both high school and college age girls.  The expanded effort supports President Obama’s mission and the work of the White House Council on Women and Girls.


California Policy Education/Webinars Modeling/Tools SB 375

“SB 375 Implementation and CEQA” — Policy in Motion / Fehr & Peers Presentation on Wed July 28th in Sacramento

Miss the presentation?  Want to see it again?

View Ron Milam and Lauren Michele’s materials linked here!


Conceding they can’t find enough votes for the measure, yesterday Senate Democrats abandoned efforts to put together comprehensive climate change legislation that would seek to limit greenhouse gas emissions.  Here in the State of California’s maze of political and financial issues, the death of a federal climate bill certainly does not help our efforts to engage the public and promote change.  However, we should remember that it was the LACK of federal direction on climate change reform over the past decade that led California and 37 other states to develop Climate Action Plans (see Journalists Mourn the Death of the Federal Climate Bill)

The lack of federal direction provides an excellent opportunity for the State of California to make creative and long-lasting changes in its land use/transportation and environmental processes that thread through the State’s transportation revenue system.

You’re invited to “SB 375 IMPLEMENTATION AND CEQA” – an overview of policy and technical challenges in California.  Join us Wednesday, July 28th for this opportunity to ask questions and participate in a discussion with Lauren Michele – federal and California policy expert with Policy in Motion, and Ron Milam – Principal in Charge of Technical Development with Fehr & Peers.

  • What:     “SB 375 IMPLEMENTATION AND CEQA: Policy and Technical Challenges”
  • Who:       Ron Milam from Fehr & Peers and Lauren Michele from Policy in Motion
  • When:     Wednesday, July 28th from 12pm-1pm
  • Where:    Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District
  • RSVP:      Tuesday, July 27 to to reserve FREE LUNCH!

Please join us for an overview on how federal agency and legislative efforts tie into California’s SB 375 implementation via incentive structures, transportation/land use planning processes, and technical data collection methods and modeling tools.


More background on this topic can be found on the California Trans&Climate Policy page and in Lauren Michele’s analysis of the implications of California’s existing regulatory frameworks as presented throughout Chapter 3 of the report: “Rethinking California’s Planning Frameworks to Support Senate Bill 375: A White Paper on Local, Regional, State and Federal Climate Change Policy Reform

California Policy Federal Policy GHG Reduction NewsFlash

Journalists Mourn the Death of the Federal Climate Bill

I went ahead and titled this post in anticipation of there being a flurry of articles written on Senate Democrats pulling the plug on comprehensive climate change legislation — below are the first three I’ve seen in the last 45 minutes…..but first here’s my own take.

So what does this mean for California? The lack of federal support and direction as California tries to move forward with implementation of AB 32 and SB 375 in our own climate where Proposition 23 is gaining support to kill AB 32, a governor’s race could result in a moratorium on climate change implementation, possibility of major climate-related job loss worsens already shaky morale at the California Air Resources Board, an uncertain future for the State budget looms, and local governments have been forced to launch an “SOS” (save our services) campaign to restore funds that were raided by the same State that is “incentivizing” sustainable communities through the Strategic Growth Council.  With California’s maze of political and financial issues, the death of a comprehensive federal climate bill certainly does not help our efforts to engage the public and promote change here.  However, we should remember that it was the LACK of federal direction on climate change reform over the past decade that led California and 37 other states to develop Climate Action Plans.  The end of one effort should be taken as a signal to reassess political strategies and financial priorities, particularly in California where our goals have become greatly distanced from actual implementation success.  The lack of federal direction provides an excellent opportunity for the State of California to be forced into making creative and long-lasting changes in its funding structures and the land use/transportation and environmental processes that thread through the State’s transportation revenue system.  In any case, California needs to take action in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to the same level of importance that was executed during the Clean Air Act in the 1970s, and regional/local governments need both financial and technical support to make substantive changes in land use planning today so that the compounding effects of GHG reduction can be realized for the State’s 2050 GHG goals.

More can be found on the California Trans&Climate Policy page and in Lauren Michele’s analysis of the implications of California’s existing regulatory frameworks as presented throughout Chapter 3 of the report: “Rethinking California’s Planning Frameworks to Support Senate Bill 375: A White Paper on Local, Regional, State and Federal Climate Change Policy Reform

Download PDF from Pew Center


E&E Daily — Thursday, July 22 —

Senate Democrats today pulled the plug on comprehensive climate change legislation with their decision to move forward with a limited Gulf spill response and energy package. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) admitted the obvious today — they do not have the 60 votes to pass climate legislation. Reid placed the blame squarely on Republicans despite the fact that the 59-member Democratic caucus was never unified on cap and trade to begin with.


Senate Democrats Abandon Comprehensive Climate Bill

By Perry Bacon Jr. — Washington Post Staff Writer — Thursday, July 22, 2010; 4:22 PM

Conceding they can’t find enough votes for the measure, Senate Democrats on Thursday abandoned efforts to put together a comprehensive energy bill that would seek to limit greenhouse gas emissions, delivering a potentially fatal blow to a proposal Democrats have long touted and President Obamacampaigned on.

Instead, Democrats will push for a more limited bill that would seek to increase liability costs that oil companies would pay following spills such as the onein the Gulf of Mexico and would create additional incentives for the development of natural gas vehicles and provide rebates to people who buy products that reduce home energy use. They did not release details of the proposal, but Senate Democrats said they expected to find GOP support and pass it in the next two weeks.

Democrats have not ruled out pushing for a more comprehensive bill when Congress returns from its August recess or in the session after the November elections, although it’s not clear that any of the Democrats or Republicans who now oppose a more expansive measure would change their votes. Republicans have long argued the bill, by seeking to limit emissions, would lead to higher energy costs for American consumers, a view some conservative Democrats have also taken.

The decision to abandon the proposal was another concession to the difficult political environment Democratic leaders face, as many rank and file congressional Democrats are wary of casting any vote that could be used in political attacks by Republicans.

Democrats who advocated the broader measure didn’t hide their disappointment in falling short. Carol Browner, who heads the White House’s Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, said, “obviously everyone is disappointed,’ while Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), the primary author of the comprehensive bill, said the legislation Democrats will take up next week is “admittedly narrow.”

“We now where we are. We know we don’t have the votes,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.)

Reid blamed the GOP for blocking the bill, noting that no Republicans in the Senate had said they would back the bill. Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), who had helped write the comprehensive measure with Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Kerry, announced in June he would no longer back the measure, arguing Congress should pursue a smaller, more targeted measure.

But in truth, despite weeks of meetings to reach a compromise, Democrats themselves were deeply divided on the legislation.

Efforts to put together a major bill to limit carbon emissions and encourage the use of alternative energy sources had long been considered doomed in the Senate, even though the House approved last June a bill that would set a limit on overall emissions of greenhouse gases while allowing utilities and other emitters to trade pollution permits.

A group of Democrats whose states produce coal, such as Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) thought the bill could lead to increased energy costs in their states, while others worried about pushing such a controversial political issue after Democrats had already passed the stimulus and health-care bills.

But following the Gulf oil spill, President Obama sought to push the public and Congress to back comprehensive approach, making the case that the accident illustrated the importance of the U.S. reducing its dependence on oil. In a speech last month in Pittsburgh, he said, “The votes may not be there right now, but I intend to find them in the coming months.”

But in the weeks after the spill, Kerry, who had months ago stopped pushing the so-called cap and trade measure the House had passed, failed to win backing among his colleagues for a pared-back measure that would limit greenhouse gas emissions by electric utilities.

Kerry said Obama had pledged to stay involved and keep working for a broader bill, but the longtime senator’s remarks hinted at the challenge: he said it would pass “much sooner” than the decades it took his late colleague Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) to get comprehensive health care bill through Congress.

The decision by Democrats means that two major issues they had pledged to take on this year, energy reform and immigration, could remain unresolved before the midterm elections.


Democrats Pull Plug on Climate Bill

By: Darren Samuelsohn and Coral Davenport — July 22, 2010 01:01 PM EDT

Senate Democrats pulled the plug on climate legislation Thursday, pushing the issue off into an uncertain future ahead of midterm elections where President Barack Obama’s party is girding for a drubbing.

Rather than a long-awaited measure capping greenhouse gases — or even a more limited bill directed only at electric utilities — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will move forward next week on a bipartisan energy-only bill that responds to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and contains other more popular energy items.

“It’s easy to count to 60,” Reid said. “I could do it by the time I was in eighth grade. My point is this, we know where we are. We know we don’t have the votes [for a bill capping emissions]. This is a step forward.”

“He’s anxious to get something done before we leave in August,” Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) said of Reid. “Given the time constraints, this probably is a realistic judgment on his part.”

“We don’t have the 60 votes,” said Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). “So Sen. Reid’s a pragmatist. So rather than take us to a situation where we don’t have the votes, rather than do half-measures, let’s wait until we can get it done and get it right. So I think it’s a smart decision.”

The bill headed to the floor will not include a carbon cap or a renewable electricity standard, Bingaman said. Instead, it has low-hanging-fruit provisions dealing with the oil spill, Home Star energy efficiency upgrades, incentives for the conversion of trucking fleet to natural gas and the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) was visibly disappointed but said he isn’t giving up hope on getting “a decent bill” on climate within the next two weeks.

Still, he said, “the Republicans don’t want to cooperate on anything. On any of these major issues they vote no, and we’ve got to get some Republican votes because we don’t have unanimity in our caucus. So we’re still hoping they decide they want to govern instead of scoring political points.”

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) insisted that he, too, had hope for getting some kind of climate bill through the Senate in the next two weeks. He said he spoke with Obama Thursday and that the president had “committed to work at a more intensive pace” in the days ahead.

But the writing has been on the wall all week, with advocates lowering expectations in light of continued opposition from GOP senators and some moderate Democrats.

“I don’t believe an energy bill has ever passed off the floor in less than about three weeks,” Kerry said earlier Thursday during a town-hall style forum hosted by the Clean Energy Works, an umbrella advocacy organization that includes environmentalists, labor and religious groups. “The fact is this is a very complicated bill that has a lot of moving parts. I’m very realistic about that.”

“It’s not dying,” Kerry added. “It’s not going away…We’re going to try our best to find a way to do it in the next few weeks. If we can’t do it in the next weeks, we’ll do something that begins to do something responsibly in the short term. But this will stay out there, and we’ll be working on it; we’ll be asking you to talk to your senators and move them to understand why we have to get this done.”

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Kerry’s partner on the climate proposal, said he had no problem with Reid delaying debate on greenhouse gas caps. “If that’s the truth, it keeps the process open for negotiating a broader utilities-only bill in September,” he said.

Kerry and Lieberman are still working with the electric utility industry, including its lead trade group, the Edison Electric Institute, on a bill slicing its emissions around 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.

But other Democrats have their doubts that Kerry and Lieberman will even get time for a floor debate after the August break, especially with Reid and other senators girding up for their own reelection bids.

“We’ve got very substantial constraints on our time when we get back,” Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico said Thursday.

“I don’t think there are going to be two energy packages on the floor this year,” said Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Byron Dorgan of North Dakota. “Whatever comes to the floor on energy is going to be the package we’re going to consider.”

Public Transit Transportation Funding US DOT

FTA Study: $77.7 Billion Needed to Bring Nation’s Rail and Bus Transit Systems into ‘State of Good Repair’

FTA 22-10
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Contact: Paul Griffo
Tel: 202-366-4064

FTA Study: $77.7 Billion Needed to Bring Nation’s Rail and Bus Transit Systems into ‘State of Good Repair’
2010 Review Expands Upon Earlier Survey; Provides More Complete Assessment of Repair Backlog of Nation’s Transit Systems

A Federal Transit Administration (FTA) study released today estimates the cost of bringing the nation’s rail and bus transit systems into a state of good repair at $77.7 billion.  In addition, a yearly average of $14.4 billion would be required to maintain the systems.

FTA’s National State of Good Repair Assessment Study, requested by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood as a follow-up to the 2009 Rail Modernization Study report to Congress, provides a comprehensive analysis of the costs required to bring the nation’s rail and bus transit systems into good operating order.  The 2010 study released today is based on data provided by 36 additional rail and bus operators in both rural and urban areas.

“Transit remains one of the safest forms of transportation, but this report shows the clear need to reinvest in our bus, subway and light rail systems,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.  “As a nation, we must lead when it comes to infrastructure development and commit ourselves to rebuilding America.”

“Investment in the nation’s transit infrastructure is important to a healthy economy and most importantly, the safety and well-being of our riders,” stated Administrator Peter Rogoff. “For millions of Americans, having a safe and reliable transit system is the difference between seeing their children before bed or not, making it to work on time or arriving late, or getting to a doctor’s appointment or forgoing it.”

While most of the $77.7 billion backlog can be attributed to rail, more than 40 percent of the nation’s buses are also in poor to marginal condition.
“State of Good Repair” for the country’s transportation network is one of the five system-wide goals included in Secretary LaHood’s proposed Strategic Plan for the Department of Transportation.   The assessment is available online at .

In April, Administrator Rogoff announced the availability of $775 million through a competitive State of Good Repair funding program that will invest in the nation’s bus and bus facilities.  A review of transit agency project applications is now underway at FTA and will be announced later this year.

The FTA has received approximately 400 project applications and more than $4.2 billion in requests for the $775 million.

# # #

California Policy

Fran Inman Appointed to California Transportation Commission

By Howard Fine

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has appointed Fran Inman, senior vice president at Majestic Realty Corp., to the California Transportation Commission.

Inman, 64, has focused on infrastructure and transportation issues at Majestic. She also headed the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce’s transportation committee before becoming the organization’s chairwoman in 2009.

Inman also serves on the state Public Infrastructure Advisory Commission and the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership. She is a founding member of FuturePorts, which seeks to improve the infrastructure at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.

The California Transportation Commission meets monthly to dole out state and federal transportation dollars for projects and determine the state’s transportation priorities. Board members earn $100 for each meeting day and must be confirmed by the state Senate.

© 2010 Los Angeles Business Journal | (323) 549-5225

Federal Policy GHG Reduction NewsFlash

Merkley, Carper, Tom Udall, and Bennet Introduce Oil Independence Bill for a Stronger America

Oil Independence for a Stronger America Act Will Eliminate Dependence on Overseas Oil by 2030 and Create National Council on Energy Security

July 15, 2010

Washington, D.C.
– U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley, Tom Carper, Tom Udall, and Michael Bennet introduced legislation today to achieve American oil independence, strengthen national security, and create jobs.  The Oil Independence for a Stronger America Act will set into law the goal of achieving independence from overseas oil in the next 20 years and a specific plan for achieving it.  By committing America to developing a robust clean energy economy, the legislation would create new jobs while eliminating the national security vulnerability posed by dependence on oil from overseas to run the economy.

“America’s dependence on oil from the Middle East, Nigeria, and Venezuela makes us increasingly vulnerable to economic and national security risks,” Merkley said.  “American entrepreneurs and workers have the ingenuity and grit necessary to break this addiction to foreign oil – the challenge is whether politicians in Washington are willing to choose American strength over vulnerability.”

“I am proud to join Senator Merkley in introducing much needed legislation that sets an ambitious, but attainable, goal of eliminating all oil imports from outside of North America by 2030,” Carper said.  “The bill we are introducing today provides a comprehensive strategy to reduce oil consumption by improving energy efficiency and increasing the use of clean, renewable energy sources. Because transportation consumes 70 percent of our oil consumption, we need policies that will provide a cleaner, greener transportation fleet. That’s why I am pleased this bill takes important steps forward to increase vehicle efficiency standards and includes my CLEAN TEA legislation to provide Americans with a practical alternative to using their cars, trucks, and vans for every trip.  These are just two examples of the strategies contained in this bill that will help us end oil imports from outside North America by 2030. Senator Merkley, Tom Udall, and I will fight to include the Oil Independence for a Strong America Act of 2010 in upcoming energy legislation.”

“Our dangerous dependence on foreign oil threatens our economic, environmental and national security.  I am proud to join with Senators Merkley and Carper to introduce legislation that would help turn this global threat into a national opportunity,” Udall said.  “With our bill, we will take control of our energy future from special interests and foreign powers through the development of clean energy resources, by increasing energy efficiency, and by creating the jobs of the future here in the United States.”

To eliminate the nation’s reliance on foreign imports from non-North American countries by 2030, the bill includes steps to ramp up production and use of electric vehicles, increase travel options and improve infrastructure, develop alternative transportation fuels and reduce the use of oil to heat buildings.

The Oil Independence for a Stronger America Act also would create a National Council on Energy Security to ensure a sustained focus on reducing the use of oil.  The Council, housed in the White House, would be charged with making recommendations to the President and Congress to ensure America has a focused strategic plan for energy independence and with aligning the actions of various federal agencies.

This year, more than two-thirds of America’s oil imports will come from nations that too often do not share our goals or values.  This dependence on overseas oil costs our nation a billion dollars per day that could be used here at home.  It also prevents the United States from fully investing in home-grown American clean energy and undermines efforts to reduce pollution in our air and water.

The Oil Independence for a Stronger America Act would reduce oil consumption in the U.S. by over 8 million barrels per day by 2030, enough to end the need for oil imports from beyond North America.

Reducing oil consumption is the only way to break America’s national security and economic vulnerability to hostile countries and groups, geopolitical instability, and natural disasters posed by overseas oil.  Increasing domestic drilling will not solve the problem, since the United States only has 3 percent of oil reserves, yet uses 25 percent of all oil.  The Department of Energy has estimated that opening up offshore drilling on both coasts would only lower the price of gasoline by three cents per gallon by 2030.  Moreover, domestic drilling is not without risks, as the ongoing BP oil well catastrophe has shown.

The Oil Independence for a Stronger America Act will put into law the plan for American oil independence Senator Merkley laid out in June.  Details of the plan can be found here:

Local Government Transportation Funding US DOT US HUD

A Sidewalk to Nowhere: White House Administration Highlights Priorities for Sustainable Community Grant Applicants

It’s not every day you hear the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Policy from the US Department of Transportation describe transportation as a “means to an end, not the end itself.” Today the White House Office of Urban Affairs hosted a video panel / live chat on Facebook, including leaders from the Sustainable Communities Partnership — which has made available the $700+ million in grants for sustainable community planning. The panel included Beth Osborne (DOT), Shelly Poticha (HUD), and Tim Torma (EPA) and much of the discussion focused around what the Partnership is looking for in grant applications from local government.

Beth Osborne laid out clearly that the “purpose of transportation is to support opportunity” and that while the history of the transportation program has focused on fixing problems by retrofitting roads, DOT is now looking to fund projects that: “do more than slap down a sidewalk because it doesn’t matter how far you walk down a sidewalk if there’s nothing to walk to.” Osborne characterized the types of projects the Sustainable Community Partnership wishes to fund through federal grant programs by the ability to answer if you can walk somewhere to get a pizza in your community.

I’ve included some highlights below to share with those local governments applying or considering applying for the HUD Community Challenge Grants, DOT TIGER II Discretionary Planning Grants, HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grants, or EPA Climate Showcase Communities Grants.

Highlights include:

  • an emphasis on the Livability Principles;
  • creation of “Preferred Sustainability Status;”
  • investment priorities in existing rather than new communities;
  • updates to local zoning codes to facilitate private investments in development;
  • need for more technical resources such as those at; and
  • TIGER grants, DOT Strategic Plan, and Transportation Reauthorization to prioritize: livability, state of good repair, economic competitiveness, and safety for all users.

Grant proposals are due on July 26 and August 23 and applicant registration must be submitted by July 16.

Read more and view the Federal Grant Flow Chart and Matrix at the links below:

Education/Webinars Federal Policy NewsFlash Transportation Funding US DOT US HUD

White House to Host Live Chat with Sustainable Communities Partnership on Thursday July 15

On Thursday, July 15th the White House Office of Urban Affairs will host a live chat with the leadership of the Sustainable Communities Partnership, anunprecedented agreement between HUD, Transportation, and EPA to coordinate federal housing, transportation, and environmental investments. A part of President Obama’s broader urban and metropolitan agenda, the partnership, aims to break down traditional silos and craft federal programs and policies that take a more collaborative and holistic approach to better respond to the needs of communities.

Last month, the Partnership released a joint notice of funding availability (NOFA) – $35 million in TIGER II Planning grants and $40 million in Sustainable Community Challenge grants – for local planning activities that integrate transportation, housing, and economic development. And, HUD also announced $100 million in funding for Sustainable Communities Regional Planning grant program that will support regional planning efforts that integrate housing, land use, economic development, and transportation.

We invite you to join us for a live discussion on Sustainable Communities – the progress they’ve made, the funding programs available, and what the future of the partnership looks like – at on July 15th at 2:00pm EST or you can submit questions in advance to Planetizen.

What: Sustainable Communities Live Chat

Who: Shelley Poticha, Director of the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities, HUD

Beth Osborne, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Policy, Department of Transportation

Tim Torma, Deputy Director of the Office of Sustainable Communities, EPA

Moderated by Derek Douglas, Special Assistant to the President on Urban Policy, White House

When: 2:00PM EST, Thursday, July 15, 2010

How: Watch and participate at

Send questions in advance to Planetizen.

For more information on the partnership, read their latest blog that summarizes their work and accomplishments.

GHG Reduction Local Government NewsFlash Research Transportation Funding US DOT

UC Davis Seeks Partnerships with Local Governments on HUD/DOT Grants

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Local Climate Policy for Transportation

The UC Davis Urban Land Use and Transportation Center (ULTRANS) aims to support the design and implementation of new land use and vehicle demand policies through research, education, and public outreach. The Center’s results-oriented research illuminates the relationship between land use, transportation, and the environment. Models and methods developed at ULTRANS will support the development of policies that encourage sustainable cities and regions.

Greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector can be addressed in three basic ways: reducing the carbon content of fuels, improving vehicle fuel economy, and changing individual travel and vehicle choices to be more climate-friendly. Local and regional climate policies focus on the third category of emission reduction strategies – encouraging behavioral change. In California, most local and regional governments are currently experimenting with programs to reduce the carbon footprint of their communities, in response to state policy established in Senate Bill 375 in 2008. However, rigorous evaluation of program effectiveness remains uncommon. This project aims to help change this situation.

Program evaluation studies are commonplace in many fields of applied research, especially when behavioral change is the program goal. These studies are designed to systematically evaluate the effectiveness of policies and programs in achieving measurable goals. Often, program evaluation studies are done during a pilot or demonstration phase of the program so that the research results can be used to fine tune the program before it is expanded to apply to a larger population.

ULTRANS aims to conduct pilot evaluations of the effect of programs in each of the above categories on greenhouse gas emissions. Researchers will then use these program evaluation experiences to develop standard methodologies that practitioners across the nation can use to evaluate the performance of their own programs. To accomplish this, ULTRANS is looking to partner with local governments that are currently implementing programs in each of the following categories.

The universe of local climate policies that address transport sector emissions can be divided into six categories:

  1. Encouraging “smart growth” land use to bring origins and destinations closer to each other, e.g. infill projects, strip mall redevelopment projects;
  2. Restricting parking through fees and/or supply changes, e.g. downtown parking meters, satellite parking facilities;
  3. Encouraging alternative modes (including carpools) by making them cheaper, safer, faster, and more convenient, e.g. real-time information at bus stops, bicycle boulevards;
  4. Restricting driving through pricing and/or supply changes, e.g. reduced speed limits, selected road “diets”;
  5. Implementing “soft measures” that utilize social norms and peer pressure to achieve behavior change; and
  6. Encouraging the use of lower carbon technologies, both fuel efficient vehicles and low-carbon fuels, e.g. targeted rebates, preferential parking.

Please contact the Urban Land Use and Transportation Center via email if you are interested in collaborating on this initiative:

Deborah Salon, Research Economist –

Susan Handy, Professor – [out of office until July 19]