California Policy Education/Webinars Federal Policy Transportation Funding

Dec 8th Webinar: 2012 Federal Sustainability Policy and Funding Outlook

Applied Solutions Webinar: 2012 Federal Sustainability Policy and Funding Outlook

Date: December 8, 2011

Time: 9am Pacific/Noon Eastern

In 2011, local governments have seen concerted efforts in the U.S. House of Representatives to slash and cut important federal sustainability programs that benefit cities and counties. In efforts toward deficit reduction, Congress has sought to eliminate funding for renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean vehicles, smart growth, green infrastructure and more. This federal investment is critical to local efforts to reduce energy use, curb greenhouse gas emissions, improve air and water quality and decrease vehicle miles traveled. As communities have demonstrated, federal sustainability funding enables cities and counties to leverage additional public and private dollars, and helps to create new jobs and economic growth.

As local governments prepare for 2012, several key questions should be asked:

  • What types of federal sustainability funding will be available, and how can localities prepare to be competitive?
  • What types of technical assistance will be available from EPA, DOE, DOT and other federal agencies?
  • What federal sustainability policies are likely to be debated in Congress, and how will they impact cities and counties?

This webinar will last approximately one hour, and there is no cost to participate.

Speakers include:

Supervisor Valerie Brown, Sonoma County, California

Supervisor Brown will discuss the value of a local government voice at the federal level.

Michelle Wyman, Executive Director of Applied Solutions

Ms. Wyman will give an introduction to the Applied Solutions Webinar Series.

Andrew Seth and Matt Ward, Climate Communities

Mr. Seth and Mr. Ward will identify opportunities for cities and counties to support local priorities with federal sustainability funding next year, and provide an overview of the federal sustainability policy landscape in 2012.

Click here for more information and to sign up for the webinar.

About the Learning Network 

The Sustainable Communities Learning Network is a service for local officials offered by the Institute for Local Government in partnership with the Information Center for the Environment at the University of California, Davis, with support from the Strategic Growth Council and The California Endowment.

California Policy GHG Reduction

LEED-ND Presentation December 7th @ California Capitol

Please Join Assemblymember Rich Gordon for a Briefing On LEED/LEED-ND and Smart Growth

Date: Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Time: 12:00pm-1:30pm

Location: State Capitol, Room 127

Feel free to bring your own lunch while you learn about successful and sustainable development in our State. We’ll bring you information on the basics of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, LEED Neighborhood Development (ND) and current case study projects and creative uses of LEED-ND standards in legislation and policy. We will then talk about how LEED-ND can be a helpful tool for cities, regions, and the State to get us to reaching the goals of SB 375 and AB 32.
RSVP TO: Rachael O’Brien at or 916-996-8470

Guest Speakers:

Aaron Welch, Senior Planner, LEED AP, Raimi AssociatesAaron Welch is one of the nation’s leading LEED-ND experts. Aaron has managed the LEED-ND process for a total of 6 different development projects that are either certified or in the process of certification, wrote portions of USGBC’s LEED-ND Reference Guide, has developed and delivered LEED-ND education for USGBC, and recently completed a Citizen’s (Advocacy) Guide to LEED-ND for the Natural Resources Defense Council.  Aaron has contributed to a wide variety of general plans, neighborhood plans, vision plans, and transit-oriented development.

Ellie Casson, Campaign Organizer, Greenbelt AllianceEllie Casson is an SB 375 expert for Greenbelt Alliance. She works closely with cities throughout Silicon Valley and is the Founder of a Mountain View smart-growth advocacy group that has had a visible impact on local planning and development decisions (this group that now has 300+ members). She is also the lead researcher and author of Greenbelt Alliance’s Greening Your City’s Blueprint: A Toolkit for Climate Friendly General Plans. Ellie is currently organizing support for the Grand Boulevard Initiative, which re-envisions El Camino Real as a people-friendly, more complete corridor.

Sponsored By: USGBC California Advocacy Council and USGBC Capitol Branch


Sustainable Transportation Analysis & Rating System (STARS) :: December 8th Oakland

Please join the APA Northern California Sustainability Committee and the North American Sustainable Transportation Council at an Interactive Sustainable Transportation Workshop on Thursday, December 8, 2:00-5:00 p.m., ABAG Metro Center Auditorium, Oakland, CA.  CM 3 pending.
Learn how to use the Sustainable Transportation Analysis & Rating System (STARS), a new planning and project development tool, to simplify the integration of economic, environmental, and social goals, objectives, measures and strategies into your transportation projects and plans.
Transportation professionals are struggling to meaningfully improve the environmental, economic, and social performance of transportation projects and plans.  STARS  does more than simply “green up” our current transportation system.  Instead, it provides a voluntary LEED-like, integrated framework to:
  • fundamentally reevaluate the purpose of a transportation project or plan (e.g. to provide people access to jobs, education and other daily needs),
  • evaluate and prioritize innovative alternatives in the design phase, and
  • measure and improve system performance in the ongoing operations and maintenance phases.

Join this co-hosted workshop between APA California Northern Sustainability Committee and the North American Sustainable Transportation Council (STC). Learn how to use a new planning and project development tool, the Sustainable Transportation Analysis & Rating System, or STARS, to simplify the integration of economic, environmental, and social performance into your transportation projects and plans.

STARS is being used on a transit corridor project (Clark County, Washington), a City Transportation System Plan (Eugene, Oregon) and a Regional Transportation Plan (Santa Cruz County, CA). Using STARS will improve the Triple Bottom Line performance of transportation plans and projects. Specifically, STARS will allow you to develop, evaluate, and rate strategies as follows:

  • improve access to jobs, school, housing and goods;
  • cut petroleum use and greenhouse gas emissions;
  • boost the local economy while reducing transportation capital and operating costs;
  • improve public support for projects and plans that provide both economic and environmental benefits.

Registration is required and cost $25.  To register:  For more details:

California Policy Local Government Metropolitan Planning NewsFlash SB 375

Sacramento APA and ASLA “Emerging Professionals” Groups Hosting Local Author December 1st



Interactive Program:

Transportation Planning in California after AB 32

The Sacramento Chapters of the American Planning Association Young Planner’s Group, together with the American Society of Landscape Architect’s Emerging Professional’s Group, is co-hosting an informative event exploring how recent transportation policy has transformed our professions. Lauren Michele, a young professional herself, principal, and owner of Policy in Motion will be the guest speaker.  Ms. Michele collaborates with government agencies and varied stakeholders at the local, state, and federal levels to craft and implement transportation plans and regulatory frameworks that work toward community sustainability and people-oriented development. She recently published a book, Policy in Motion: Transportation Planning in California after AB 32, examining California’s planning initiatives post-AB 32 and in light of SB 375 and explores policy, politics, and changes to state law that can help to achieve sustainable communities and transportation systems.Date/Time: Thursday, December 1, 5:30-7:30pm 

Location:    American Institute of Architects Central Valley 1400 ‘S’ Street Sacramento, CA


  • 5:30-6:00pm – Social with refreshments and book signing
  • 6:00-7:00pm – Interactive presentation by Lauren Michele
  • 7:00-7:30pm – Q&A/group discussion

Let us know you’re coming, please RSVP to Tracey Ferguson, YPG Chair at Cost: FREE EVENT

Policy in Motion: Transportation Planning in California after AB 32 will be available for purchase at the event for 20% off retail price.


About the Author…. Since the passage of California’s Global Warming Solutions Act in 2006 (AB 32), Lauren Michele, Principal and Owner of Policy in Motion, has worked with government agencies and varied stakeholders from the local to federal level on crafting and implementing transportation plans and regulatory frameworks which work toward community sustainability and people-oriented development. A graduate of the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies, Ms. Michele’s research and strategic analyses have been utilized by the Federal Highway Administration; State of California Department of Transportation, Air Resources Board, Energy Commission, Strategic Growth Council, Governor’s Office of Planning and Research; as well as regional and local transportation planning agencies developing integrated land use and transportation sustainability plans.

Federal Policy NewsFlash Transportation Funding

Senate EPW Committee approves MAP-21 Transportation Reauthorization Bill by 18-0 vote‎

The U.S.  Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) yesterday reported out S.1813  “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” (MAP-21), a bill to reauthorize  the nation’s transportation programs for two years at current funding levels. According to the committee,  its unanimous approval (18-0) of the bill “illustrates broad bipartisan support for  passage by the full Senate.”  The committee Friday released the 600 pages of draft text of the $109 billion bill, which includes an additional $12 billion over the current amount to account for inflation. The Senate Finance Committee, which is in charge of finding the additional $12 billion, has not yet announced where funding will come from.

Watch Senator Boxer (D-CA) at EPW Hearing on MAP-21

The bill would consolidate the number of federal transportation programs from 90 to 30. The bill also sets out a new path for project delivery that would allow agencies to better coordinate and would eliminate the lengthy National Environmental Policy Act review process for certain projects that will not have an environmental impact.

MAP-21 would not make significant changes to the existing program but does contain language that would speed project delivery and eliminate earmarks. The bill also contains a $1 billion annual expansion of the popular Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Program (TIFIA) loans.

The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program, which provides funding for state projects that reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality, would see some changes. The bill would add particulate matter as one of the pollutants addressed by the program, as well as require performance plans in large metropolitan areas to ensure the funds are being spent properly.

The bill would reform the controversial Transportation Enhancements program, which requires states to spend some money on non-highway projects including bike and pedestrian infrastructure. Under MAP-21, the TE funding would be moved under the existing CMAQ program, although it still would draw dedicated funds. States would also be eligible to apply for additional TE money under the surface transportation mobility program.

After the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee moved their draft transportation bill (MAP-21) out of committee with a successful bipartisan vote, Transportation for America Director James Corless offered this statement:

“The bipartisan passage of the MAP-21 bill in the Senate EPW Committee this morning provides a significant opportunity to move forward on a long overdue authorization of federal transportation policy with full funding to ensure we invest in America’s infrastructure. Key reforms in the bill would place a stronger emphasis on repairing and rebuilding our roads and bridges, while instituting performance measures that will help hold agencies accountable for the maintenance and operations of our transportation network.

“We will work with Chairman Boxer and Ranking Member Inhofe and the rest of the Committee to ensure that there is dedicated funding that prioritizes bicycle and pedestrian projects, strong workforce development provisions and smart transportation planning reforms. We are eager to address these issues so we can put the full strength and weight of our coalition behind the bill as it moves forward in order to make the most of our federal transportation dollars, put people back to work and deliver the transportation system that Americans need.”

S. 1813 is now headed to the full Senate for consideration,  where it will be combined with measures from the Senate Committee on Finance,  Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, and Committee on Banking,  Housing and Urban Affairs.

On the House side, the highway reauthorization proposal is currently  in the hands of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

The current surface  transportation bill expires on March 31.


Sources: E&E; T4A; EPW; FleetOwner


California Policy GHG Reduction Local Government Metropolitan Planning NewsFlash SB 375 State Policy Transportation Funding

Sustainable Communities Planning Grant and Incentive Program 2011 Request for Proposals

Sustainable Communities Planning Grant and Incentive Program 2011 Request for Proposals

(This information is also online at


On behalf of the Strategic Growth Council (SGC), the Department of Conservation manages competitive grants to cities, counties, and designated regional agencies to promote sustainable community planning and natural resource conservation. The grant program supports development, adoption, and implementation of various planning elements. The Sustainable Communities Planning Grant Program offers a unique opportunity to improve and sustain the wise use of infrastructure and natural resources through a coordinated and collaborative approach.


The Department of Conservation (DOC), Division of Land Resource Protection (DLRP), Planning Grant and Incentive Program has released the round two Sustainable Communities Planning Grant Request for Proposals (RFP) funded through the Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal Protection Act of 2006 (Proposition 84). DOC has allocated approximately $18 million of Proposition 84 funds for round two. The funds awarded will support development, adoption, and implementation of Sustainable Community planning elements throughout the State, including, but not limited to, Climate Action Plans and General Plan amendments. The grants awarded from this solicitation will cover up to a three-year project period.  Grant requests for amounts from $100,000 to $1,000,000 will be considered.


DOC is utilizing the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) Financial Assistance Application Submittal Tool (FAAST) system to facilitate the application and review process, and to conserve paper. All applicants submitting proposals for funding through this grant must submit a complete electronic application using the FAAST system, by 5:00 P.M. on Wednesday, FEBRUARY 15, 2012. Late applications will not be accepted.

The application process through the FAAST system can be accessed through the link:

The 2011 RFP, which describes eligibility, program requirements, the application process, and the evaluation criteria, is posted on the SGC website at:

For technical questions about the State Water Board’s FAAST application, please contact FAAST staff by phone at (866) 434-1083, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., or by email at

For questions regarding this grant solicitation, please contact the DOC Planning Grant and Incentive Program staff by phone at (916) 322-3439, Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., or by email:


The DOC Planning Grant and Incentive Program Staff will hold workshops around the state in early 2012, with dates, times and locations to be announced.


The SGC/DOC Sustainable Communities Planning Grant and Incentive Program 2010 awarded projects can be reviewed at



California Policy Education/Webinars GHG Reduction Metropolitan Planning Research SB 375 State Policy

SB 375, RTP & SCS Course on 11/9/11 with Bill Higgins, J.D. (Lauren Michele Guest Lecturer) :: UC Davis Extension

Regional Planning and Sustainable Communities Strategies: The Road So Far

SB 375 has been hailed as a new standard in planning for transportation, housing, land use and climate change mitigation. Get up-to-speed on this significant legislation with this “just the facts” approach to the implementation and application of the law, including how SB 375 was integrated into the Housing Element Law and CEQA, and the potential impacts this will have on local government and other state policy. Review the different strategies being developed by metropolitan planning organizations to achieve statewide greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and the implications they have for land use and resource management planning. Examine the availability of implementation resources; and how traffic, economic and demographic data will be used to measure strategy effectiveness.



Bill Higgins, J.D., serves as the executive director for the California Association of Councils of Government, a statewide membership organization of councils of government and transportation planning agencies. Previously, he was a senior staff attorney and legislative advocate for the League of California Cities where he represented the League on issues relating to housing, land use and eminent domain.

Lauren Michele, M.S., will be contributing as a guest lecturer on “SB 375 Lessons Learned” where she will be providing an overview of the challenges and successes California has seen during its multi-staged SB 375 process.  She will discuss this in the context of what has led up to SB 375, how legislative developments in other western states highlight California’s efforts, and why groundwork today sets the stage for future progress.


Nov. 9: Wed., 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.


Sutter Square Galleria, 2901 K St, Sacramento, CA





Special Discount fee:

10% discount for organizations enrolling three or more people at the same time in the same course. All registrations must be submitted at the same time and fees paid with one check, credit card or purchase order.
10% discount for BIA Member


.6 CEU, 6 MCLE Hours, 6 AICP Hours





California Policy Transportation Funding

California Strategic Growth Council – Meeting November 2nd

Strategic Growth Council – Meeting November 2nd

The Strategic Growth Council will meet tomorrow, November 2, 2011, from 2-5 pm (note new start time) at the Natural Resources Building.  Details and agenda are below.

Agenda Highlights:

  • Formal opening of Round 2 of the Sustainable Community Planning Grants and Incentives Program
  • Health in All Policies Initiative: Urban Greening and Health Equity implementation plans
  • Discussion of the SGC’s Strategic Planning process

Council Meeting:

November 2, 2011

Natural Resources Building Auditorium

1416 Ninth Street, Sacramento

2:00 PM – 5:00 PM (NOTE: new start time)

Meeting agenda and materials can be found at

Webcast will also be available at the link above.


California Policy High-Speed Rail NewsFlash


Voter-Approved System Will Create 100,000 Jobs in Next 5 Years, More Than 1 Million Jobs Over Life of Project

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Nov. 1, 2011 CONTACT: Rachel Wall, 916-384-9026


SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The California High-Speed Rail Authority today released a new business plan that lays the foundation for an economically viable high speed rail system that will create 100,000 jobs in the next five years, and is expected to generate another 1 million jobs moving forward.  California’s high speed rail system, the first in the nation, is also expected to reduce carbon emissions by 3 million tons annually.

The new business plan describes a phased approach to construction that will allow the Authority to adapt to changing financial conditions as it moves forward, segment by segment. The plan also updates cost estimates, ridership figures and funding expectations to reflect current economic realities. The result is a fiscally sound project that will attract and drive private investment, generate strong revenues and operate without any public subsidies, just as other high speed rail networks do throughout the world.

“We have carefully constructed a business plan that is mindful of the economic and budgetary constraints facing both the state and the nation,” said Authority Board Chairman Thomas J. Umberg. “It will deliver to California and Californians a cost-effective, efficient, and sensible alternative to more highways and increased airport congestion.”

As the state’s population grows from 38 million people today to 60 million people by mid-century, it is estimated that without high speed rail California will need as much as $171 billion to meet its transportation needs.  That means an additional 2,300 lane-miles of highways, 4 runways, and 115 airline gates will need to be built.

California’s high speed rail system will also be better for the environment than auto and air travel. The system is expected to reduce carbon emissions by more than 3 million tons annually and save Californians 146 million hours in travel time each year.

Construction will begin next year with a 130-mile segment stretching from just north of Bakersfield to just south of Merced. The funding for this piece, which will serve as the “backbone” of the system, has already been identified through federal funds and the voter-approved Proposition 1A. This initial Central Valley section is expected to create 100,000 jobs in the next five years.

Board members, including new gubernatorial appointees Dan Richard and Mike Rossi, brought a seasoned business perspective to developing the plan, which outlines the future of the largest infrastructure project underway in the United States.

“Our role was to incorporate a business perspective into the plan to prove that it is financially viable,” Richard said. “What we present today is the culmination of a lot of sweat and hard work to ensure that taxpayers are getting the best bang for the buck.”

“After conducting an in-depth analysis I am convinced that this is an open and balanced business plan,” said Rossi. “This is a current, realistic and transparent plan and identifies the funds and financing necessary to implement high-speed rail in California.”

Authority Board Member Jim Hartnett praised the plan as “a new direction, reflecting community input, focusing on the concerns of local and regional rail systems as a partner in a blended approach.”

“Taking advantage of existing infrastructure will be cost-effective and reflect the coordination needed to implement this critically important infrastructure project,” Hartnett said.

Each segment of the construction project will have its own value and independent utility, and depending upon the availability of funding, each segment will complement the previous one while augmenting existing local and regional rail networks in a cooperative and coordinated fashion. Regional rail systems in Los Angeles and San Francisco have been receptive to the idea of blending existing services with the new system.

Additionally, no public operating subsidy will be necessary for the rail system. Like successful systems around the world, California’s high speed rail system will initially be built with public sector funds and when the system is operational ridership will drive revenues that, in turn, will attract further private-sector investment.

To protect the taxpayers’ investment, the economic assumptions including inflation, cost of materials and ridership projections, included in this plan are realistic and conservative. The ridership projections have been rigorously tested by a peer-review panel of international experts.

High-speed rail officials were accompanied in releasing the new Business Plan by transportations stakeholders, including ACE Executive Director Stacey Mortensen and Mike Scanlon, who leads the San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans), Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, which owns and manages Caltrain, and the San Mateo County Transportation Authority.

The new business plan is available online on the High-Speed Rail Authority’s website. The public will have 60 days to comment and help shape the final plan, which will be completed and provided to the Legislature in January 2012.