California Policy Cap and Trade GHG Reduction High-Speed Rail State Policy Sustainability Transportation Funding

Governor Signs Plan to Spend $1.5B in Cap-and-Trade Dollars

Clean Transportation Receives $900 Million from Cap-and-Trade Revenue 

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed two bills that outline a plan to spend $1.5 billion on environmental initiatives using money from the state’s recently renewed cap and trade program.  The bills were signed on Saturday, hours after lawmakers approved the plan to spend most of the money on incentives and rebates to promote a cleaner vehicle fleet.

$900 Million of the funds will be allocated to clean transportation projects – a substantial increase compared to previous years ($680 million for the last four years combined)

This amount is on top of the $900 million allocated according to formula, including $375 million for the State High-Speed Rail Project.

California has set an ambitious goal to have 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025. Lawmakers hope the rebates will help close the price gap between traditional and electric vehicles.

Here is a breakdown of how the Low Carbon Transportation funds will be spent: 

  • $140M – Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (consumer rebates for electric or fuel cell passenger cars) 
  • $140M – Freight Equipment Advanced Demonstration; Pilot Commercial Deployment Project
  • $100M – Enhanced Fleet Modernization Program and Plus Up Project (low-income assistance for vehicle scrap and replace); School Buses; Light-Duty Equity Pilot Projects (e.g. electric carsharing in disadvantaged communities)
  • $180M – Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project ($35M must go to zero-emission buses)
  • $85M – Agricultural Diesel Engine Replacement and Upgrades 

Additionally, $255 Million will be allocated for AB 617 Implementation:

  • $250M – Community Air Protection (95% to South Coast, San Joaquin Valley, and Bay Area Air Districts; 5% to other Air Districts via CARB) 
  • $5M – Technical Assistance Grants to Community Organizations (i.e. consultants/experts) 


Lauren Michele, Principal / Founder, Policy in Motion
Policy in Motion offers planning practitioners, policymakers, 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. 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 online at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and
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


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


Cupcakes Sustainability

Official Cupcake Recipe of Policy in Motion!

Policy in Motion’s specialty “mini-cupcakes” are starting to make a name as a key ingredient in sustainable transportation policy and stakeholder coalition building.  Due to popular demand, I am releasing the secret recipe driving the vision for POD.  For anyone who has gone to a workshop or meeting I have hosted, you have likely encountered one of these healthy and tasty “mini” treats (generally fresh out of the oven as I find baking to be an excellent way to prepare for work).

While these may be gluten-free, vegan, and don’t require cane sugar, they are packed with sweetness! Made with healthy ingredients like carob powder, coconut oil, and coconut palm sugar, these treats are also packed with lots of vitamins and minerals for a healthy energy boost and immune system.  These cupcakes serve as a reminder that we can also bake up communities that are so wonderful no one has to know they are “sustainable”– let’s make healthy and happy places for people to live, and not just for greenhouse gas reduction!

Policy in Motion “Mini” Fudge Brownie Cupcake

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 2 mini-cupcake tins with cupcake wrappers.

Mix together the flour, potato starch, arrowroot, carob powder, coconut palm sugar, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and sea salt.

Add the coconut oil, applesauce, vanilla, and hot water to the dry ingredients and stir until the batter is smooth.

Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the mini chocolate chips until they are evenly distributed.

Scoop the batter into each prepared mini cupcake wrapper.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on fudgey preference. For extra fudgy, put the batter in the refrigerator overnight. Finished cupcakes will have firm edge with a soft center, and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean.

Let cupcake stand for 10 minutes, top with coconut shavings, best to serve warm.

Guaranteed to make all your meetings go smoothly and productively!


  • One cup garbanzo bean flour
  • Quarter cup potato starch
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot
  • Half cup carob powder
  • 1 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Quarter teaspoon baking soda
  • Quarter teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
  • Half cup coconut oil
  • Half cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • Half cup hot water
  • 1 cup “enjoy life” mini chocolate chips
  • Dash of Love <3


California Policy Complete Streets GHG Reduction Livable Communities Local Government Metropolitan Planning Modeling/Tools NewsFlash Public Health Public Transit Safe Routes to School SB 375 State Policy Sustainability Transportation Funding

Transportation Coalition for Livable Communities Cap and Trade Investment Proposal for CARB Workshops

Today the California Air Resources Board will be kicking off its first of three workshops on the development of the AB 32 Cap and Trade Investment Plan. On February 25th in Sacramento the Transportation Coalition for Livable Communities – which includes local/regional governments and transit/transportation agencies statewide – will be laying out a vision for how revenues generated from the state’s program could re-shape California’s urban and rural landscape through integrated land use and transportation investments that build on regional SB 375 and GHG reducing plans with competitive grants for local entities. This opportunity to fund beautiful communities would invest billions of dollars in both the critical transportation investments needed in existing communities, while leveraging local land use and policy changes needed to transform how transportation planning and implementation functions in California. This approach of combined land use strategies co-implemented with livable community infrastructure in the hearts of communities will yield significant long-term greenhouse gas reductions as well as numerous community benefits, such as improved public health, open space and habitat preservation, safe routes to school, and needed support for disadvantaged communities.

-Show up for public support at the workshops tonight in Fresno from 5-8pm, Feb 25th in Sacramento from 3-6pm, or Feb 27th in LA from 4-7pm (location details below)
-Write a support letter with your organization’s logo. Click here to download a template letter to start, and email it to
-Submit your written support to CARB easily on their on-line form linked here

The Coalition’s program concept would allocate funds equitably to regional governments under statewide criteria to administer competitive grants to local entities – proposing combinations of investments, including transit service and operating costs, road and bridge maintenance, retrofits for complete streets and urban greening, and clean technology and other community infrastructure – all integrated with land use modifications to support regional plans.

The Transportation Coalition for Livable Communities has developed a series of principles included in a program concept proposal to CARB. You can download the program concept letter here. If you support this program concept please let CARB know that these core concepts should be considered for inclusion in their Investment Plan:

  1. Regional allocation of funds to ensure that every region of the state receives a fair share
  2. Favoring integration of land use strategies and transportation investments to achieve the highest GHG emission reductions.  Studies consistently show that combining transportation investments with complementary land use changes significantly increase the GHG emission reduction and co-benefits.
  3. Use a competitive process at the regional level, under criteria developed by the state, to prioritize local project proposals that co-implement transportation investments with land use changes that most cost effectively meet the goals of the program and further stimulate innovation and flexibility at the local and regional level.
  4. Improved modeling and verification systems for GHG evaluation to ensure effective results.

Members of the Transportation Coalition for Livable Communities

California Transit Association • League of California Cities  • California State Association of Counties • Self-Help Counties Coalition • California Association of Councils of Governments • Sacramento Area Council of Governments • Southern California Association of Governments • Metropolitan Transportation Commission • San Joaquin Valley Regional Policy Council • Transportation California • California Alliance for Jobs • Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District

Date Location
5 pm – 8 pm:  

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mariposa Mall Building – Room 1036 

2550 Mariposa Mall; Fresno


3 pm – 6 pm: 

Monday, February 25, 2013

California Environmental Protection Agency,
Byron Sher Auditorium, 2nd floor
1001 I Street; Sacramento
This meeting will also be webcast. 


4 pm – 7 pm: 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ronald Reagan Building – Auditorium
300 South Spring Street
Los Angeles

Materials (for all workshops):



California Policy Complete Streets Federal Policy GHG Reduction High-Speed Rail Livable Communities Metropolitan Planning Public Health Public Transit Safe Routes to School SB 375 State Policy Sustainability Transportation Funding

Transportation Funding: Past, Present, Future

Funding Beautiful Communities

The nature of transportation funding is a cycle of birth and death. Despite clear state policy goals to address the transportation sector’s 38% contribution to California’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory, funding for needed sustainable community investments to implement such goals has seen levels of uncertainty that make progress equally uncertain. From years of local public transit cuts and underfunded local road maintenance needs to recent slashes for complete streets and Safe Routes to School in the federal transportation bill – hope still prevails with billions approved by the State for high speed rail, possibilities for redevelopment reincarnation, and the promise of new cap and trade revenue from fuels. California not only has opportunities like leveraging its investments in high speed rail with cap and trade funding for sustainable communities, but will need to act on them given the dismal federal transportation reauthorization vision for integrated transportation and land use systems.

But it’s not all dismal!

On August 10th Growing Beautiful Communities will depict how an integrated approach to transportation planning and funding can improve community quality of life while meeting California’s environmental and economic goals.

Uncertainty can breed creativity. I made a documentary on that premise. California can make history. The State can leverage the lack of federal vision to do something really innovative for transportation funding in California – the same way the lack of federal GHG reduction leadership led to state climate action plans across the country starting here.

California has the potential to capitalize on its $8 billion investment in high speed rail and do everything the federal transportation bill is missing for transformative transportation — we can achieve a vision for sustainable communities and reduced greenhouse gas emissions through the creation of an integrated transportation funding program which:

  • Draws on a new source of transportation revenues, offering multi-year financial stability to communities and regions implementing projects
  • Creates flexibility to use funds for needed transit operations and maintenance investments
  • Provides funding for road and bridge repair to improve transportation efficiency
  • Expands active transportation, complete streets and transportation enhancement infrastructure
  • Incentivizes transportation innovation from regional and local governments
  • Measures meaningful performance to tie transportation investments to GHG emission reduction, as well as other benefits like health, energy, water, cost-effectiveness, and agricultural resources.
  • Integrates intercity, rural, and local transit, roads, and active transportation infrastructure with regional land use planning and local project implementation
  • Invests in existing communities by offsetting the high cost of infill development
  • Promotes inter- and intra-jurisdictional collaboration between institutions like local/regional planning departments and school and medical campuses

We can learn from the past, capitalize on the present, and make the future a reality through innovative transportation funding.

California Policy Livable Communities Metropolitan Planning NewsFlash Sustainability Transportation Funding

SACOG: On Target for GHG Reduction with Adopted 2035 Sustainable Communities Strategies


Metropolitan Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy for 2035

Click here to view the MTP/SCS

The Sacramento Area Council of Governments unanimously approved the Metropolitan Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy for 2035 (MTP/SCS) last week, after more than two years of extensive public input and collaborative technical work with local governments. The MTP/SCS guides how the region spends local, state and federal transportation funds.

“As our region adds nearly 900,000 people by 2035, we need strategic improvements for our existing roads and transit system. Our region has coalesced behind a plan that reduces the time most people will spend in congestion, fixes our roads, and increases access to transit,” said SACOG Board Chair and Rocklin Councilmember Peter Hill.

The MTP/SCS focuses on improving the safety and maintenance of streets and freeways, invests in new options for people to walk, bike or use transit, and connects the transportation planning with land use planning to ensure public dollars are used efficiently.

“This plan expands the options people have for transportation in our communities, whether it’s bike lanes or sidewalks for kids to get to school, new streetcars or light rail to get to work, or safer and better maintained roads to drive on,” said SACOG Transportation Committee and Sacramento City Councilmember Chair Steve Cohn.

“The MTP/SCS builds on the region’s Blueprint, which envisions more housing and transportation choices for our region by 2050,” said SACOG CEO Mike McKeever. “The MTP/SCS provides the infrastructure needed to support the Blueprint influenced land uses in local jurisdictions across the six-county region.” Among the key highlights from the plan:

  • Future congestion per person in the region decreases by 7 percent through 2035 (compared to a projected increase of nearly 60 percent in the MTP adopted a decade ago, in 2002)
  • Over 40 percent increase in transit services per person in 2035 as today.
  • Meets Air Resources Board target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles by 16%
  • Between 1988 and 2005, for every 1,000 new residents, 333 acres of farmland were urbanized. Between 2008 and 2035, for every 1,000 new residents, only 42 acres of farmland will be urbanized.
  • Streamlined environmental review processing at lower costs for a wide variety of projects consistent with the plan.

“This MTP/SCS accelerates opportunities for saving money and accelerating economic development for business in our region,” said SACOG 2011 Board Chair Susan Peters.

The 31-member SACOG Board of Directors is made up of city councilmembers, mayors, and county supervisors from each of the 22 cities and six counties in the region. SACOG is responsible for developing the MTP/SCS every four years in coordination with the cities, counties, transit agencies, air quality management districts, Caltrans, and other public agencies. The plan is required to conform to air quality goals for the region, contain a plan to reduce greenhouse gases from passenger vehicles, demonstrate that all proposed projects can be reasonably funded, undergo extensive public review, and complete a programmatic Environmental Impact Report.

SACOG coordinates transportation planning, funding and project delivery for Sacramento, El Dorado, Placer, Yolo, Sutter and Yuba counties and the cities within them. SACOG also engages elected officials in land use and other regional issues.

Click here to view the MTP/SCS


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Film Trailer Released for “Policy in Motion: Growing Beautiful Communities” :: August 2012

“People-oriented development” – POD – is about creating communities with access to affordable living near quality jobs, food, schools and health services. We can use the process of POD to foster sustainable communities while at the same time meeting California’s greenhouse gas reduction goals under AB 32 and SB 375. Check out the trailer for Policy in Motion: Growing Beautiful Communities and stay tuned for the August 2012 release of the film!

**Special thanks to filmmaker Jeremy Gray, Senior at the Met Sacramento High School**

California Policy NewsFlash SB 375 State Policy Sustainability

Sustainable California Update :: Conservation Strategy Group Reports on Redevelopment, CEQA & SB 375

Sustainable California Updates – February 12, 2012

In this issue:

Update on Redevelopment

Workshops for Draft CEQA Guidelines for Streamlining Infill

New: Sustainable Communities Learning Network

SB 375 Update: Sustainable Community Strategies

Save the Date: Equity Summit – April 10th

Update on Redevelopment


In June 2011, the state legislature passed two bills that were signed by the Governor to dissolve California’s network of redevelopment agencies.  Just last week, over 400 redevelopment agencies were shut down statewide.


The closing of redevelopment agencies was controversial.  For half a century, cities have relied on redevelopment agencies to revitalize neighborhoods and develop vacant or blighted properties.  In light of the massive budget deficit, the Governor chose to close these agencies down and free up tax revenue they were diverting away from schools, counties, and cities.


As of February 1, 2012, redevelopment agencies are officially dissolved.  Each redevelopment agency appointed a successor agency to pay off all outstanding debt and most chose the city government for this task.  For the next few decades, property tax revenue will go towards paying off debts and eventually will help the state’s bottom line.

Future of Redevelopment

Cities are actively looking for new financing options for redevelopment.  The City of Roseville, for example, developed a nonprofit to promote private financing of projects in the public interest.  Legislators are also looking for ways to promote economic development and affordable housing.  For example, Senate Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg introduced a measure, SB 654, to direct balances in Low and Moderate Income Housing Funds (LMIFH) for use in developing affordable housing. Running parallel to SB 654 is AB 1585, by Assembly Speaker Perez, which also seeks to retain affordable housing funds from LMIHF. Without a definite state solution to redevelopment needs at the moment, communities are now focusing on crafting their own unique solutions.

Upcoming Senate Hearing – February 22

Joint Senate Hearing: “Financing Affordable Housing and Local Economic Development: New Reality, New Opportunity” Capitol Building, Room 4203


Formal testimony will be delivered by Housing California and the California Housing Consortium on the need for permanent ongoing sources of funding for affordable housing particularly given the demise of redevelopment. Representatives from labor, the business community and local government will also provide testimony. Following the speakers, there will be an opportunity for public comment.


Workshops for Draft CEQA Guidelines on Streamlining Infill

The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) has developed a draft proposal for additions to CEQA Guidelines. Under the direction of SB 226 (Simitian, 2011) this proposal intends to set forth a streamlined review process for infill projects.  It also contains the performance standards used to determine an infill project’s eligibility for that streamlined review.


In order to develop an efficient and effective set of guidelines, OPR is depending on public input and engagement. Workshops on the subject will be held in three cities. The meeting in Sacramento will also be webcast.


Sacramento Fresno Los Angeles

February 21, 2012

1:00 pm

February 22, 2012

1:00 pm

February 23, 2012

1:00 pm

Cal/EPA Headquarters Building

Sierra Hearing Room, 2nd Floor

1001 I Street

Sacramento, CA 95814

City of Fresno

Council Chambers, 2nd Floor

2600 Fresno Street

Fresno, CA 93721

Ronald Reagan State Building


300 South Spring Street

Los Angeles, CA 90013


For the full text of the proposed changes, visit:


New: Sustainable Communities Learning Network

The Sustainable Communities Learning Network helps local officials and staff access and share resources and tools that encourage their communities to consider and apply economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable practices. It is a project of 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.


The Learning Network:

  • Facilitates peer-to-peer learning, sharing of real-world examples between local officials and others engaged in sustainability efforts
  • Provides access to best practices, tools, and resources
  • Offers opportunities to be recognized as a leader in sustainability


The Sustainable Communities Learning Network is currently in the development stage.  They envision a user-driven learning platform, with opportunities to connect with experts in various sustainability best practices areas. To stay up-to-date as the Network develops and grows, sign up here for the Sustainability eNews. You can also contact them directly for more information or to tell them what you would like to see as part of the Learning Network.


SB 375 Update: Sustainable Community Strategies

SB 375 (Steinberg, 2008) has called on Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to incorporate Sustainable Community Strategies (SCS) into their Regional Transportation Plans.  SCSs combine land use and transportation strategies to achieve the emissions reduction targets established by the Air Resources Board for each of 18 MPOs.


The progress of several MPOs in developing this plan is described below:

San Diego: San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) was the first agency to adopt a SCS and adopted its plan on October 28, 2011, after two years of work and public input.  On November, 2011, the Cleveland National Forest Foundation and Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit against SANDAG for a producing a flawed plan through a deficient process. According to the plaintiffs, the plan focuses on goals opposite to those of SB375 by placing priority on expanding freeways, encouraging driving, and increasing air pollution. Sierra Club and California’s Attorney General Kamala D. Harris also joined the lawsuit. The 2050 Regional Transportation Plan can be found here.

Sacramento Area Council of Governments: Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) released its Metropolitan Transportation Plan 2035 and draft SCS and is planning to release the final SCS in April this year. The draft is available online to read and submit comments.

Southern California: Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) has released a draft SCS and is holding public hearings on the current plan.  SCAG is planning to release its final draft in April. To attend workshops on the SCS or to read the draft plan, visit the SCAG website.

Bay Area: Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) has released alternative scenarios and is holding public workshops to determine how to reach the 2035 target for GHG emissions. ABAG launched a campaign in 2010 called “One Bay Area” to achieve sustainable community and climate action initiatives. The land-use and transportation plan is called Plan Bay Area and the final SCS is expected in Spring 2013.


Tahoe: Tahoe is a unique, bi-state region developing its SCS as a component of its long-range general plan. The Tahoe MPO is updating its Regional Transportation Plan to incorporate the SCS with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s (TRPA) regional plan update.  The new plan will be called Mobility 2035, and information on progress can be found here. The public draft will be released this month and the final draft will be released in August 2012.


Save the Date: Equity Summit – April 10th

Building on the momentum of Equity Summit 2011 in Detroit, the Sacramento Coalition on Regional Equity (CORE) (a project of the Sacramento Housing Alliance) and its partners are organizing a day-long equity summit where equity advocates from across the state will strategize to move forward an equity agenda for the state of California and its diverse regions.


Get more information or register here.



Sustainable California


Conservation Strategy Group manages Sustainable California as a forum for organizations and agencies to share information and identify opportunities for individuals and organizations to engage in urban sustainability policy development and funding programs, focusing on activities in California.

Conservation Strategy Group provides email updates on what’s happening at the Capitol and identifies opportunities to take action in support of urban sustainability. We have also established an online resource through which information could be shared.  Our hope is that the network would evolve over time so that participating organizations would also share information with each other.

This service is free and provided by Conservation Strategy Group.  For questions or comments, please contact Connie Gallippi at


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Policy in Motion and Fehr & Peers Submit Joint Comment Letter on Strategic Growth Council’s Strategic Plan

January 3, 2012

Chairman Ken Alex

Strategic Growth Council

1400 Tenth Street

Sacramento, CA  95814


Re:  Comments on the Strategic Growth Council’s Strategic Plan

Dear Chairman Alex and Members of the Council:

Policy in Motion and Fehr and Peers would like to recognize and appreciate the efforts of the strategic planning process undertaken by the Strategic Growth Council.  The draft Strategic Plan reflects a statewide shift toward planning and crafting policies which support sustainable communities in California.  As firms whose mission is to improve and grow efficient, prosperous and beautiful communities, the Principals of Policy in Motion and Fehr & Peers offer encouragement that the draft Plan support the Council’s priorities as stated in SB 732 (2008) and AB 857 (2001).

“Quality of Life” has become a key principle at federal, state, regional and local levels of government; however, efforts to define and measure “livability” are still highly variable and the need for performance based planning frameworks in conjunction with developing consistent quantification tools and modeling to capture policy impacts across the economic, environmental and equitable aspects of sustainability planning is greatly needed.  Additionally, the possible MAP-21 federal redesignation of Metropolitan Planning Organization size from 50,000 to 200,000 would greatly increase the need for resources and guidance on performance based and cost-effective infrastructure planning among California’s smaller MPOs – given the redesignation would impact 10 of California’s 18 MPOs which would no longer be subject to SB 375 (2008).  These regions would include four of the eight San Joaquin Valley MPOs, and the regions of Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Shasta, Butte and Tahoe.

In light of the limited staff resources and diversity of important issues facing the Council, Policy in Motion and Fehr & Peers would like to recommend focus the draft Strategic Plan on initiatives which are cross-cutting and supportive in sustainability objectives by leveraging recent State investments with staff and technical resources across agencies and stakeholder groups.  Please consider the following comments pertaining to the development of the Five-Year Infrastructure Plan and coordinated investment strategies:

Strategy 1.4: Promote incorporation of SB 732’s objectives into the state’s Five-Year Infrastructure Plan.

“A work group created by the Executive Director and Key Staff will. . . make recommendations on how planning priorities and sustainability objectives can be more fully integrated into the development of the Five-Year Infrastructure Plan administered by the Department of Finance. Council Members will provide leadership to encourage their agencies’ cooperation, and may request an assessment of how infrastructure investments within their agencies and departments support state planning priorities.”

  • The Council and member agency involvement in developing the Five-Year Infrastructure Plan should include a transportation element oriented toward the implementation of the short term elements of the California Transportation Plan and coordinated across member agencies to integrate water, energy, public health, and other related infrastructure.
  • In facilitating the process for the Five-Year Infrastructure Plan and long range planning objectives under SB375, the Council should provide guidance, support and capacity building for MPOs and RTPAs on tools and resources, including the California Statewide Integrated Model (CalSIM) and other consistent tools for use across regions in Regional Transportation Plan development and evaluation.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment.  We look forward to working with you as the Council works toward adoption of a final Strategic Plan.




Lauren Michele


Policy in Motion


Gerard Walters

Principal, Chief Technical Officer



Jerry Walters is Fehr & Peers Chief Technical Officer and leader of the firm’s Cool Connections initiative on transportation strategies for sustainable climate, energy and health.  He has over thirty years experience in transportation planning and engineering, and has participated on committees responsible for defining best practices for integrated land use, transportation and climate change methods for the California Transportation Commission, Air Resources Board, Department of Housing and Community Development, Caltrans, and the American Public Transit Association.  He has also directed development of project evaluation methods and metrics for the US EPA and the Institute of Transportation Engineers.  Mr. Walters is a co-author of the 2008 book Growing Cooler – the Evidence on Urban Development and Climate Change published by the ULI. He also led development of smart growth travel analysis methods for Sacramento Regional Blueprint study, San Joaquin Valley Growth Response study, and smart growth planning for the San Diego and San Luis Obispo regions, and sustainable development plan throughout the US.

Lauren Michele is the Principal and Founder of Policy in Motion, a Woman/ Disadvantaged Business Enterprise highlighting how transportation policy impacts community sustainability and “people-oriented development” — access to affordable living near quality jobs, food, schools and health services through livability planning.  Ms. Michele’s combined knowledge as a practicing transportation planning consultant, climate policy analyst, and University of California researcher has given her a foundation to build a business and author a book connecting federal and state legislative priorities with local and regional implementation.  She has worked on issues from local transportation planning to federal climate policy. Her recent book, Policy in Motion: Transportation Planning in California after AB 32 was released August 10, 2011.

“People-oriented development is a concept that goes beyond traditional planning concepts of promoting high density development near transit stations; rather, POD focuses on what makes people happy and how to offer existing neighborhoods job growth, community schools, places of gathering, quality travel, resource management, and housing diversity.  In a state that drives 800 million miles a day and spends ten percent of household income on cars, planning for PODs today will blossom beautiful communities tomorrow.”

– Policy in Motion: Transportation Planning in California after AB 32




California Policy Livable Communities Local Government State Policy Sustainability

Wishing You a Happy New Year from Policy in Motion!

A Gift for You!

What if the joy of the holiday season extended throughout the year and laid the foundation for community sustainability policy and planning? “Quality of Life” is a recent concept in the land use/ transportation/ environmental planning profession to depict how the creation of sustainable communities fosters individual “livability” — or happiness.  In an attempt to translate the abstract concept of “Livability Planning,” Lauren Michele has combined her graduate research on greenhouse gas reduction strategies and travel behavior policy with a vision for “People-Oriented Development” (POD) in the launch of a business and book — Policy in Motion.

Since the launch of my book in August, I have shared my technical research and “POD” vision with over 350 University students, emerging professionals, and leading experts — as well as over two dozen policy makers from the California Governor’s Office and State Legislature — all interested in more integrated sustainability planning at the local, regional and state levels of government.  Additionally, the book has been made available in the libraries of the State of California’s Department of Transportation, Energy Commission, and Air Resources Board for employees.

Policy in Motion is now certified as an Underutilized Disadvantaged Business Enterprisein the states of California and Nevada, and is seeking new partnership and creative opportunities with other private and public organizations across the Western United States and in Washington D.C.  Policy in Motion will also be expanding its Career Development Mentorship Program (Interns in Motion) in 2012 to include motivated high school students from downtown Sacramento to work together with undergraduate and graduate University student interns — to achieve this vision the organization is seeking shared office space opportunities.

“People-oriented development is a concept that goes beyond traditional planning concepts of promoting high density development near transit stations; rather, POD focuses on what makes people happy and how to offer existing neighborhoods job growth, community schools, places of gathering, quality travel, resource management, and housing diversity.  In a state that drives 800 million miles a day and spends ten percent of household income on cars, planning for PODs today will blossom beautiful communities tomorrow”
— Policy in Motion: Transportation Planning in California after AB 32

Download a free book sample of Policy in Motion’s highlights and have a beautiful holiday season! And don’t forget to check out the Policy in Motion Blog for the latest on all the planning acronyms to keep up with everything from performance based planning in MAP-21, LEED-ND, STARS; to webinars / events with APA, ULI, ASLA, SGC; for the scoop on regional/statewide planning under SB 375, SCS, RTP, CIB, HSR; and all the research / grant resource opportunities in between!

~  Lauren Michele  ~

Woman Business Owner & Author
530.848.4342 │
Growing Beautiful Communities at