The Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the transportation planning agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area, and the Association of Bay Area Governments have announced that they are going to prepare an Environmental Impact Report to evaluate the agencies’ proposed plan to reduce regional greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light duty trucks. On June 11, the agencies issued a notice of preparation under the California Environmental Quality Act seeking comments on the scope and content of the EIR for the proposed plan, which was developed in partnership with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the Bay Conservation and Development Commission. Comments on the notice of preparation are due by July 11, 2012.
The proposed plan, entitled “Plan Bay Area,” calls for housing and job growth around high-quality transit corridors, especially within areas identified by local jurisdictions as Priority Development Areas. The plan strives to attain per-capita GHG emissions reductions from cars and trucks of 7 percent by the year 2020 and 15 percent by the 2035, as compared with 2005 emissions levels.
The plan implements Senate Bill 375, which seeks to integrate regional land use and transportation planning to help lower the number of vehicle miles traveled through the adoption of a Sustainable Communities Strategy. SB 375 provides streamlined procedures under CEQA for qualifying residential, mixed-use and transit-oriented projects that are consistent with an approved SCS. The proposed plan would be the Bay Area’s first Sustainable Communities Strategy and would seek to take advantage of the CEQA incentives offered by SB 375, with the hope that local approvals of future qualifying development projects that implement the plan will face fewer hurdles and delays.