CSAC Bulletin Article

Housing, Land Use and Transportation 01/27/2012

Transportation

Legislators Hear Results of the Statewide Transportation System Needs Assessment Study 

The Senate Transportation and Housing Committee held an informational hearing on Tuesday, January 24th regarding the California Transportation Commissions’ recently adopted the Statewide Transportation System Needs Assessment Report. The report found that when considering California’s transportation needs of all systems and modes compared to revenues available, we can only meet 45 percent of the needs over the next decade. Further, two-thirds of the unmet needs are simply preserving existing systems.

Testimony was provided by several Commissioners, the Executive Directors of the 4 major metropolitan planning organizations, as well as CSAC, the League and transit representatives. 

The information for the local street and road system came from CSAC and the League’s own Local Streets and Roads Needs Assessment Report. This report found that preservation of the local street and road system is critical to avoid further failure of that important component of California’s transportation system. Currently, 67 percent of the local system is “at risk” or in “poor” condition, while 6 percent has already failed. Without an injection of new revenue the percent of failed roads will increase to 22 percent by 2020. More importantly, continued deterioration and failure will significantly increase the cost to the public to save this system. The report found that nearly $80 billion is needed over the next decade to bring local streets and roads to a point of “good condition”, which is optimum for cost effective investment to preserve that system. 

“We are truly losing a legacy we have inherited” stated one of the witnesses. 

California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)

Proposed Additions to CEQA Guidelines on Infill Projects and Performance Standard

The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research announced that they are soliciting input on proposed additions to the CEQA Guidelines developed pursuant to SB 226 (Simitian, 2011). The proposal sets forth a streamlined CEQA review process for infill projects and contains performance standards that will determine an infill project’s eligibility for streamlined review. Comments on the proposal are requested by February 24, 2012. 

Attorney General Challenges the First Sustainable Communities Strategy

On January 23rd, Attorney General Kamala Harris filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit filed by the Cleveland National Forest Foundation and the Center for Biological Diversity against the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG). The action against SANDAG contends that the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) inadequately addresses air pollution and climate concerns within the Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) element of the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP). The Attorney General’s action further contends that the EIR on the transit plan did not analyze the public health impacts of increased air pollution. For more details on the action, please see the Attorney General’s press release

CSAC is considering how to respond to this legal challenge keeping in mind the fragility of support for SB 375, if we do not allow political buy-in by elected officials at the local level. Successful implementation of SB 375 remains dependent upon local and regional support throughout the state.

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