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Comprehensive Environmental Projects

Greenhouse Gas Emission Targets

SANDAG is in the process of developing its first Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) subject to provisions of Senate Bill 375 (SB 375). The 2050 RTP is scheduled for adoption by the SANDAG Board of Directors in summer 2011.

The Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) is a new element of the RTP required by SB 375, and will demonstrate how development patterns and the transportation network, policies, and programs can work together to achieve the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission targets for cars and light trucks that will be established by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), if there is a feasible way to do so. As the region’s Metropolitan Planning Organization, if SANDAG cannot meet the targets through the SCS, then the region is required to develop an Alternative Planning Strategy that demonstrates how the emission targets could be achieved.

At the May 14 Board of Directors Policy meeting, SANDAG staff provided an overview of the SB 375 implementation efforts, which included the testing of initial planning scenarios that were developed to demonstrate the effects various bundles of transportation and land use measures could have on GHG emissions. At the May 28 Board meeting, SANDAG staff presented a hybrid scenario based on feedback the Board provided at the May 14 meeting. GHG-reduction strategies SANDAG is considering include increasing transit service; freeway improvements to reduce bottlenecks; and enhancements to programs aimed at taking more cars off the road, such as alternative work schedules and incentives for carpooling and vanpooling.

SANDAG staff submitted the information to CARB for its consideration in the GHG target-setting process.

CARB released its draft greenhouse gas emissions target for the San Diego region June 24. The draft target requires SANDAG to identify strategies that would reduce per capita GHG emissions from passenger vehicles by between five percent and ten percent by 2020. The 2035 draft target of five percent to 19 percent is a placeholder range that CARB developed based on information provided by SANDAG. The reductions are all relative to per capita carbon dioxcide emissions in the 2005 base year. The San Diego region’s GHG emission level from passenger vehicles for the 2005 base year is an average of 26 pounds per person per weekday.

CARB is expected to adjust the 2035 range based on additional input from SANDAG and from a July 21 workshop CARB will host in San Diego. On July 23, 2010, the SANDAG Board voted to submit a proposed final target of seven percent for 2020 and 13 percent for 2035. CARB staff is expected to release its proposed final target for the region on August 9, 2010, and the CARB Board will approve a final target by September 30, 2010.

By September 30, CARB will issue its final target and SANDAG will further refine its GHG-reducing strategies accordingly.