Planning Holistically in the Face of Climate Change

In 2018, Local Government Commission released a report entitled, Bringing Water and Land Use Together. This report focused on identifying the challenges -- as well as the opportunities -- around moving California toward a more holistic approach to managing water and land resources. As noted in ClimatePlan’s Strategic Direction, Californians are already experiencing the impacts of climate change. From wildfires, droughts, and flooding, it is critical that California starts to pursue integrated approaches around water and land use to address the challenges California faces.

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Governor releases ambitious Executive Actions. What’s next for California’s transportation system?

Almost two weeks ago, Governor Gavin Newsom released an ambitious set of executive actions targeted at advancing California’s climate leadership. California continues to set the bar for the nation in its efforts to fight climate change through its innovative policies. With laws like SB 375, which require regions in California to develop plans to show how they will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) from passenger vehicles and light duty trucks—and an ambitious target of reducing emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030—it’s clear that California’s leadership on climate change provides a model with global implications.

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Taking a step forward: A better way to condition transportation funding on housing performance

This past Monday, Governor Newsom announced that climate pollution continues to drop–which is great news! However, greenhouse gas (GHG) emission continues to rise from the transportation sector, primarily from passenger vehicles. Back in January, Governor Newsom released a bold proposition in his first budget: the state would withhold gas tax funds from regions who did not meet state housing goals. While the details were murky (as you can see in this excellent article from Streetsblog California), the idea was tantalizing to many sustainable transportation advocates.  Why? Because transportation and housing have a clear nexus: they help to determine the true “affordability” of a place, as shown by the Center for Neighborhood Technology’s H&T Affordability Index. Transportation is also one of the biggest drivers for sprawl development, which leads to longer commutes, poor air quality, lack of access to social services, and encroachment on agricultural lands and wildlife habitats.

However, legislators pushed back strongly on tying transportation funding and housing performance.  A compromise was reached for the budget: the state can fine communities that don’t plan for affordable housing construction. While ClimatePlan’s staff and partners understand and value compromise, California needs ambitious and thoughtful solutions to solve the deeply intertwined and complex problem of housing affordability, climate change, and transportation. Transportation cannot remain in a silo from housing and climate; to solve these issues we have to recognize (and act on) their inherent connections. 

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San Diego's Five Big Moves: TransNet's Road Ahead

Previously, we shared about the massive changes occurring in San Diego. Due to effective advocacy by coalitions like Quality of Life combined with strong investigative journalism by Voices of San Diego, San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) has new leadership that is helping the region plan smarter, promote equity, and invest in more sustainable transportation choices. However, there’s been pushback to this new effort. 

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San Diego's Five Big Moves: A Golden Opportunity

In the coming months, ClimatePlan will be spotlighting work led by our partner organizations in our five priority regions: Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area, the San Joaquin Valley, Southern California, and San Diego. Regional partners will share their challenges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the inertia of car-centric infrastructure, environmental justice, conservation, and housing. Through shared stories, we believe our partners will connect and learn different strategies and tools to face the challenges in their communities. Our first regional blog focuses on San Diego, where advocates are facing challenges to shift spending away from highways and roads.

San Diego County is on the precipice of a transportation revolution. After spending years embroiled in controversy, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) seems to be ditching their perennial philosophy of endless freeway expansion for a holistic, green, and more equitable public transportation system that would set the bar high for California and beyond.

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