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SB375 Impact Analysis Report

Introduction

Purpose

This report summarizes the findings from a ULI panel that was formed to assess the economic implications of the California Senate Bill 375 (SB 375), and associated implementation recommendations. As the basis of this inquiry, the panel was charged with reviewing available empirical data and studies pertaining to SB 375 and the impacts of the kinds of development that full implementation is likely to produce, especially compact and transit-oriented development. Drawing on this research and its own substantial professional experience, the ULI panel then convened to review and discuss the economic impacts of SB 375 on the state’s economy and make recommendations that would help deliver on the bill’s goals of regional connectivity, policy alignment, efficient provision of infrastructure, and improved environmental quality.

SB 375

SB 375 was signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger on September 30, 2008. This bill links land use decisions to transportation funding decisions in a way that is unprecedented in California. The vehicle for this coordination is a new regional land use plan called a Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS). The result is expected to be more rational and coordinated regulation and public funding, which in turn should accelerate the pace at which development consistent with these plans can proceed.

SB 375 requires Regional Transportation Plans (RTPs) to include the SCSs and be internally consistent, and thereby better align transportation, housing, and land use planning as part of plans to reduce transportation emissions. Regions have broad freedom to design SCSs that align those plans and reduce emissions. The SCSs are expected to respond to SB 375 by:

  • Promoting compact development patterns located near transit;
  • Coordinating between the location of employment and housing;
  • Supporting transit use;
  • Concentrating economic activities into existing communities; and
  • ncorporating a mix of housing types.

This, in turn, is expected to produce:

  • Shorter commutes, vehicle miles traveled (VMT) reduction, and congestion relief;
  • Reduced greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions and air pollution;
  • Less fossil fuel consumption;
  • Greater conservation of farmlands and habitat;
  • Opportunities for more housing choices for all economic segments of the population including anticipated population and employment growth;
  • Reduced infrastructure costs;
  • Higher quality of life; and
  • Greater certainty for the development community.