SB 375: Reduce global warming with better planning (2008)


Better Planning, Fewer Emissions: Reduce greenhouse gases by planning cities with more transit options

Victory! Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 375 Tuesday, September 30th!

In 2006, California garnered worldwide attention by passing AB 32, The Global Warming Solutions Act, which requires the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020. How we reach this goal is one of the hot debates in Sacramento right now—and many bills have been introduced to help achieve the reductions called for in AB 32.

One comprehensive global warming bill, SB 375 (Steinberg), focuses on housing and transportation planning decisions to reduce fossil fuel consumption and conserve farmlands and habitat. This legislation is vitally important to the AB 32 goals because greenhouse gas emissions associated with land use are the single largest sector of emissions in California.

The California Environmental Protection Agency reports that better land use planning, which includes creating alternative choices for transportation, will achieve the largest emission reductions. SB 375 provides a path for better planning by providing incentives to locate housing developments closer to where people work and go to school, allowing them to reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT) every year.

SB 375 would:

  • Require the regional governing bodies in each of the state’s major metropolitan areas to adopt, as part of their regional transportation plan, a “sustainable community strategy” that will meet the region’s target for reducing GHG emissions. These strategies would get people out of their cars by promoting smart growth principles such as: development near public transit; projects that include a mix of residential and commercial use; and projects that include affordable housing to help reduce new housing developments in outlying areas with cheaper land.
  • Create incentives for implementing the sustainable community strategies by allocating federal transportation funds only to projects that are consistent with the emissions reductions.
  • Allow projects that are shown to conform to the sustainable community strategy (and therefore contribute to GHG reduction) to have a more streamlined environmental review process.

It’s clear that California is growing. Even conservative models predict population growth to be 7 to 11 million new residents by the year 2025. To accommodate this growth we need more housing—but we must build it intelligently.


Victory! Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 375 Tuesday, September 30th!

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