Existing components of California’s SB 375 could be used to strengthen Sections 112 and 113 of the “Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act”.  Changes in the draft legislation to aid successful implementation include:

Additions to Section 112(b):

  • Direction to the Department of Transportation, in consultation with the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, to update guidelines for models used in the development of regional transportation plans [see California’s SB 375 Section 1(h))]
  • Direction to the Department of Transportation, in consultation with the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, to update guidelines for regional transportation plans to include greenhouse gas emission reduction as an objective and performance measure within the policy, financial and action elements.

Changes to Section 112(c)(iv)(IV):

  • “(IV) be integrated and consistent with regional transportation plans and transportation improvement programs, such that the targets and strategies guide priority/all infrastructure investments; and (note: requiring that the targets be consistent with the RTP/TIP could mean at the implementation level that targets gets lowered to be consistent with project plans – vs requiring RTP/TIPs to be consistent with the target)
  • “(V) be selected through scenario analysis, and include, pursuant to the requirements of the transportation planning process under this section, transportation investment and management strategies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector over the life of the plan, such as – (note: this could then include bottleneck relief, which Moving Cooler shows to have near-term GHG reduction impact, but long-term GHG inducing impact)

Changes to Section 112(c)(v)(ee):

  • “(ee) surface transportation system operation efficiency improvements, including intelligent transportation systems, or other operational improvements, or roadway or intersection infrastructure efficiency conversations (note: this would include language to encourage more efficient intersection design (e.g. roundabouts) that stabilize speeds, reduce congestion, and have associated GHG reduction) to reduce long-term greenhouse gas emissions through reduced congestion and improved system management;

Changes to Section 113(b)

  • “(1) ….Subject to paragraph (2), the Secretary shall allocate not more than 10 percent of the funds available to carry out this section for a fiscal year for metropolitan planning organizations and States to develop and update transportation plans, including targets and strategies for greenhouse gas emission reduction under—(note: if States are not eligible for planning grants to develop targets and strategies, how can MPOs qualify for performance grants which require them to demonstrate progress toward State GHG targets?)

Changes to Section 112(c)

  • “(8)“(B) may shall include features such as – (note: in reference to scenario planning including the public as part of the planning process)

Additions to Section 113(a):

  • Direction to the Department of Transportation, in consultation with the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, to develop criteria for performance measurement to link incentive funding for States and MPOs with accountable projects that meet greenhouse gas reduction objectives.
  • Federal provisions of financial incentives for States and MPOs that achieve measured greenhouse gas reductions that are better than their own historic performance.

Integrated transportation, economic, and land use models will play an important role in the implementation of California’s SB 375 – ensuring fiscal, environmental, and socially equitable accountability.  These integrated models can also be used nationwide as a guidance and transparency tool for the public and policy makers.  We recommend that the term “or integrated economic, land use, and transportation model” be followed after the term “travel model” in all instances throughout Sections 112 and 113.  Integrated models and the following benefits should incorporated as eligible projects for planning grants [Section 112(b)] and as criteria listed for the performance grants [Section 113(c)]:

  • Addressing and balancing multiple objectives including environmental, economic, and equity impacts
  • Need for consistency of assumptions and modeling among regions
  • Need for modeling to account for dynamic interactions between land development and transportation infrastructure investment
  • Market-based approach to predicting travel needs (note: the market-based approach of integrated modeling could be a good political sell for supporting models – meaning we should make cost-effective decisions before spending billions of dollars)