The Urban Land Institute (ULI), a nationally recognized organization which encourages sustainable development practices, has favorably reviewed SB 375 in its June 2010 report, “SB 375, Impact Analysis Report.” Adopted in 2008 by the California Legislature, SB 375 for the first time links land use decisions to funding of transportation infrastructure.
According to the ULI report, two conflicting trends must be reconciled, particularly in light of the AB 32 mandate to shrink California’s greenhouse gas contribution to the growing problem of global climate change. The State’s population is projected to increase by almost 50% by the year 2050, from 37 million currently to 55 million residents. Second, the number and type of housing units delivered to market in California over the past 20 years have not kept pace. Although the current economic difficulties in the State may mask these trends, SB 375 holds great promise to rationalize efforts to address three critical, distinct, but related, statewide policy areas – land use, transportation, and air quality planning – in one comprehensive program.
However, the ULI report includes an implicit warning. Without specified changes to the existing legal and regulatory framework, the potential benefits of SB 375 implementation may be squandered.