Vehicle miles traveled strategy abuses intent of CEQA

Opinion by Don Perata : sfgate – excerpt

In 2013, to assist the city of Sacramento to build its new NBA arena without falling prey to meritless lawsuits brought under the guise of the California Environmental Quality Act, the Legislature passed SB743. The bill was proposed as a way to streamline the CEQA process for infill projects.

At the time, my organization, the California Infill Builders Federation, raised concerns that provisions in SB743 would in fact make CEQA more burdensome, creating more not fewer legal challenges to worthy projects, such as the environmentally friendly urban infill projects our members promote. The bill passed, with implementation details given to the statewide Office of Planning and Research.

That office recently released its SB743 guidelines. Unfortunately, these guidelines fail to streamline CEQA or reduce litigation and delays. Instead, they will further delay rebuilding urban neighborhoods with lawsuits having nothing to do with improving the environment.

The guidelines add many untested impacts under CEQA. The biggest would add a new transportation impact to CEQA: total vehicles miles traveled required for all projects, even those that comply with local transit-oriented development plans and regional greenhouse gas and vehicle use reduction plans such as the comprehensive Plan Bay Area, which have already completed the CEQA review process… (more)



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