Natural Resources Agency

By Chris Garrett and Ana De Santiago Ayon

On January 20, 2016, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) released a new draft proposal for implementing Senate Bill 743 (Steinberg 2013) (SB 743), which would require traffic analysis to be based on vehicle miles traveled (VMT) instead of auto delay, commonly measured by Level of Service (LOS). The proposal is an update to an earlier draft released in August 2014. OPR will be accepting public comments until February 29, 2016 before finalizing the proposal for formal rulemaking by the Natural Resources Agency.

Background

As discussed in a previous client alert, SB 743 directs OPR to update the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Guidelines to establish new criteria for determining the significance of transportation impacts for projects within transit priority areas. The new criteria are intended to promote reduced greenhouse gas emissions, multimodal transportation network development and diverse land uses. SB 743 also provides that the new transportation methodologies may be based on, but are not limited to, VMT. Once the new transportation guidelines are certified, SB 743 eliminates automobile delay as a significant impact for a limited category of infill projects located in transit priority areas and infill opportunity zones.