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About SB 375

In 2008, an unprecedented coalition of developers, environmentalists, affordable housing advocates and local government leaders came together to support passage of SB 375 (Steinberg). The new, innovative planning approach encourages local governments and transportation agencies to work together to develop a coordinated regional approach to addressing the transportation, housing and environmental challenges that no single city can tackle on its own.

How is it Being Implemented?

In September 2010, the California Air Resources Board adopted targets for greenhouse gas reductions for each region in the state.

Each region is now responsible for working with its local government partners and stakeholders to create a Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS). The SCS is an element of the Regional Transportation Plan, and outlines the strategies for achieving the regional target. A Sustainable Communities Strategy will include detail on where growth and development will occur, and how the region’s transportation system can support that growth in a way that reduces greenhouse gas pollution.

In doing so, SB 375 creates enhanced accountability for regional transportation spending. It requires regional agencies to measure the impact that transportation dollars will have on greenhouse gases, and it encourages them to measure other impacts as well.

If the region demonstrates that it cannot meet its target, it must develop an Alternative Planning Strategy, which shows what additional policies and resources would be necessary for success.

Go to our In Your Region section for more information on SB 375 implementation in each major region in the state.

Additional Resources

SB 375 Fact Sheet and Timeline
By TransForm Executive Director, Stuart Cohen.  October 2011
Download the fact sheet

Communities Tackle Global Warming: A Guide to SB 375
By NRDC and CLCV.  June 2009
Download the booklet

SB 375 (Steinberg, 2008)
Download the text of the bill

Sustainable Communities 101: SB 375 Bill Summary
By Housing California. 2010
Download the fact sheet

Fact Sheet: SB 375 — Maximizing Economic Growth
By ClimatePlan. April 2010
Download the fact sheet

Fact Sheet: SB 375 and Cities
By American Lung Association in CA, Local Government Commission & CA Infill Builders Association.  September 2010
Download the fact sheet

Why is it so Important?

By 2050, California’s population will grow to nearly 60 million people.  Where will these people live, and how will they get around? Decisions about how we accommodate that growth will have a huge impact on our health, economy and environment.  Below are just a few reasons why it is so important that we take the opportunity of SB 375 and work together to build more sustainable communities.

Reducing Air Pollution and Related Health and Medical Costs
Air pollution-related illnesses cause thousands of hospitalizations, emergency room visits, and premature deaths every year in California. Better planning would tackle a root cause of California’s worst-in-the-nation air pollution and help stop the rise of chronic illnesses.
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Stimulating New Construction, Job Creation, and Economic Investment
Construction and home building were hit particularly hard in this economic downturn. Through SB 375, developers can take advantage of a streamlined environmental review process – saving thousands of dollars per project – by building projects in walkable communities with public transit access.
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Supporting Market Demand for Well-Planned and Walkable Communities
SB 375 will help our regions plan for future growth in a way that strengthens our economy and protects our quality of life. The housing market increasingly values the kind of compact, mixed-use development envisioned by SB 375.
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Saving Taxpayer Dollars
The planning principles encouraged by SB 375 will help cities save money by using energy, water, and infrastructure more efficiently.
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Saving Time and Money for Families
After housing, transportation is most households’ largest expense. When gas prices rise again, costs will rise further, particularly for those who live in auto-dependent neighborhoods. By building neighborhoods that offer additional options such as walking, biking, and public transit, Californians can save both time and money that would otherwise be spent on commuting.
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Making it Easier and Safer to Walk and Bike 
California increasingly faces an obesity crisis. That is because many neighborhoods and regions make it difficult to travel on foot or by bike. In fact, thirty percent of all traffic fatalities for children ages 0-14 occur when children are walking and bicycling. Having safer routes for pedestrians and bicyclists will reduce traffic, support the independence of seniors and teenagers, and make it more pleasant to go out for a stroll.
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Preserving Natural Lands, Working Farms, and Ranch Lands
If we continue with trend development patterns, we will double California’s urban footprint by 2050, consuming more than 5,500 square miles of farmland, open space, and recreation areas. We can save that land by investing in existing neighborhoods and city centers.
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