San Diego Can’t Hit State Climate Goals Without Major Transportation Changes

The Voice of San Diego reported on a refreshing statement of the obvious as to the level of changes needed in the county’s transportation planning to meet State climate goals: The region simply can’t meet state requirements for thwarting climate change the way things are and the way they’re headed, Hasan Ikrhata, director of the San Diego Association of Governments, said at a Friday board meeting. Even if the region built the trolley lines and bus services leaders have been discussing, it would not change enough. Either state law would have to change, or regional leaders need to reimagine plans…

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Disappointment in ARB Case

Disappointment in ARB Case 05/15/17 Filed in: High-Speed Rail | Climate Change After three years of hard work, TRANSDEF’s challenge to the California Air Resources Board’s adoption of its 2014 Scoping Plan was rejected today by the Court. Disappointingly, the decision was based purely on the technical, procedural objections brought by ARB. ARB never defended its decision to include a GHG-increasing measure in a plan intended to reduce GHGs. In oral argument, TRANSDEF’s attorney, Stuart Flashman, proposed a new way to look at CEQA GHG impacts–one that we have not heard being used before: Because of the global climate change…

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ARB Scoping Plan Comments Filed

ARB Scoping Plan Comments Filed 04/10/17 Filed in: Climate Change | Transportation Planning | High-Speed Rail The Air Resources Board produces a Scoping Plan every 5 years. It is the guiding document for the GHG emissions reductions needed to implement  California’s climate policy. TRANSDEF submitted a massive comment set, made up of: 1). General Comments; 2). VMT Reduction Comments, Attachment: Comments on State-wide Strategies; 3). Environmental Assessment Comments, Attachment: Comments on CHSRA 2016 Business Plan; and 4). Comments on Regional Emissions Reduction Targets. For more climate change resources, see this page. Tags: Highway Widening, HOT, HOV, CEQA, Carbon Tax, Induced Demand

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CA is not Serious about VMT Reduction

CA is not Serious about VMT Reduction 02/05/17 Filed in: Climate Change | Transportation Planning TRANSDEF’s organizational focus is the reduction of GHG emissions from transportation. Much of our work has involved the state’s policy-setting agency for climate change, the California Air Resources Board, or ARB. ARB has produced generally excellent climate change plans, called Scoping Plans. However, it has consistently been weak in the area of reducing GHG emissions from transportation, despite determining that nearly half of the state’s GHG emissions are generated by the transportation sector. TRANSDEF suspects that high-level officials in state government are unwilling to take…

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Briefing Continues in ARB case

TRANSDEF filed its Opening Brief in its challenge to ARB’s inclusion of HSR in its 2014 Scoping Plan. It’s been a long hard slog since we filed the case back in 2014, but things will move more quickly now. See this page for a copy of the brief, for ARB’s Opposition Brief, and for a description of the case’s complicated history over the past two years. Here’s the Brief’s Conclusion: TRANSDEF does not oppose, and indeed strongly supports, almost all of the Updated Scoping Plan; but TRANSDEF opposes inserting a measure into the Scoping Plan that does not and cannot meet the…

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ARB Not In Touch With Transportation

ARB Not In Touch With Transporation 12/09/15 Filed in: Climate Change | Transportation Planning A collection of TRANSDEF’s comments to the Air Resources Board (ARB) was recently posted: Testimony to ARB on Regional GHG Emissions Reduction Targets: “These targets will result in increased emissions in this sector, due to population growth. This is going in the wrong direction, and would send the wrong signal to the rest of the world about ARB’s view of the need for urgent reductions in GHG emissions.” ARB’s 2013 Scoping Plan Update: “Staff recognizes the need for “Fundamental transformation of transportation system needed to meet…

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It’s Time to Get Serious, ARB

It’s Time to Get Serious, ARB 10/19/14 Filed in: Climate Change TRANSDEF submitted comments to the Air Resources Board today on the need for an update to the regional GHG emissions reduction targets that were assigned by ARB back in 2010. These targets tell regional boards like MTC how much they must reduce their GHG emissions. Currently, GHG emissions continue to grow, as the regions continue to support solo driving. The letter states that the current targets aren’t working, and that tougher ones are needed to send a message to transportation agencies that they must play an active role in protecting the climate. The ARB staff report is here. These comments are…

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Plan Bay Area Court Decision Released

Plan Bay Area Court Decision Released 07/02/14 Filed in: Transportation Planning | Climate Change | MTC Alameda County Superior Court Judge Grillo issued a ruling today in the Bay Area Citizens v. ABAG challenge to Plan Bay Area. He denied their petition that sought a ruling that the EIR was inadequate. See the decision and the briefing at the bottom of this page. This page also contains the settlement between the MTC and Sierra Club and Communities for a Better Environment. Tags: CEQA, RTP, ARB

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Suit Challenges HSR Funding: Says It Worsens Climate Change

Suit Challenges HSR Funding: Says It Worsens Climate Change 06/23/14 Filed in: High-Speed Rail | Climate Change TRANSDEF, the Transportation Solutions Defense and Education Fund, announced that it filed suit  in Fresno County Superior Court today challenging the Governor’s fallback funding scheme for High-Speed Rail (HSR). HSR was included in the list of measures to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions contained in the Update to the Scoping Plan recently adopted by the California Air Resources Board (ARB). The Scoping Plan is California’s master strategy for responding to climate change. TRANSDEF’s attorney, Stuart Flashman, commented: “As a former scientist, I was disappointed that ARB ignored the scientific evidence. The huge spike in cement production needed to build all…

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Cap and Trade for HSR: Scientifically Worthless

Cap and Trade for HSR: Scientifically Worthless 04/19/14 Filed in: High-Speed Rail TRANSDEF released its analysis today of the CHSRA’s Contribution of the High-Speed Rail Program to Reducing California’s Greenhouse Gas Emission Levels (June 2013). In short, the construction of HSR would generate more greenhouse gases (GHGs) than it would reduce, for at least 2 decades. Because of this, it would be illegal to use cap and trade funds, which are intended to reduce GHGs, to build HSR. What’s especially surprising about the CHSRA’s report is its overtly deceitful manner of hiding its construction emissions, and its failure to provide comprehensive emissions numbers, despite being tasked by the Legislature with identifying the project’s net GHG…

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