New CEQA SB 743 Transportation Guidelines Finally Finalized

It took five years, but California has finally ditched an outdated and counter-productive metric for evaluating transportation impacts under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). With the guidelines finalized on December 28th, a mere half-decade since the passage of SB 743 (Steinberg) in 2013, the state will ditch “auto delay” as a measure of project impacts and instead assess overall driving miles (VMT). You can see the new guidelines Section 15064.3. It’s a big deal. Now new projects like bike lanes, offices, and housing will be presumed exempt from any transportation analysis whatsoever under CEQA if they are within 1/2 mile of major transit or decrease driving miles over baseline conditions. That means significantly reduced litigation risk and processing time for these badly needed infill projects. Sprawl projects, meanwhile, will need to account for and mitigate their impacts from dumping more cars on the road for longer driving distances.…

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