Governor signs landmark legislation cutting congestion and air pollution, helping BART


Governor signs landmark legislation cutting congestion and air pollution, helping BART

New law encourages communities to build near BART

California's Governor has signed into law a bill that may not only aid BART in the future, but ultimately help commuters fight high gas prices, pollution and traffic congestion.

BART Board Member Tom Radulovich joined Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger at the news conference in Sacramento where the Governor announced that he signed into law Senate Bill 375 (SB 375). Senate President pro Tempore-elect Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) sponsored the legislation.

The new law fights global warming by providing the guidelines for California cities to curb urban sprawl and build communities around transit stations like BART. This new legislation comes on the heels of Assembly Bill 32 (AB 32), which requires a 30 percent reduction in the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2020.

"The most efficient way to reduce greenhouse gas emission is to get people out of their cars," Radulovich said. "That’s because transportation accounts for half of the Bay Area’s greenhouse gas problem. Studies show that people who live in transit villages drive 50 percent less than those who live farther out. Transit villages allow people to live, work, shop and play near transit – thus reducing their reliance on their cars and preventing them from being stuck in traffic burning expensive gas that pollutes our air. As the director who first urged BART to support SB 375, I am glad to see the Governor sign it.

"I’m proud to sign Senate Bill 375," the Governor said. "This legislation constitutes the most sweeping revision of land use policy since Governor Ronald Reagan signed the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) nearly four decades ago. It will provide much needed guidance to local planning agencies on transportation, housing and other land use decisions necessary to meet our greenhouse gas reduction goals under AB 32."

"The urgency of effectively addressing the climate challenge grows day by day," Radulovich said. "More and more, Californians understand the essential role of public transportation in creating a sustainable, prosperous, equitable, and livable California in years to come. BART is determined to meet the challenge, despite the difficult budgetary situation for transit across the state. SB 375 helps keep California a leader in climate protection, and will help the state realize our AB 32 climate protection goals. SB 375 puts climate protection at the center of land use and environmental planning in California, combining accountability for climate impacts of planning decisions with incentives to build and grow in climate-friendly ways."