Western City Magazine | Julie Pierce | posted: March 2015 edition
I am a city council member, but I am also a regionalist. These are not mutually exclusive titles — each needs the other. Regional governments are built with and depend on the expertise of local officials. Because local government is the level of government closest to the people, we hear firsthand when potholes go unfilled or the garbage is not picked up.
But our residents live in regions. It’s not unusual for someone to make their home in one city but work in a second city, shop in a third and go to a fourth for recreation. Our residents expect their local governments to work together regionally.
Enter SB 375 (Steinberg, Chapter 728, Statutes of 2008), a law that requires a Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) to go beyond existing requirements and meet greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. Implementing this policy at the regional level made sense to the Legislature because travel patterns could not be addressed on a city-by-city approach; it requires regional cooperation.
SB 375 also recognizes local authority and leverages the symbiotic relationship between local and regional planning. Local plans provide the baseline for all regional plans and investment decisions. Yet at some point, a transportation investment crosses local boundaries: A new bus line is funded, a road is built or a bike lane is created, and the land-use market responds. New homes are built, businesses spring up, and transit and freight routes are altered. Land-use investment drives transportation systems. And transportation investment drives land-use markets.