When the State of California passed a mandate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lawmakers quickly realized that better transportation and land use policies were a necessary part of achieving their goals.
The resulting legislation, SB375, focuses on one particular part of greenhouse gas emissions: reducing how far people need to drive each day between work, school, errands and home. Enacted in 2008, SB375 integrates greenhouse gas reduction goals into California’s existing regional transportation planning process, and encourages planners to locate homes near jobs and create more transportation options. The result is a bill that not only fights climate change, but also gives towns across the state the power to make land use and transportation decisions that strengthen local economies, reduce sprawl, preserve farmland and spur business development.
Darrell Steinberg, California State Senate President Pro Tem, championed the bill and successfully saw it through to law. For his work on SB375 and his leadership on sustainable development issues in California, Smart Growth America honored Mr. Steinberg with the 2012 Leadership Award. The award was presented on Friday at a ceremony at the Joe and Vi Jacobs Center in San Diego.
The Honorable Darrell Steinberg (center) with Geoff Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America (left) and Parris Glendening, President of Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute (right).
“Perhaps no lawmaker has done more for smart growth in California in recent years than Senator Steinberg,” said Smart Growth America President and CEO Geoffrey Anderson. “SB375 was groundbreaking in that it provided a model for how regions can save on municipal service and infrastructure costs, increase development certainty, and become more resilient to changes in energy prices.”
In addition to SB375, Steinberg, who is a former member of the California State Assembly and the Sacramento City Council, helped draft legislation that would have supported tax-revenue sharing among municipalities, with a portion of those funds reserved to achieve smart growth aims such as affordable housing creation and transit-oriented development. During his time as a legislator, Steinberg also has been a consistent and loyal supporter of education and mental health reforms.
Smart Growth America’s Leadership Award is bestowed annually on an elected official who has shown exceptional leadership in smart growth policy development or implementation. Last year, North Carolina State Senator Floyd B. McKissick and Representative Jennifer Weiss received the award for their outstanding leadership in smart growth policy making that will make North Carolina neighborhoods even greater places to live.