SCAG’s PEIR is an environmental report that will analyze and disclose potential impacts of the Connect SoCal plan on the environment. The report is required under law by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). SCAG’s PEIR will provide a region-wide assessment of potential significant environmental effects of Connect SoCal as well as consider broad policy alternatives and program-wide mitigation measures. More importantly, the PEIR provides a foundation for subsequent, project-specific environmental reviews that will be conducted by local implementation agencies.
What will the PEIR Analyze?
The PEIR is a programmatic document that will analyze potential effects of Connect SoCal on the environment. Although the Connect SoCal plan includes many transportation projects, the PEIR does not specifically analyze environmental effects of any individual transportation or development project. Project-level environmental analyses will be prepared by implementing agencies on a project-by-project basis as projects proceed through the design and decision-making process. SCAG’s PEIR will analyze:
Aesthetics and Views
Agricultural and Forestry Resources
Biological Resources and Open Space
Geology, Soils and Mineral Resources
Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change
Tribal Cultural Resources
Hazards and Hazardous Materials
Hydrology and Water Quality
Land Use and Planning
Population and Housing
Transportation, Traffic and Safety
Public Services and Utilities
In order to create a plan for the future, Connect SoCal projects growth in employment, population, and households at the regional, county, city, town and neighborhood levels. These projections take into account economic and demographic trends, as well as feedback reflecting on-the-ground conditions from SCAG’s jurisdictions. Similar to what’s happening at a national level, the population growth rate has slowed and an increasing share of Baby Boomers are retiring. At the same time, California is in the midst of a long-term structural housing shortage and affordability crisis. As our communities continue to expand, vital habitat lands face severe development pressure.
As this region continues to grow in age and population, in an environment already experiencing significant challenges, it is crucial that land use and transportation strategies are integrated to achieve regional goals. Connect SoCal identifies a number of land use and transportation strategies that will provide residents more choices in how they can reach their destinations reliably and reduce congestion on roadways in our region through 2045 and beyond.
As a metropolitan planning organization – the largest in the nation – SCAG is responsible for developing long-range transportation plans and a Sustainable Communities Strategy for a vast and varied region, which includes the counties of Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura.
Connect SoCal is an important planning document for the region, allowing public agencies who implement transportation projects to do so in a coordinated manner, while qualifying for federal and state funding. SCAG is required by federal law to prepare and update a long-range regional transportation plan, keep up with Clean Air Act requirements, monitor system performance, and develop a sustainable communities strategy to achieve greenhouse gas reduction targets set by the California Air Resources Board (ARB).
The plan details the challenges we face, specifies our shared transportation and land use goals, and identifies strategies to realize a more sustainable region.
What is SCAG?
Founded in 1965, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) is an association of local governments and agencies that voluntarily convene as a forum to address regional issues. Under federal law, SCAG is designated as a metropolitan planning organization (MPO) and under state law as a regional transportation planning agency and a council of governments.
The SCAG region encompasses six counties (Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura) and 191 cities in an area covering more than 38,000 square miles.
The agency develops long-range regional transportation plans that include sustainable communities strategies and growth forecasts, regional transportation improvement programs, regional housing needs allocations, and a portion of the South Coast Air Quality management plans.
What is Connect SoCal?
The Connect SoCal plan (also known as the 2020-2045 Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy or RTP/SCS) represents the vision for Southern California’s future, including policies, strategies, and projects for advancing the region’s mobility, economy, and sustainability through 2040. The plan details how the region will address its transportation and land use challenges and opportunities in order to achieve its regional emissions standards and greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets.
The components of Connect SoCal are required by federal and state legislation and is an important planning document for the region, allowing project sponsors to qualify for federal funding. SCAG is required to update this long-range planning document every four years.
What is included in Connect SoCal?
Connect SoCal contains the following core components:
- Vision, policies, and performance measures: Contains an overarching vision, policies, a list of regional transportation goals, and measures for evaluating our performance in achieving those goals.
- Forecasts: Future distribution of population, households, employment, land use, and housing needs.
- Financial plan: Identifies reasonable expected revenues over the 25-year plan horizon.
- List of projects: Includes projects that are anticipated to be initiated and/or completed by 2045.
- Analysis of the following focus areas: active transportation, aviation, environmental justice, goods movement, highways and arterials, land use, open space farm and natural lands conservation, passenger rail and transit, public health, transportation demand management, and transportation safety and security.
How are projects selected for inclusion in Connect SoCal?
Early on in the planning process, SCAG asks that each of the six county transportation commissions (CTCs) submit updated project lists for inclusion. The CTCs are responsible for adding, removing, or updating projects from the 2016 RTP/SCS based on jurisdictional needs. These projects are then considered for inclusion in Connect SoCal.
What is SCAG’s role in developing Connect SoCal?
SCAG is the lead agency in facilitating the development of the region’s long-range transportation planning. SCAG understands the importance of input and consensus, and utilizes a collaborative process to create Connect SoCal. Throughout the development of Connect SoCal, SCAG staff are guided by its Policy Committees, CTCs, subregions, local governments, several state and federal agencies (including Caltrans), environmental and business communities, tribal governments, non-profit groups, as well the general public. The end result of this collaborative process is a collaborative and comprehensive document that reflects public consideration and addresses the region’s needs.
How does the Connect SoCal affect me?
Given the geographic diversity and size of the SCAG region, a coordinated transportation system that is well integrated with land uses and operates efficiently is imperative to the mobility and quality of life of Southern California residents. By employing a regional focus to transportation and land use planning, SCAG seeks to improve the region’s mobility, economy, and sustainability.
And although it doesn’t commit funds to specific projects, Connect SoCal does set the framework for how transportation tax dollars will be spent in the SCAG region over the coming years and decades. The future of the SCAG region will be shaped by the goals and policies set forth in Connect SoCal.
Why do we need Connect SoCal?
Our region is expected to add nearly four million people in the next 25 years. Connect SoCal lays out a vision for accommodating that growth, while at the same time maintaining our quality of life and protecting our environment.
Who will approve Connect SoCal?
Various elements of Connect SoCal will be brought before SCAG’s Policy Committees for review, and then before SCAG’s 86-member Regional Council for approval. The Regional Council is made up of elected representatives from the region’s cities and counties as well as one representative of the Southern California Native American Tribal Governments.
How is the public involved?
As the plan is being developed, SCAG will host a number of interactive community workshops, elected official briefings, and public hearings. Feedback shared will help shape the final plan. Nearing the end of the plan’s development, SCAG will release a draft of Connect SoCal for a 78-day public review and comment period. SCAG is required to respond to or address all comments and responses received during the public review and comment period. The final plan will include a Public Participation & Consultation Sub-Appendices to catalogue and archive comments received.