Executive Director’s Monthly Report, June 2023


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Update on the RHNA Reform Process and Schedule  

The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) is crafting recommendations to reform the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) process, which will be provided in a report to the California State Legislature by Dec. 31.  

Because this process involves stakeholder engagement, SCAG seeks input from jurisdictions, stakeholders and the public on our own draft RHNA reform recommendations through a brief public survey. In addition to the survey, we will hold a public listening session on June 22, with a second date still to be announced. Stakeholders can also submit comments at housing@scag.ca.gov. All survey responses and comments are due by June 30. 

SCAG will present its draft recommendations for review and approval to the Community, Economic and Human Development Committee at a special meeting in August and to the Regional Council for final approval on Sept. 7. The approved recommendations will inform a comment letter from SCAG to HCD on RHNA reform. View the draft recommendations, take the survey and register for a listening session at scag.ca.gov/rhna

REAP 2.0 Housing Infill on Public and Private Lands Call for Applications  

SCAG is pleased to announce that the REAP 2.0 Call for Applications for the Housing Infill on Public and Private Lands (HIPP) Program Pilot is now open until July 10.     

The HIPP is a competitive Call for Applications, with an estimated $8 million available for projects focused on: 

  • Development of affordable housing at scale on available public and private land  
  • Corridor-wide or area-wide regulatory infill housing actions – development and implementation  

The completed application and all required attachments must be submitted by email to housing@scag.ca.gov with “HIPP Application” in the subject line. An emailed Dropbox link is also acceptable. Click here to access the application

Connect SoCal Outreach Wraps Up  

SCAG has concluded the in-person and virtual workshops for Connect SoCal held throughout the region in April and May 2023. These workshops invited stakeholders to share their thoughts on pressing issues impacting Southern California. Stakeholders can still contribute to Connect SoCal by taking a brief survey before June 4.  

Staff will present highlights and findings from the Connect SoCal outreach to the Regional Council next month and ask the Executive/Administration Committee and Regional Council to approve an update to the Connect SoCal Policy Development Framework based on feedback received at the May Policy Committee meetings. 

Guidelines Approval Address Corrective Action  

The Regional Council today approved the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program/Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program Guidelines (CMAQ/STBG). 

During our federal certification in 2022, SCAG was issued one corrective action. With the approval of the program guidelines, by the Regional Council today, and by Caltrans, the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration last month, we have now substantially addressed it.  

All that remains is to ensure SCAG selects any new projects funded with CMAQ or STBG dollars consistent with the program guidelines starting next month. SCAG plans to initiate a call for project nominations in early 2024 to align with an amendment to the 2025 Federal Transportation Improvement Program.  

Thank you to our county transportation commissions, Caltrans and federal partners who worked with us over the last year to achieve this milestone.  

Regional Council Actions End Transportation Conformity Lockdown   

The Regional Council today approved Addendum No. 4 to the Connect SoCal 2020 Program Environmental Impact Report, Connect SoCal 2020 Amendment 3 and 2023 Federal Transportation Improvement Program Consistency Amendment 23-03. These significant approvals ended a 650-plus day transportation conformity lockdown.  

This major milestone would not have been possible without unprecedented multiagency collaboration:  

  • South Coast Air Quality Management District  
  • California Air Resources Board  
  • United States Environmental Protection Agency  
  • Caltrans  
  • Federal Highway Administration  
  • Federal Transit Administration 
  • County Transportation Commissions 

Thank you to our partners for their efforts and commitment.  

Advanced Clean Fleet Rule and Last Mile Freight Program Partnership with Sysco  

The Regional Council adopted a resolution in March 2023 that called on local, state and federal partners to continue investing in a “safe, secure, clean and efficient multi-modal transportation system, including both highways and rail, to support the movement of goods across the region.”  At that meeting, we heard from both the California Trucking Association and the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association about supply chain disruption challenges, market share loss and uncertainty. We also discussed how the focus on advancing zero-emission technologies has led to increased rules and regulations from the state.  

One of those new regulations is the Advanced Clean Fleet Rule, set to begin Jan. 1, 2024.  The rule states that only zero-emission drayage trucks serving seaports and intermodal railyards will be allowed to register in the California Air Resources Board online system, with all registered trucks required to be zero-emission by 2035. This new rule has implications across tens of thousands of drayage trucks operating in the SCAG region, many of which are smaller businesses.   

In alignment with the principles of the Goods Movement Supply Chain Resolution, SCAG’s partnership with the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee as part of our Last Mile Freight Program (LMFP) has supported the transition of medium- and heavy-duty trucks to near-zero and zero-emission trucks and infrastructure. Nearly 40 percent of the awarded funds go to small and medium businesses.   

One of the projects funded through LMFP is a partnership with Sysco, the largest food service company in the world. The LMFP funded 17 Sysco clean air trucks and chargers at their Riverside Distribution Center, as announced last month. Click here for a video on the project.   

SCAG Hosts Listening Session with the California State Transportation Agency  

SCAG hosted California Secretary of Transportation, Toks Omishakin, on May 8 for a listening session with transit agencies from throughout Southern California for a listening session on regional financial and regulatory challenges and solutions in this post-pandemic era.  

The conversations at the session centered around the economy, workforce development, transition to zero emissions, housing and more. Leaders also recognized consensus among transit operators on the California Transit Association letter to the State of California asking for $5.15 billion for transit operations from sources that have historically supported transit providers.  

SCAG continues to support our region’s transit operators through legislative advocacy, technical assistance and regional engagement.  

Update on the SoCal Greenprint Technical Advisory Committee 

SoCal Greenprint will be an optional and open data and mapping tool for the SCAG region to support regional advanced mitigation planning. Regional advanced mitigation planning (RAMP) is a process to expedite project delivery by planning for environmental mitigation to reduce environmental impacts earlier in the planning process and at a wider scale. SCAG is in the process of finalizing the SoCal Greenprint Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), which will advise staff on the development of the Greenprint tool and ensure its alignment with the approved RAMP policy framework.  

The TAC will be a forum for potential users to provide direct feedback on data selection and policies to ensure SoCal Greenprint is an effective tool for users throughout the region.  

Staff are currently reviewing applications and working to fill gaps to ensure regional representation. Once membership is finalized, SCAG will schedule meetings with the TAC in summer 2023. 

SCAG staff will report on recommendations for the Greenprint tool at the Energy and Environment Committee and Regional Council in fall 2023. Development will include beta testing with potential users and stakeholders. SCAG staff anticipates the development of the SoCal Greenprint to be completed in spring 2024. 

SCAG Attends Annual 88 Cities Summit  

SCAG Executive Director Kome Ajise participated in a discussion at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) Annual 88 Cities Summit on May 23 with LAEDC Chief Executive Officer Stephen Cheung. The conversation centered around the economic benefits of ending the digital divide and homelessness and implementing more clean-technology infrastructure.   

SCAG Participates in Broadband Digitial Equity Workshop in Long Beach   

SCAG, the California Department of Technology (CDT) and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) hosted a workshop on May 20 in Long Beach to seek input on the development of the State Digital Equity Plan and the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment Five-Year Action Plan. 

SCAG Executive Director Kome Ajise, Regional Council President Art Brown, and Regional Council members Suely Saro and Mark Henderson attended the workshop, which emphasized stakeholder input on strategies and best practices to support community based broadband expansion opportunities to our most vulnerable communities.   

SCAG Attends FuturePorts Strong Ports Conference 

SCAG Regional Council President Art Brown, Executive Director Kome Ajise and Planning Director Sarah Jepson attended the annual Future Ports Strong Ports conference on May 24. Port Executives like Mario Cordero from the Port of Long Beach were in attendance, as well as stakeholders across the goods movement industry. The panels featured discussions on supply chain automation, competition and decarbonization. 

SCAG Executive Director Meets with Multiple Local Leaders 

SCAG Executive Director, Kome Ajise, held one-on-one meetings with Los Angeles City Councilmembers Bob Blumenfield, Marqueece Harris Dawson, John Lee, Tim McOsker, Traci Park and Monica Rodriguez, as well as Council President Paul Krekorian, during the month of May 2023. He also met with San Bernardino Supervisor Curt Hagman and the Mayor of Eastvale, Clint Lorimore. The meetings focused on updates from SCAG and these local jurisdictions around housing, transportation and sustainability, as well as opportunities for collaboration, engagement and more. 

SCAG Deploys new ArcGIS Workflow Management System  

To prepare for Connect SoCal, SCAG collected data through our Local Data Exchange (LDX) process to better understand the region in terms of land use, mobility, housing, employment and the environment. This information from local jurisdictions is one of the crucial inputs to properly plan and develop strategies to improve the quality of life for 19 million Southern Californians. In the past, SCAG faced challenges tracking and organizing input, particularly due to different data formats and limited resources.  

To streamline the data collection process and improve efficiency, SCAG implemented ArcGIS Workflow Manager, which is software that automates work related to tracking and reviewing data inputs. This solution allows for flexible data sharing, automated communications and enhanced management and tracking of data contributions from local jurisdictions.  By adopting Workflow Manager, SCAG improved transparency and efficiency in the data input collection process. Ultimately, it has enhanced SCAG’s ability to manage and utilize data effectively for sustainable and efficient regional planning. The LDX web is live, and local jurisdictions are encouraged to use it to share updated data with SCAG and vice versa.   

Click here to read the full article on how SCAG is utilizing Workflow Manager. Please contact SCAG Local Information Services Team at LIST@scag.ca.gov for questions. 

SCAG’s “Other-to-Residential” Toolkit Receives Award from the American Planning Association Los Angeles Chapter  

The American Planning Association Los Angeles chapter has awarded SCAG’s REAP-funded Other-to-Residential Toolkit the Award of Excellence in the Best Practices category. The Best Practices category recognizes how innovative planning practices can create lasting communities of value. The Other-to Residential Toolkit is a step-by-step guide for policymakers and agency staff on innovating to expand housing options, such as converting underutilized sites into residential.  

SCAG’s Development Streamlining Project Recognized by California State Chapter of the Association of Environmental Professionals 

The California State Chapter of the Association of Environmental Professionals recognized SCAG and its consulting partners Ascent, Civic Solutions and Sohagi Law Group with the Award of Merit at their annual statewide conference in April 2023 for the Environmental Resource Document as part of the Development Streamlining efforts.  

The Development Streamlining project continues to move forward with its fourth and final workshop scheduled for June 20. Registration details, recordings of prior workshops and guidance materials are all available on the Development Streamlining webpage

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