Update re 2020 MTP/SCS for the Sacramento Region

NOTICE OF PREPARATION
Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the 2020 Metropolitan Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (MTP/SCS) for the Sacramento Region

To: Interested Agencies, Organizations, and Individuals

Project: Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the 2020 Metropolitan Transportation Plan/ Sustainable Communities Strategy (MTP/SCS) for the Sacramento Region

Lead Agency: Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG)

Comment Period: April 25, 2019 to May 25, 2019 (30 days)

OVERVIEW

You are invited by the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) to comment on the scope and content of the environmental impact assessment that will be prepared for the update of the regional MTP/SCS. You may do so electronically, in person, or by mail – instructions are provided below.

The MTP/SCS is an integrated land use and transportation strategy for the six-county region consisting of Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo, Yuba, and portions of Placer and El Dorado Counties (the Lake Tahoe basin in these counties is excluded from the SACOG region). The attached map depicts the Sacramento metropolitan planning area which is the area covered by the MTP/SCS. More information about the MTP/SCS and the update process is available at the following web site: https://www.sacog.org/2020-metropolitan-transportation-plansustainable-communities-strategy-update

BACKGROUND

An MTP, referred to in other regions as a regional transportation plan (RTP) or long-range transportation plan (LRTP), is the mechanism used in California to conduct long-range (at least 20-year) planning in the applicable regional area. The SACOG MTP/SCS has a 2040 planning horizon. SACOG must adopt an MTP and update it every four years, or more frequently, if the region is to receive federal or state transportation dollars for public transit, streets/roads, and bicycle and pedestrian improvements. This is the region’s second update of the MTP/SCS.

An SCS is a required element of the MTP under California’s Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act, also known as Senate Bill 375 (SB 375) (Statutes of 2008, Chapter 728). The SCS identifies policies and strategies to reduce per-capita passenger vehicle-generated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to target levels set by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The SCS must address: the general location of land uses, residential densities, and building intensities within the region; areas within the region sufficient to house all the population of the region; areas within the region sufficient to house an 8-year projection of the regional housing need; a transportation network to serve the regional transportation needs; information regarding resource areas and farmland in the region; consideration of state housing goals; a forecasted development pattern for the region; and compliance with the federal Clean Air Act. If the SCS does not achieve the GHG emission targets set by CARB, an additional analysis called an Alternative Planning Strategy (APS) must be prepared to accompany the SCS, demonstrating how the targets could be achieved.

MORE INFORMATION

In accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Guidelines (Section 15082), the purpose of this Notice of Preparation (NOP) is to seek comments about the scope and content of the EIR that will be prepared analyzing this update of the MTP/SCS. If you represent an agency that may use the EIR for tiering purposes, SACOG is particularly interested in learning what information may be helpful for such tiering in connection with your project-specific environmental review.

In particular, SACOG seeks your views on the following questions:

  • Are there potential environmental issues that SACOG has not identified in the list of potential environmental effects listed below under the proposed EIR scope. If so, please identify these potential issues.
  • Are there any alternatives you believe SACOG should evaluate?
  • What types of mitigation measures do you think would help avoid or minimize potential environmental effects?

PROPOSED EIR SCOPE

Adoption and implementation of the MTP/SCS has the potential to result in environmental effects in all of the environmental impact areas identified in CEQA. For this reason, the EIR will be a “full scope” document that analyzes all of the required CEQA environmental issue areas. These include: aesthetics; agriculture and forestry resources; air quality (including toxic air contaminants); biological resources; cultural resources; energy and global climate change; geology (including paleontological and mineral resources), soils, and seismicity; hazards and hazardous materials; hydrology and water quality; land use and planning; noise and vibration; population and housing; public services and recreation; transportation and traffic; utilities and service systems. The EIR will also address alternatives, growth inducing impacts, cumulative effects, and other issues required by CEQA.

Due to time limits mandated by State law, your response must be received no later than May 25, 2019, using any of the following methods:

By Mail:
SACOG
1415 L Street, Suite 300
Sacramento, CA 95814

By Fax: (916) 321-9551

By E-Mail: eircomments [at] sacog [dot] org

If you have any questions or need help finding or understanding available materials, please let us know. The name and contact information for the SACOG project manager is provided below.A public scoping meeting to receive oral comments on the appropriate scope and content of the EIR will be held on May 9, 2019 from 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm at the SACOG offices at 1415 L Street, Suite 300, Sacramento, CA 95814.

Project Manager: Renee DeVere-Oki

Title: EIR Project Manager

Telephone: (916) 340-6219

Email: rdevere-oki [at] sacog [dot] org

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The Elk Grove Climate Action Plan is Inadequate

350 Sacramento, the Environmental Council of Sacramento, and the Sierra Club Mother Lode Chapter are grass-roots groups concerned with minimizing, adapting to, and reversing the effects of climate change. We are concerned that the proposed Elk Grove Climate Action Plan does not meet mandated requirements for a qualified Climate Action Plan, and does not adequately respond to the actual threat climate change poses the City.

Click here to read our letter outlining our concerns and suggested improvements to the plan.

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A Note From Our Treasurer: ECOS Needs Your Support

January 11, 2019

Dear Friend,

I hope this letter finds you in good health. I want to highlight some of the Environmental Council of Sacramento’s (ECOS) accomplishments last year, inform you about our plans for the New Year, and ask for your continued financial support—because ECOS would not exist without support from local environmental stewards like you.
We need your support. Please consider becoming a member – better yet with a recurring monthly donation of ten or twenty bucks a month (less than the price of going out to dinner!). You can become a dues-paying member and support our community by clicking here: https://www.ecosacramento.net/membership-account/membership/.

We accomplished a lot in 2018:
· ECOS wins lawsuit securing light rail funding. ECOS secured $40.5 million for the Sacramento Regional Transit Light Rail system by settling our lawsuit challenging the Caltrans Environmental Impact Report for the Capital City Freeway Improvement Project. This money will be used to complete double tracking to Folsom, purchase low floor train cars, and resume evening service on the Gold Line.
· ECOS organizes 29th annual Earth Day. On April 22, 2018, ECOS hosted Sacramento’s annual Earth Day celebration in Southside Park—the largest annual environmental event in Sacramento County. This event now draws over 3,000 visitors to live music, 150 nonprofit and crafts vendor booths, and the largest electric vehicle display and test-drive event in the Sacramento region. Thanks to our partners the Sacramento Electric Vehicle Association and Charge Across Town, some 40 different electric vehicle models were displayed by owners and several hundred test-drives were conducted by regional EV dealers.
· ECOS advocates for underserved communities. In 2018, ECOS advocated for environmental protection in green spaces occupied by Sacramento’s growing homeless population and for expanded homeless services and transitional housing. In addition, ECOS established an Environmental Justice Committee within our organization to identify the priorities of underserved communities and help build networks in support of our mutual environmental interests, including the expansion of public transit, affordable infill housing, and living wages.
· Housing, housing, housing. With the economy continuing to improve, land use projects of increasing size and adverse environmental impact were proposed in Sacramento County last year. If the region does not accommodate the new urban housing market, sprawl will continue, threatening whatever habitat, agriculture and open space is left. So we have also paid a great deal of attention to the intensification of urban development in the region’s cities (Elk Grove, Roseville, Sacramento, Galt, Citrus Heights, West Sacramento, etc.) where the new urban housing market could be focused.

In 2019, ECOS will focus on future transportation funding options, Phase 2 hearings on the California WaterFix, local electric vehicle roll-out, environmental justice group empowerment, and local implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act next year. You can support our work by becoming a member: https://www.ecosacramento.net/membership-account/membership/.

As you know, we are a small, local organization that operates on a shoestring budget and depends on the financial support of community members like you. ECOS does a lot with a little: we have an annual budget of just thousands of dollars; with more members and an expanded budget, we can serve the community better. We know you receive requests from many organizations and hope our decades of dedicated community service and proven success earn us a spot on your list. As always, we would be extremely grateful for your support.

Happy New Year!

Best Regards,

Earl Withycombe, ECOS Treasurer

P.S. There are many ways to support ECOS. Beyond your annual donation we encourage you to become a monthly sustainer, which give us the financial stability to do more. You can do this by visiting our website (https://www.ecosacramento.net/), and then clicking on “Donate” under “Support ECOS”. We also welcome volunteers for every aspect of our work – you’ll have fun and learn skills as you help our environment. Contact us at office [at] ecosacramento [dot] net.

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