Good News on California's Smart Growth Bill

When you are battling a forbidding foe like global warming, it is always a relief to share good news. Here is one exciting development: yesterday the California Assembly passed the nation’s first bill to link climate policy with transportation funding and land use planning.

As I wrote yesterday, SB 375 views smart suburbs and urban development as a clean energy and global warming solution. Sprawl, after all, forces us to drive more and burn more greenhouse gases.

Now, California is on a path to change that. Having been approved by the Assembly (in a strong bipartisan vote of 48 to 23), the bill will go back to the State Senate for what is called concurrence. After that, it will travel to Governor Schwarzenegger, and we are very hopeful that he will sign it.

This is a major achievement. In many communities, especially in the car-dependent suburbs of California, the interests of transportation, housing, environmental sustainability and local control often collide. But the bill’s supporters spent two years building bridges.

Their work has paid off. And once again, California is proving to be an incubator of global warming solutions.