State Policy

Connecting Transportation, Land Use, and Climate Change Policy

Growing concerns over climate change and the role of transportation and land use planning in contributing to it has resulted in many legislative changes over the past five years at state levels.  Many states have established greenhouse gas reduction goals with varying degrees of implementation at the state, regional, and local levels.  Transportation and land use planning is considered to be part of achieving these state goals, and local and regional governments are beginning to address how community design influences vehicle-miles-traveled.  While there are certainly imperfections in new climate change legislation at state levels of government, and implementation challenges at the regional and state levels, there is a nation-wide recognition that the era of development patterns that attribute to auto-dependent communities is drawing to a close.

State Policy

The Western Climate Initiative (WCI) is a collaboration of governors to address the issues of climate change. WCI has set an overall regional goal of reducing aggregate emissions to 15% below 2005 levels by year 2020. The WCI is also designing a market-based mechanism for achieving these reductions and has completed a draft design of a regional cap-and-trade program (July 2008). The partners of WCI are: Arizona, British Columbia, California, Manitoba, Montana, New Mexico, Ontario, Oregon, Quebec, Utah, and Washington. On December 20, 2005, the governors of seven Northeastern states announced the creation of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The governors of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont signed a Memorandum of Understanding agreeing to implement the first mandatory U.S. cap-and-trade program for carbon dioxide. RGGI sets a cap on emissions of carbon dioxide from power plants, and allows sources to trade emissions allowances. The program will begin by capping emissions at current levels in 2009, and then reducing emissions 10% by 2019. The Pew Center on Global Climate Change provides a comprehensive list of actions taken at the state and regional level to address greenhouse gas reduction.  The following list includes states that have set greenhouse gas reduction targets:

  • Arizona – GHG reduction to 2000 levels by 2020; 50% below 2000 levels by 2040 (Executive Order 2006-13, 2006)
  • California – GHG reduction to 1990 levels by 2020; 80% below 1990 GHG levels by 2050 (AB 32, 2006; Executive Order S-3-05, 2005)
  • Colorado – 25% volumetric reduction in vehicle petroleum consumption by 2012; 20% GHG reduction below 2005 levels by 2020; 80% below 2005 levels by 2050 (Executive Order D-004-08, 2008)
  • Connecticut – 10% GHG reduction below 1990 levels by 2020; 80% below 2001 levels by 2050 (HB 5600, 2008)
  • Florida – GHG reduction to 2000 levels by 2017; 1990 levels by 2025; 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 (Executive Order 07-127, 2007)
  • Hawaii – GHG reduction to 1990 levels by 2020 (Act 234, 2007)
  • Illinois – GHG reduction to 1990 levels by 2020; 60% GHG reduction below 1990 levels by 2050 (Governor’s Climate Change Advisory Group, 2007)
  • Maine – GHG reduction to 1990 levels by 2010; 10% GHG reduction below 1990 levels by 2020; 75-85% below 2001 levels in the “long term” (Act to Provide Leadership in Addressing the Threat of Climate Change, 2003)
  • Maryland – 25% GHG reduction below 2006 levels by 2020; 80% below 2006 levels by 2050 (SB 278, 2009)
  • Massachusetts – 10%-25% GHG reduction below 1990 levels by 2020; 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 (S.2540, 2008)
  • Montana – GHG reduction to 1990 levels by 2020 (Western Climate Initiative, 2007)
  • Minnesota – 15% GHG reduction below 2005 levels by 2015; 30% below 2005 levels by 2025; 80% below 2005 levels by 2050 (Next Generation Energy Act, 2007)
  • New Hampshire – GHG reduction to 1990 levels by 2010; 10% GHG reduction below 1990 levels by 2020; 75-85% below 2001 levels in the “long term” (The New England Governors’ Climate Change Action Plan, 2001)
  • New Jersey – GHG reduction to 1990 levels by 2020; 80% GHG reduction below 2006 levels by 2050 (A3301, 2007)
  • New Mexico – 10% GHG reduction below 2000 levels by 2020; 75% below 2000 emissions levels by 2050 (Executive Order 2005-033, 2005)
  • New York — 5% GHG reduction below 1990 levels by 2010; 10% below 1990 levels by 2020 (State Energy Plan, 2002)
  • Oregon –10% GHG reduction below 1990 levels by 2020; 75% below 1990 levels by 2050 (HB 3542, 2007)
  • Rhode Island – GHG reduction to 1990 levels by 2010; 10% GHG reduction below 1990 levels by 2020; 75-85% below 2001 levels in the “long term” (The New England Governors’ Climate Change Action Plan, 2001)
  • Utah – GHG reduction to 2005 levels by 2020 (State Department of Environmental Quality, 2008)
  • Vermont – 25% GHG reduction from 1990 levels by 2012; 50% by 2028; and (if practical) 75% by 2050 (Executive Order 07-05, 2005; S.259 [Act 168], 2006)
  • Virginia – 30% GHG reduction below 2035 business-as-usual levels by 2025 (Executive Order 59, 2007)
  • Washington – 25% GHG reduction below 1990 levels by 2035; 50% below 1990 levels by year 2050 (Executive Order 07-02, 2007; HB 2815, 2008); 18% VMT/capita reduction below business-as-usual projections by 2020; 30% by 2035; 50% by 2050 (HB 2815, 2008)

~ By Lauren Michele (Hilliard) ~

To see more on climate change and transportation policy check out her website Policy in Motion

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