Clearing the Air at CARB
Green Means Go pilot program gets a good reception at California Air Resources Board
The stage was well set when Sacramento Area Council of Government Executive Director James Corless walked to the podium to update the California Air Resources Board on the innovative approaches SACOG is taking to help lower the region’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The board had just been talking about how their own plan to lower California’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 was performing. Their assessment was grim as they acknowledged that progress was behind target and that vehicle miles travelled had risen in California last year.
Corless described the successes of the Civic Lab mobility incubator program, including the Olli driverless electric shuttle that was being launched that same afternoon on the campus of Sacramento State. “We want to be the test-bed for the state, we want to be the region where we can try new ideas and we’ll be honest about whether we succeed or fail,” he told the board.
Corless went on to link that program, which in 2019 is focusing on how to revitalize fading commercial corridors, with SACOG’s proposed Green Means Go pilot program. That program aims to lower emissions by making it easier to build in established communities, lowering passenger miles by accelerating travel options, and boosting the use of electric vehicles.
The board’s mood seemed brighter when he finished. “Thanks for a great presentation, that was very inspiring,” said vice chair Sandra Berg. “No question the Greater Sacramento region is doing dynamic things.” Chair Mary Nichols called the pilot programs “a good local approach.”
Board member Daniel Sperling, the founding director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis, said that boosting infill development was ““the bigger nut to crack.” Fellow board member and Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna made the point that because of its less dense population compared to California’s coastal cities, the Sacramento region’s emissions target required a greater “magnitude of the lift”, that required the boost of a pilot program to help reach the 19 percent target.
Speakers in support of the Green Means Go program included Sacramento Air Pollution Control Officer Alberto Ayala, affordable housing developer Keith Bloom from Mutual Housing California, and Walk Sacramento Executive Director Kirin Kumar, who called the pilot “a bold strategy for achieving greenhouse gas reduction and to create a better region to live in.”