Blueprint Process Overview


Phase 1: Fall 2021/Winter 2022

Framing for the 2024 Blueprint

Based on ongoing board conversations and local, regional, and statewide planning efforts since the adoption of the 2020 MTP/SCS, SACOG will examine topics and priorities that should be explored in more detail for the 2024 update. Examples of the topical or priority areas the board may choose to focus on for the plan update include:

  • Advancement of racial equity in land use and transportation planning.
  • Setting the region up for the next generation of public transit solutions.
  • Developing a short list of regional infrastructure priorities.
  • Preparing the region to be resilient in the face of climate change.
  • Capitalizing on the region’s economic advantages to train, attract, and retain a talented workforce in an increasingly competitive national and international labor market.
  • Feedback and direction received will inform the Policy Framework.
Growth Forecasting

SACOG works with experts in economic forecasting, migration, jobs, and housing market forecasting to develop an outlook of the future growth the region needs to plan for in the coming decades. This effort typically builds on prior plan forecasts, reviews changes in global, national, and state economies and migration patterns, examines how patterns have evolved since the last plan update and are likely to unfold in the SACOG region over the next 20 to 30 years.

Local Agency Review and Input

SACOG meets with staff, transit operators, and Caltrans in all jurisdictions to get updates on adopted planning policies, land use plans and desired transportation investments that may be occurring in the next 25 years.

Engagement Strategy

Engagement with stakeholders, advocacy groups, and the public to have an opportunity to provide input on the Blueprint.

Policy Framework

A statement of major policy issues, challenges, and statements the SACOG Board has identified as priorities to be addressed in the region’s long-range transportation plan. The framework will act as an overarching guide for all the planning work that follows until plan adoption.

Phase 2: Spring/Summer 2022

Transportation Call for Projects and Land Use Assumptions Review

Cities, counties, transit operators, and Caltrans nominate transportation investments for SACOG to consider for the plan update. Cities and counties also review assumptions about existing land use conditions, provide updates on local planning and building efforts, and work with SACOG to develop assumptions about the total capacity in existing plans for new jobs and housing. This work informs pathways that look to accommodate the growth forecast developed during Phase 1 and test the policy objectives and regional priorities identified in the Policy Framework.

Pathway Development

SACOG analyzes multiple future community growth pathways for center/corridor communities, established communities, developing communities, rural residential communities, pricing strategies, and transportation project packages with various emphases. This work is led by SACOG staff under direction of the SACOG board, guided by the Policy Framework, and in close coordination with stakeholders, member cities and counties, and partner agencies.

Phase 3: Summer/Fall 2022

Test Land Use and Transportation Pathways

Pathways created during Phase 2 are evaluated using SACOG’s travel demand model, financial forecast, and other tools to determine how varying strategies and investment packages contribute to the region’s ability to meet state and federal requirements (such as achieving our greenhouse gas reduction target), as well as how they advance other regional goals and objectives.

Public Workshops and Feedback

Eight public workshops will be held across the region. Following state guidelines, one workshop will be held in each county and three in Sacramento County to provide the public with information and tools to understand issues and policy choices. In the past SACOG has provided robust public comment opportunities, the workshops are a requirement in SB 375. SACOG staff will also pursue online feedback and education opportunities such as virtual workshops and online surveys. Throughout the development of the Blueprint, SACOG will provide regular updates via email, public meetings, and is available to provide presentations to public agencies and advocacy or community-based organizations interested in learning more or providing input on the plan update process.

Phase 4: Winter 2022/2023

Adopt Preferred Pathway Framework

The SACOG board will adopt a Framework based on the pathway testing, input from member agencies, advisory groups, and public workshops, and policy discussions of the preceding year. This framework will describe the priorities and strategies for the final Blueprint. SACOG staff use this to finalize the land use forecast and transportation investments if the final plan.

Phase 5: Spring/Summer 2023

Create and Vet Preferred Pathway 

SACOG staff creates the final land use forecast, revenue assumptions, and transportation investment list based on the priorities and direction outlined in the Preferred Pathway Framework. Local agencies and board members review and edit before assumptions are finalized..

Elected Official Info Sessions

Pursuant to state guidelines, informational sessions are held with elected officials in each county (one per county). These sessions are intended to be an opportunity for elected officials to provide to learn about and provide feedback on the draft Blueprint.

Adopt Preferred Pathway

Board approves the final assumptions for the plan.

Final Analysis, Plan and Draft EIR Writing

Once assumptions are finalized, SACOG staff begins writing the Environmental Impact Report (EIR), plan document, and technical appendices. During this phase, SACOG also refines the policies described in Policy Framework adopted at the end of Phase 1, develops other supportive strategies and actions, and identifies roles and responsibilities for plan implementation. This work also includes gathering documentation needed to submit the final plan to federal and state agencies for approval. Both the plan and EIR are structured in a way to provide multiple benefits for transportation and land use projects that are consistent with the plan’s policies and investment strategies. One key example of this are the pathways to CEQA streamlining made possible by Senate Bill 375. These include:

  • Streamlined review and analysis of residential or mixed-use projects consistent with the SCS;
  • Modified review and analysis, through an expedited Sustainable Communities Environmental Assessment (SCEA), for Transit Priority Projects (TPPs) that are consistent with the SCS; and,
  • A complete CEQA exemption for TPPs that are consistent with the SCS and meet a specific list of other requirements. In each of these cases, this Blueprint EIR will serve as a first-tier environmental document under CEQA.

Phase 6: Fall 2023/Winter 2024

Release Plan and EIR for Public Comments

The SACOG board will release the plan for a 60-day review period in which the draft plan and EIR are open for public comment.

Response to Comments and Final EIR

SACOG addresses comments on the plan and EIR as best as possible in advance of adoption. This may include making clarifications, edits, and additions to the plan narrative, policies, strategies, or other elements in preparation for final adoption and certification by the SACOG board.

Phase 7: Winter/Spring 2024

Plan Adoption

Board adopts the final plan and certifies the EIR. SACOG submits technical documentation to the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Authority, and greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction documentation to the California Air Resources Board for review. SACOG also submits the plan to Caltrans and the California Transportation Commission along with a checklist documenting that the plan meets all federal and state requirements. SACOG works with each of these agencies to provide additional supporting or technical documentation before receiving final approval of the plan.

Plan Approval

Federal and state agencies make a determination about whether the MTP and SCS satisfy requirements, including conforming with the federal Clean Air Act and the state assigned GHG reduction target.