By Leslie Z. Walker

As mandated by SB 375 (Stats 2008, Ch.728) the California Air Resources Board (CARB) is required to set passenger vehicle greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reduction targets for 2020 and 2035 for each of the 18 Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) regions in California. CARB must set the targets by September 30, 2010. (Gov. Code, § 65080 subd. (b)(2)(A).)

On June 30, 2010, CARB released Draft 2020 Targets for California’s four largest MPO regions, and set placeholder targets for those regions and timeframes for which insufficient data currently exists.

Four Largest MPO Regions

The four largest MPO regions are:

  • Metropolitan Transit Commission (MTC)
  • Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG)
  • San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG)
  • Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG)

The 2020 target for these four MPO regions is a five to ten percent reduction from 2005 levels for each region. This reduction will be achieved from land use and transportation planning scenarios provided by the four MPOs. CARB found that insufficient technical information supported setting targets for 2035, and therefore set the following 2035 placeholder targets for reduction from 2005 levels:

  • MTC: 3-12%
  • SACOG: 13-17%
  • SANDAG: 5-19%
  • SCAG: 3-12%

San Joaquin Valley MPOs

The San Joaquin Valley MPOs are:

  • Council of Fresno County Governments (Fresno COG)
  • Madera County Transportation Commission (MCTC)
  • Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG)
  • Kern Council of Governments (Kern COG)
  • Kings County Association of Governments (KCAG)
  • San Joaquin Council of Governments (SJCOG)
  • Stanislaus County Council of Governments (StanCOG)
  • Tulare County Association of Governments (TCAG)

CARB considered the technical foundation in support of targets for these San Joaquin MPO regions to be insufficient and therefore set placeholder targets at 1-7% reduction for 2020, and 1-7% reduction for 2035.

Remaining MPOs

The remaining six MPO regions are:

  • Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments (AMBAG)
  • Butte County Association of Governments (BCAG
  • San Luis Obispo County Council of Governments (SLOCOG)
  • Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG)
  • Shasta County Regional Transportation Planning Agency (SCRTPA)
  • Tahoe Metropolitan Planning Organization (TMPO)

These six MPO regions represent about five percent of the State’s greenhouse gas emissions and vehicle miles traveled. For these MPO regions, ARB proposes using the most current GHG per capita projections from each MPO, adjusted for the impacts of the recession, as the basis for each MPO’s target.

The following table summarizes the 2020 targets and 2020 and 2035 placeholder targets:


MPO Region

2020 Draft Target

2020 Placeholder Target

2035 Placeholder Target

Four Largest MPOs


5-10 %


3-12 %

San Joaquin Valley MPOs





Six Smallest MPOs





The targets are being reviewed during a public workshop process. The targets will thereafter be revised, and CARB will consider them for adoption in September 2010. Once adopted, the targets may be revised every four years. (Gov. Code, § 65080 subd. (b)(2)(A)(iv).)

Leslie Z. Walker is an associate at Abbott & Kindermann, LLP.  For questions relating to this article or any other California land use, real estate, environmental and/or planning issues contact Abbott & Kindermann, LLP at (916) 456-9595.

The information presented in this article should not be construed to be formal legal advice by Abbott & Kindermann, LLP, nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Because of the changing nature of this area of the law and the importance of individual facts, readers are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their individual legal issues.