The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) draft Connect SoCal 2024 Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy was released late last month, outlining direction for the region to meet federal transportation air quality standards and state greenhouse gas emission targets through $750 billion in transportation investments and a regional development pattern. Read the executive summary here. Read the full plan here. Notable in this plan update are new strategies for addressing the housing crisis and homelessness, adapting to climate change, and investing in underserved communities.
The draft regional plan is available for public review and comment through Jan. 12, 2024. To participate in the public hearings, you can register at https://scag.ca.gov/connectsocal-zoom . To submit comments on the draft Connect SoCal 2024, visit the comment submission form.
The plan acts as a compass to align work at the local level to meet the transportation, accessibility, and quality-of-life needs of one of the most dynamic population and economic centers in the United States. SCAG projects the six-county region to grow by 2 million people by 2050 to 20.8 million, an 11% increase, while the number of jobs is expected to increase by 1.3 million, or 14.2%.
SCAG is designated as a metropolitan planning organization and under state law as a regional transportation planning agency and a council of governments. The SCAG region encompasses six counties (Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura) and 191 cities in an area covering more than 38,000 square miles.
SCAG updates this long-range planning document every four years to respond to challenges, plan for emerging trends and meet federal and state planning requirements. Following the public review period, a final version of Connect SoCal 2024 is expected to be presented to SCAG’s Regional Council for approval in spring 2024.
“This plan incorporates local input more so than in past cycles,” said Art Brown, SCAG’s Regional Council President and a Buena Park City Councilmember. “This can help us move together as a region toward improving our transportation network and meeting our sustainability goals.”
The draft plan identifies a series of outcomes that include increased transit ridership; an emphasis on Priority Development Areas that bring housing, jobs, and mobility options closer together; safe and efficient goods movement; as well as streets that prioritize people and safety.
More than 2,000 projects are included in the plan, including those identified and submitted by six county transportation commissions across the region, including the Riverside County Transportation Commission. Connect SoCal 2024 fulfills the requirement for an updated Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy, which allows the projects to advance under federal and state regulations.
Of the $750.1 billion in investments identified in the plan, $297 billion is specific to transit projects and operations, $75.4 billion is specific to state highway operations and maintenance, $65.4 billion is specific to goods movement and $38 billion is specific to active transportation. However, the plan cautions that securing adequate funding for transportation has become more challenging, as the current system needs maintenance, and innovation will be necessary to transition to the transportation system of the future.