State Air Regulators Greenlight Plan Bay Area 2050

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Ben Botkin

Three years after the state’s review process first began, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) this month granted final approval for Plan Bay Area 2050, the long-range vision for the next 30 years for transportation, housing, the economy and the environment in the Bay Area. 

Adopted in October 2021 by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments, Plan Bay Area 2050 offers a roadmap for making the Bay Area more equitable for all residents and more resilient in the face of unexpected challenges. It also outlines strategies for growth and investment through the year 2050, while simultaneously meeting federal and state requirements. 

CARB’s evaluation sought to determine whether Plan Bay Area 2050 could successfully meet California’s target of a 19% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for the region by 2035. In their approval letter, CARB staff commended MTC and ABAG “for continuing its innovative thinking and leadership in adopting new pathways for the region to address smart growth and increase mobility choices.” 

Plan Implementation Already Underway 

Even while awaiting CARB’s final approval, MTC/ABAG staff this year pivoted from planning to implementation, starting with the ongoing development of an Implementation Plan, which identifies key success factors, MTC’s and ABAG’s proposed responsibilities, and over 80 actions to be taken. Moving into 2023, work will focus on the advocacy, initiatives, projects and planning activities that will make Plan Bay Area 2050 a reality.  

New Year, New Plan 

MTC/ABAG staff will soon begin the process of updating Plan Bay Area 2050 to account for changing circumstances. Per federal and state regulations, a new, revised plan must be adopted every four years. Kickoff for the next update, known as Plan Bay Area 2050+, is slated to begin in summer 2023. An early preview of Plan Bay Area 2050+ and its timeline will be shared at the Dec. 9 Joint MTC Planning Committee with the ABAG Administrative Committee.