The SVO Voices Support for New Transportation Impact Policy Analysis Shift to Vehicle Miles Traveled

On behalf of The Silicon Valley Organization (The SVO), we are writing to support the new transportation impact policy analysis shift to Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) to comply with Senate Bill 743. By way of background, we are the Silicon Valley’s premier business advocacy organization representing 1,400+ companies that employ nearly 300,000 workers and we represent our membership as the region’s largest Chamber of Commerce.

In 2013, the State of California passed and adopted Senate Bill 743 (SB 743) which created a new regulatory framework so that local municipalities can no longer use “automobile delay” as a consideration when conducting a transportation analysis under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). SB 743 has changed the guidelines on how municipalities can assess transportation impacts under CEQA and to better support “smart growth”. The SVO supports a “smart growth” vision, through the proposed VMT policy, by streamlining a development project’s transportation impact analysis under CEQA. This policy encourages higher density projects to be developed along transit lines, with the desired outcome of reducing automobile travel throughout the city.

Furthermore, we strongly encourage the city council to utilize VMT as the sole method of transportation policy analysis and transition completely away from any LOS analysis. This will allow our members to better understand how the city will assess a project’s transportation impacts through a comprehensive, well-defined process. As the city transitions to VMT, it is certain to be a cumbersome process and we welcome the opportunity to provide feedback throughout the city’s VMT policy implementation phase.

The SVO urges Mayor Liccardo and Council to approve council agenda item 10.2 and support city staff’s recommendations for the policy transition to VMT.