Fresno COG Regional VMT Mitigation Program Study

The Fresno Council of Governments (Fresno COG) is conducted a study regarding regional VMT mitigation programs that would be feasible for the Fresno County region.


Background
SB 743 requires that level-of-service (LOS), used in measuring transportation impacts in CEQA, be replaced with another metric that will “promote reduction of greenhouse gas emission, the development of multi-modal transportation system and a diversity of land use development.” The Office of Planning and Research (OPR) recommended VMT as the new metric. Fresno COG developed SB 743 Implementation Regional Guidelines in 2020, which provides tools for local governments to implement SB 743 should they decide to endorse the recommendations in the Guidelines. The SB 743 Implementation Regional Guidelines document is available at: https://www.fresnocog.org/project/sb743-regional-guidelines-development/. Since July 1, 2020 when SB 743 took effect, many jurisdictions in Fresno County have taken action to approve policies regarding SB 743 implementation.


One of the outstanding issues regarding the SB 743 implementation is VMT mitigation, for which there has not been clear guidance. Projects with significant VMT impacts can’t move forward due to lack of defined, quantifiable and feasible mitigation measures. It is believed that a regional-level VMT mitigation program would be most effective in providing the pathways for VMT mitigation. This study reviewed literatures and best practices regarding VMT mitigation, and explored options such as VMT mitigation bank, VMT mitigation exchange, regional VMT impact fees, etc. The study identified pros and cons for the various techniques and established a framework for potential implementation of a regional VMT mitigation program in the Fresno region.

Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) Meeting #1