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Image Header: SCAG Spotlight
October 3, 2019
In This Issue
News from the Executive Director

The Regional Council is the governing board of the Southern California Association of Governments and consists of 86 elected officials representing 191 cities, six counties, county transportation commissions, transportation corridor agencies, tribal governments and air districts in Southern California.


For current and archived Regional Council meeting agendas & videos, visit:

Highlights from the Meeting
Image: Professor Bento provides a presentation to the Regional Council.

Professor Bento provides a presentation to the Regional Council.



For a better understanding of the economic impacts of the ongoing housing crisis, Dr. Antonio M. Bento, a professor at the Sol Price School of Public Policy and the Department of Economics of the University of Southern California, provided a presentation to—and answered questions from members of—the Regional Council regarding challenges and opportunities for sustainable development in Southern California. Bento’s presentation focused on the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) process and how an economic, market-based approach could efficiently allocate housing units across jurisdictions. It was suggested that both the identification of priority growth areas in Connect SoCal – the 2020-2045 Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy and RHNA’s analysis of potential areas for new housing are good technical starting points, and that a needed next step (one that is not enabled by the current RHNA process) could potentially involve a new mechanism whereby jurisdictions may be able to maximize efficiency by trading housing allocations. Although Bento labeled his work as a thought exercise and one that is not necessarily ready as a potential policy solution, it is important that new ideas continue to be developed to aid policy discussions on how regions plan to accommodate and foster more housing.



In a report to the Regional Council, SCAG staff indicated that the jointly published final rulemaking from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on Sept. 27 entitled, “The Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Rule Part One: One National Program” could have a number of significant impacts on the agency’s primary planning efforts. In the widely anticipated and controversial rule, the NHTSA is affirming that federal law preempts state and local vehicle fuel economy, tailpipe greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards, and zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) requirements and that the EPA is withdrawing the Clean Air Act preemption waiver that it granted to California in January 2013 as it relates to the state’s GHG and ZEV programs. Among other potential impacts, the rulemaking could impede the agency’s ability to perform the required transportation conformity analyses for both the Connect SoCal plan and the upcoming 2021 Federal Transportation Improvement Program. This could potentially lead to a situation where a transportation conformity lapse or highway sanctions—or both—would prevent SCAG from making changes or adding new projects to our regional transportation plans and programs, as well as prevent many important transportation projects from receiving necessary federal approval or federal funding. SCAG staff will continue to participate in a number of statewide efforts to address the impacts of this rulemaking and will keep the agency’s regional partners apprised of any updates.



Signaling a concern regarding the current state of the development of Connect SoCal, several Regional Council members commented that they felt there were not enough opportunities for the board to provide policy input into the development process. While staff was commended for its technical expertise and planning aptitude, the general consensus was that the elected officials that are ultimately responsible for the plan so far have been provided with a number of presentations and a lot of information, but not enough chances to comment directly on the policy considerations of the plan. SCAG Executive Director Kome Ajise indicated that the agency will take the Regional Council’s direction and evaluate how additional feedback can be provided on the policy issues addressed in the Connect SoCal plan while adhering to the agency’s overall desire to deliver a comprehensive long-range transportation plan for the region on time.

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News from the Executive Director

On Sept. 23, SCAG held a workshop to provide the general public and local jurisdictions with an overview of the updated draft Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) Allocation Methodology framework. Staff provided a presentation on the updated draft allocation methodology framework, which incorporates feedback received from the over 250 people that participated at the public hearings and over 300 comments received during the comment period and furthers the objectives of both SCAG’s regional planning efforts and State housing law. The updated draft methodology addresses both existing need (determined by projected household growth, transit accessibility, and a new component on job accessibility that was added based on input received during the public comment period) and projected need (determined by projected household growth, future vacancy need and replacement need). As part of the workshop, SCAG staff also answered questions on the recommended draft methodology from members of the public.

The staff-recommended RHNA allocation methodology will be presented at the RHNA Subcommittee meeting on Oct. 7, which will provide its recommendation to a Special Meeting of the Community, Environment & Human Development (CEHD) Committee on Oct. 21. The CEHD recommendation will go to the Regional Council for approval on Nov. 7, after which the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) will undergo a 60-day review of the methodology. It is expected that the Final RHNA Allocation Methodology will be approved in January-February 2020. For a schedule of upcoming meetings or for more information on RHNA, please visit the RHNA webpage. If you would like to be added to the RHNA mailing list, please e-mail


On Sept. 25, SCAG Regional Council President Bill Jahn, Executive Director Kome Ajise and staff hosted a New Member Orientation for 10 Regional Council and Policy Committee members who had joined SCAG from January 2018 through this year. Staff provided an in-depth presentation that covered multiple topics such as the agency’s governing structure, member benefits, and major on-going projects. There was also an opportunity for members to ask questions on forms, bylaws, Fair Political Practice Commission (FPPC) filings, and more. Six longstanding Regional Council and Policy Committee members also participated as mentors to support the new members. The New Member Orientation will become a twice-per-year set event that will coincide with major elections.


The Go Human Kit of Parts has launched with appearances at CicLAvia: Meet the Hollywoods, the September 2019 Regional Council meeting, and the City of Los Angeles’s Sylmar Taco Festival. There are an additional 11 events scheduled with more to come. The Kit of Parts are physical “pop-up” tools that SCAG partners can borrow to demonstrate safety such as pedestrian islands, bulb-outs, parklets and crosswalks. SCAG also celebrated September’s Pedestrian Safety Month with Go Human Challenges at four events across the region to engage and educate residents on topics such as traffic safety, sustainability, and active transportation using games like tic-tac-toe, ring toss and transportation trivia. Last but not least, Go Human launched two bicycle-friendly business districts (BFBD) in Baldwin Park and El Monte/South El Monte. With over 200 overall attendees, the BFBD launches also featured beginner-friendly bicycle tours of local bicycle-friendly businesses and free samples. SCAG’s Go Human program has some exciting things planned for Walktober. Please visit the Go Human website for updates on future programs, events and announcements.

Upcoming Meetings
  • 7th RHNA Subcommittee
  • 15th Legislative/Communications & Membership Committee
  • 17th Technical Working Group
  • 17th Joint Meeting of the Environmental Justice and Public Health Working Groups
  • 21st Special Meeting of the Community, Economic & Human Development Committee
  • 22nd Transportation Conformity Working Group
  • 23rd Modeling Task Force
  • 7th Joint Meeting of the Regional Council and Policy Committees
  • 19th Legislative/Communications & Membership Committee
  • 21st Technical Working Group
  • 21st Active Transportation Working Group
  • 21st Natural Lands Working Group
  • 26th Transportation Conformity Working Group
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