Southern California transportation plan used for funding, carbon reduction

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At meetings this week, the Southern California Association of Governments will give people in Los Angeles County an opportunity to weigh in on regional transportation plans.

Every four years, the association’s transportation plan becomes a gateway to obtaining federal money. Regional rail, roads and other projects in Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura can't get the cash they need without it. Planners strategize about what type of homes to build, and whether development should grow taller in one area, or spread wider in another.

Now a state law requires planners to consider and to minimize greenhouse gas emissions too. As with the plan last time around, a key focus is regional transit – its ridership has grown 20 percent in the last decade

In another part of the process, policymakers project Southern California's housing needs decades into the future. In presentations, planners say they believe that three-quarters of the region's households won't include children in 30 years, as older Californians make up more and more of the population.

The Southern California Association of Governments expects to issue its draft transportation plan early next year.