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State regulators duke it out over whether Californians needs to limit vehicle miles traveled

Photo Credit: Ed Joyce/KPCC
Photo Credit: Ed Joyce/KPCC
Ed Joyce/KPCC

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In light of the state Legislature mandating the release of greenhouse gas score cards for more than a dozen municipalities, residents may find that they need to limit the miles put on their cars in order to reach local environmental goals.

This past June marked the first ever meeting between the California Air Resources Board and the California Transportation Commission, and a surprising debate arose as a result. Though the air board acknowledged the effectiveness of electric vehicles, they insisted that reducing vehicle miles traveled (VMT) was essential in carrying the state towards clean air quality. In contrast, members of the transportation commission, including Commissioner Paul Van Konynenburg, appeared skeptical of limiting VMT, citing that a statewide transition towards zero-emissions vehicles was enough to reach greenhouse-gas goals.

The two agencies are set to meet again this winter, and the discussion regarding VMT and zero-transmission vehicles is almost sure to arise again. What are the arguments involved? And what kind of research is being done to prove the effectiveness of each tactic?

With guest host Libby Denkmann.


Joshua Emerson Smith,  transportation and environment reporter at the San Diego Union Tribune who covered the meeting between the California Transportation Commission and California Air Resources Board

Lezlie Kimura, manager of Sustainable Communities Policy and Planning Section at the California Air Resources Board

Darin Chidsey, chief operating officer for the Southern California Association of Governments, an agency that addresses regional issues, including transportation plans, it encompasses six counties: Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura