The Financial and Institutional Challenges to Smart Growth Implementation: A Focus on California’s Central Valley

The suburban development that has characterized the post-World War II era has meant that Americans’ quality of life has relied on an ever-expanding road infrastructure that could keep pace with rapid population and automobile growth. With growing concern over the environmental effects of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), policymakers have considered how to lower vehicle miles traveled as a means of reducing GHGs. According to the California Air Resources Board, the transportation sector contributes about 37 percent of all GHGs emitted within the state, with passenger vehicles comprising 73 percent of this amount. With dramatic population growth forecast over the next several decades, public policies implemented today can have important economic, social, and environmental consequences for the future. 

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