The $11.3 Billion Regional Plan for How Communities Grow and People Travel

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Source: SBCAG

An 18-month process to bring about a vision for regional growth and development in Santa Barbara County concluded with the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG) Board of Directors adopting Connected 2050, the Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy, at their August 19, 2021 meeting. The plan was adopted 12-0 with Director Bob Nelson abstaining.

Connected 2050 is a long-range plan for the region’s future that balances transportation and housing needs with social, economic, and environmental goals. The final plan prioritizes bringing jobs to housing centers and housing to job centers, then making sure they are connected with transit service, bike paths, and pedestrian-friendly streets. The plan is required by state law and updated every four years. 

“Connected 2050 provides the building blocks for how we, as a community, are going to grow and prioritize spending where people live, work, play and travel in our county,” said Holly Sierra, chair of Santa Barbara County Association of Governments. “More than a vision, it’s a plan that puts strategies to work to shape a better and more sustainable future for our county.”

The Santa Barbara County region’s transportation network consists of approximately 2,054 miles of maintained public roadways; 338 miles of Class I, II, and III bikeways, 13 public transit services and dozens of private transportation services; three railroad operators; five public-use airports; and one public harbor facility. Together they provide for the transport of people and goods in the region.

Connected 2050 identifies $11.3 billion available for transportation investments specific to Santa Barbara County from federal, State, regional and local sources over the next 30 years. Measure A, the local sales tax measure, accounts for 14 percent of the anticipated revenues. The total cost of projects in the plan is approximately $8.3 billion: $3.1 billion for highway and streets/roads projects, $2.6 billion for transit projects, $1.7 billion bicycle and pedestrian projects, and $81 million for rail projects. Projects such as road maintenance for sidewalk or bikeway improvements that cannot be categorized in a specific travel mode account for approximately $700 million.

Several new aspects were considered as part of the development of Connected 2050, among them, the recognition that the plan was being created within the same timeframe as the COVID-19 global pandemic which has had widespread impact on the transportation sector and how the public engaged in the development of the plan. 

“COVID-19 has forced a transformation in how people traditionally define their workplaces and participate in their communities,” said Marjie Kirn, executive director of SBCAG. “Regional transportation planning agencies like SBCAG have been working for decades to accomplish what has occurred over last 18-months with remote work. However, Connected 2050’s vision is a future with expanded transit service and will require a careful analysis of the lasting impacts of remote work and the transportation industry on a regional scale in the years to come.”

The final adopted Connected 2050 Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy is available for the public to review and download along with the technical appendices on SBCAG’s website at In the final, adopted Connected 2050 documents, the public can access more information about the regional goals, projects, and available resources that make up current and future priorities for the regional transportation network.

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chico berkeley Aug 30, 2021 10:46 AM
The $11.3 Billion Regional Plan for How Communities Grow and People Travel

Short lines from Ventura and Santa Maria to Goleta and SBCC would be a huge benefit to the county.
Just need to build a short line from Goleta station to UCSB and half the transportation woes of the county would be solved.
The tracks are empty 99% of the day.

Channelfog Aug 31, 2021 03:04 AM
The $11.3 Billion Regional Plan for How Communities Grow and People Travel

Chico- The rails are empty 99% of the time and their owners, Union Pacific, like it that way. They are a freight company and hate passenger train interference. Freight never waits for a passenger train, the passengers sit and wait for the freight trains. It is sad that passenger rail will never be a solution as it is in so much of the world.

Sail380 Aug 31, 2021 09:57 AM
The $11.3 Billion Regional Plan for How Communities Grow and People Travel

I need you to draw me a better picture of your plan for a short line from Goleta to UCSB. Of coarse I'm assuming most will drive to the station since the nearest homes look to be a mile away from the station. Where will everyone park? What path would your line take to get around the airport?

chico berkeley Aug 31, 2021 10:28 AM
The $11.3 Billion Regional Plan for How Communities Grow and People Travel

Really?It is not about locals access but the hoards of cars being driven from North/South county or Ventura that ONLY go to UCSB/SBA/ SBCC.
It doesn't take much to get the concept.
Land is taken for many reasons not as important so why not here?
The Fed and State do it all the time.
Smaller scale train can run by the airport on its way to UCSB.
Same downtown for SBCC.

sacjon Sep 01, 2021 10:07 AM
The $11.3 Billion Regional Plan for How Communities Grow and People Travel

SAIL - Gondola boats (as in canals) or suspended gondolas? If they built a series of canals for people to use, we could boat to work and even catch some fresh fish for supper! I think you're on to something! Seriously though, I would totally ride a boat to work.

Byzantium Aug 30, 2021 12:49 PM
The $11.3 Billion Regional Plan for How Communities Grow and People Travel

Dubai (UAE) is exploring many innovative public transit options and were able to quickly add public mono-rail transit on top of their rapidly built environment, when faced with their explosive street traffic issues: SkyWays and Hyperloops are on their drawing boards. Good to see what is out there - we have a "commute" problem, more than a housing problem, since we are built out for this unique area. Going up for housing is not the answer, but efficient ways of reaching out to the wider area is.

Lucky 777 Aug 31, 2021 09:58 AM
The $11.3 Billion Regional Plan for How Communities Grow and People Travel

If only we had the car-hauling ferry trains like Europe does.... who wouldn't want to load their car up onto a train, proceed to the observation car, and then reclaim their car at their destination? No one would prefer the drive between LA and SF if they had that option, and from SB in either direction it would be a pleasure. For that matter, I yearn for the cowboy days of yore when I could have loaded up my mule in the stock car and proceeded to the bar car while traveling to my trail destination.

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