CSAC Bulletin Article

Housing, Land Use and Transportation 06/22/2012


AB 2314 (Carter) – Support
As Amended on June 14, 2012

AB 2314, by Wilmer Amina Carter, would provide local governments additional tools to fight neighborhood blight. 

Specifically, the measure would eliminate the sunset date on existing statutory authority that allows counties to impose civil penalties of up to $1,000 for failure to maintain vacant residential property. The measure also provides new owners of blighted property a sixty-day grace period in which enforcement actions are prohibited as long as repairs are being made to the property. The measure further requires banks to notify local agencies when they release liens on foreclosed properties so that demolition of blighted properties can proceed. Finally, the measure provides that a property owner is liable for all unrecovered costs associated with a receivership in addition to other remedies provided for in the law. 

One of the most significant consequences of the economic downturn and collapse of the housing market – an unprecedented number of foreclosed homes – continues to affect California’s local communities and neighborhoods. Many foreclosed homes have fallen into a state of disrepair creating neighborhood blight, public health and safety issues, as well as further deterioration to surrounding home values. California’s counties need to have a variety of tools at their disposal to prevent and fight neighborhood blight caused by the foreclosure crisis. AB 2314 provides local agencies with such additional tools. 

AB 2314 is scheduled for a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 26. 

Public Works Administration

SB 1516 (Leno) – Oppose
As Amended on June 18, 2012

SB 1516, by Senator Mark Leno, would effectively eliminate a local agency’s right to require substitution requests from bidders prior to the submission of bids unless they first establish a specific procedure for doing so. SB 1516 also allows a bidder whose proposed “or equal” item is rejected to issue a court challenge.

The measure will muddy the process of pre-bid substitution requests and will inevitably result in increased court costs to public agencies. The amendments will allow a contractor who is unhappy with the decision of a public agency to drag the agency into court. However, at the end of the lengthy and expensive court process, there is no discernible benefit for either side. 

In addition, the June 18 amendments requiring a public agency to establish a specific procedure if they require substitution requests prior to bid submission are an unfunded mandate on public agencies, the cost of which will likely further discourage agencies from requiring pre-bid submission of substitution requests.

SB 1516 would unnecessarily complicate the bid and award process and cause an increase in award protests and court challenges.

The measure is scheduled for a hearing before the Assembly Business, Professions, and Consumer Protection Committee on June 26. 


AB 1706 (Eng) – Concerns
As Amended on May 25, 2012

AB 1706, by Assembly Member Mike Eng, would require that the Secretary of the Business, Transportation, and Housing Agency convene a task force to study a variety of issues relating to bus weights and the impact of heavy buses on highways, streets, and roads and increase weight limits during the study period from 20,500 to 22,400 pounds.

According to the sponsors, the majority of buses are currently operating above the legal weight limit and the cause of the increased weight is a variety of state and federal statutory and regulatory requirements that have been imposed after the weight limits were established in law. Cities and counties appreciate the many conversations the author and sponsors have had with our organizations about the troubling results of the new laws and regulations. 

Many cities and counties have made significant financial commitments to their transit service providers. At the same time, cities and counties continue to experience a staggering funding shortfall for the maintenance and preservation of the local streets and roads system. The findings of the most recent Local Streets and Roads Needs Assessment reported a $78.9 billion 10-year shortfall. If there is any way to continue to provide transit services without significantly impacting the roadway system, it needs to be fully explored. For this reason, we continue to have concerns about the increased weight limits, but support the report requirements of the bill. 

CSAC values the services that transit operators provide to our communities and we have made a commitment to explore possible solutions with the sponsors. In order to address this policy dilemma, additional information is necessary in order to determine the most cost effective solution, whether it is to invest in new lighter buses that meet California’s regulatory and statutory standards or to improve the design of the streets and roads and highways that serve as transit routes. 

AB 1706 is set for hearing before the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee on June 26.

AB 2231 (Fuentes) – Oppose
As Amended on May 31, 2012

AB 2231, by Assembly Member Felipe Fuentes, would require voter approval before cities and counties could implement state law that states that property owners adjacent to sidewalks are responsible for sidewalk repair. 

CSAC is opposed to AB 2231 in its current form and all other previous forms of the measure as we believe counties and cities must retain existing authority to fund sidewalk repairs in a manner that allows individual communities to balance all of the needs on the transportation network. Additionally, we have significant concerns with the dangerous precedent that would be set should AB 2231 become law. Every day local legislative actions should not be subject to voter approval. Decisions over local municipal matters should remain the domain of local elected County Boards and City Councils. 

AB 2231 was passed out of the Assembly Local Government Committee on June 20 with six aye votes and three abstentions. During the hearing, the author noted that he intended to amend the bill should it make it to the Senate to add back into the measure provisions that would prohibit counties and cities from assessing fees for the cost of sidewalk repairs. Unfortunately, CSAC is also opposed to these provisions. In fact, many members of the Assembly voted against AB 2231 on the Assembly Floor on May 31 because of their opposition to this provision. It is unclear at this time whether it will succeed on the Assembly Floor where it is now awaiting action. 

ACA 23 (Perea) – Support
As Introduced on February 23, 2012

ACA 23, by Assembly Member Henry Perea, would allow for the imposition, extension, or increase of a special tax, by a local government for the purpose of providing funding for local transportation projects upon the approval of 55% of its voters from the current two-thirds voter requirement. 

Current funding mechanisms for California’s transportation systems fall far short of needs, both short and long-term. The 2010 California Statewide Local Streets and Roads Needs Assessment Study concluded that there is a 10-year funding shortfall of over $79 billion for the local transportation network alone. When needs outweigh available resources, it is imperative that state and local governments, as well as other transportation stakeholders, work cooperatively to identify alternative ways to fund those needs to ensure a long-term seamless transportation system for our state. 
ACA 23 provides local governments with a better tool for raising additional, much needed transportation funds in communities across California. Many counties, both small and large, would benefit from a reduced voter threshold and would in fact attempt local bonds for transportation purposes in their county should ACA 23 be signed into law. 

ACA 23 is set for hearing before the Assembly Local Government Committee on June 27.

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