CSAC Bulletin Article

Housing, Land Use and Transportation 08/17/2012

Housing

AB 2447 (Skinner) – Support
As Amended on August 6, 2012

AB 2447, by Assembly Member Nancy Skinner, the California Neighborhood Revitalization Partnership Act of 2012, would create a competitive grant program for financing the purchase of foreclosed homes, the demolition of blighted structures that are foreclosed or abandoned, and the redevelopment of demolished or vacant properties. 

CSAC supports the goal of the measure – to address the negative effects of the foreclosure crisis on California’s neighborhoods and communities. Furthermore, CSAC supports efforts for the development and financing of affordable housing for low-to-moderate income households.

AB 2447 was held on the suspense file in the Senate Appropriations Committee on August 16 and is no longer moving through the legislative process. 

Transportation

AB 1780 (Bonilla) – Support
As Amended on March 29, 2012

AB 1780, by Assembly Member Susan Bonilla, would direct the Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to pay for the oversight of planning documents that are paid for by local agencies and make improvements to the State Highway System. Specifically, the measure seeks to statutorily direct Caltrans’ transportation planning review department to pay for their own staff cost of reviewing planning documents (referred to as PIDs) from the State Highway Account (SHA). 

A PID is an initial report that outlines the potential scope, cost, and schedule for a transportation project that impacts the state highway. Caltrans’ current reimbursement policy requires cooperative agreements to be negotiated between the local agency sponsor and Caltrans before the review of any PID documents. This adds delay and costs, negating ANY reforms that seek to streamline or reform the PID review process. AB 1780 eliminates the reimbursement policy, providing a streamline effect for project approval by removing the need for cooperative agreements between local agencies and Caltrans. Combined with other reforms developed by Caltrans, AB 1780 would facilitate sound, cost effective and timely decisions are incorporated into these initial planning documents.

AB 1780 was held on the suspense file in the Senate Appropriations Committee on August 16 and is no longer moving through the legislative process. 

AB 2231 (Fuentes) – Oppose
As Amended on June 28, 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. Further, the bill would prohibit cities and counties that have an ordinance in place that requires that local entity to repair sidewalks, from imposing a fee, charge, or assessment, except a voluntary contractual assessment, for sidewalk repairs against an owner of private property fronting on any portion of a sidewalk, unless a repeal of that local entity’s sidewalk repair ordinance is approved by the voters.

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 held on the suspense file in the Senate Appropriations Committee on August 16 and is no longer moving through the legislative process. 

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 was passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee on August 16 by a vote of 12 to 5. The measure now awaits action on the Senate Floor. 

SB 878 (DeSaulnier) – Concerns
As Amended on August 9, 2012

SB 878, by Senator Mark DeSaulnier, would establish an independent Office of Transportation Inspector General (OTIG) to ensure that transportation funds are operating efficiently, effectively, and in compliance with applicable federal and state laws. The OTIG would review policies, practices, and procedures, and conduct audits and investigations of all activities involving state transportation funds, in consultation with all affected agencies. Further, the measure would stipulate that funding for OTIG would come from federal transportation funds to the extent possible, with any shortfall in federal funding to come proportionately from the Highway Users Tax Account and an account funding high-speed rail.

CSAC, joining the League of California Cities in our concerns, strongly support transparency, accountability, efficiency and effectiveness at all levels of government. We do not oppose the idea of an Office of the Transportation Inspector General, but we do have multiple concerns with SB 878 as currently drafted. These concerns include:

  • Several state agencies and departments would have duplicative auditing and investigatory authority;
  • SB 878 lacks criteria to delineate when audits should occur;
  • SB 878 imposes significant costs on local agencies;
  • SB 878 should include a response process for agencies being audited or investigated;
  • Identification of best practices for projects should be a collaborative process with stakeholders; and
  • Funding for the Inspector General should not negatively impact project funding any more than is absolutely necessary.

SB 878 was passed out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee on August 16 by a vote of 12 to 5. The measure now awaits action on the Senate Floor.

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