CSAC Bulletin Article

Housing, Land Use and Transportation 08/24/2012

Land Use/Planning

SB 214 (Wolk) – Support 
As Amended on August 6, 2012

SB 214, by Senator Lois Wolk, would update state law governing Infrastructure Financing Districts (IFDs) to provide an improved mechanism to deliver much-needed infrastructure projects and create jobs in California. 

Specifically, SB 214 would, among other things, eliminate the two-thirds vote requirement to establish an IFD, remove the two-thirds vote requirement to issue IFD-associated bonds, extend the life of IFDs from thirty to forty years, expand the eligible projects to include transit priority projects consistent with a Sustainable Communities Strategy, and would allow IFDs to locate in former redevelopment areas.

IFDs allow the reallocation of existing tax revenues to improve a designated area and specifically allows local governments to use their property tax increment to pay for public works projects. Current law, which requires a two-thirds voter approval to create an IFD, unnecessarily discourages local governments from using this creative option to fund much needed infrastructure projects. SB 214 still requires approval of every affected taxing jurisdiction including the City Council or Board of Supervisors to approve a plan for the IFD thus making it a public process that allows for community input into the program. 

Given the fact that there has been a significant underinvestment in transportation infrastructure across the state over the past few decades and that the major sources of transportation funding are no longer sufficient to maintain our current system, let alone modernize it, SB 214 offers an much-needed solution to allow local governments more flexibility to make transportation investments in their communities. 

SB 214 was passed out of the Assembly Local Government Committee by a vote of 6 to 3. The measure now awaits action by the entire Assembly.

Indian Gaming

AB 2515 (Hall) – Support
As Amended on August 21, 2012

AB 2515, by Assembly Member Isadore Hall, would appropriate $9.1 million from the Indian Gaming Special Distribution Fund (SDF) for the purpose of local community mitigation grants to help off-set the impacts on infrastructure and public services from tribal gaming.

While the grants offered via the SDF program do not mitigate all of the affects Indian gaming has on California’s local communities, the funding is still very critical to local jurisdictions affected by gaming. Counties experience a myriad of costly impacts on local infrastructure and services ranging from transportation to wastewater to public safety. 

Additionally, these are special funds and have no impact on the State’s General Fund or budget. These funds are even more vital during such difficult budget and economic times and could even stimulate some economic activity as a result of investing the money in infrastructure mitigation projects. 

AB 2515 is awaiting action on the Senate Floor.

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