Housing, Land Use and Transportation
SB 254 (Allen) – Request for Comment
As amended on April 22, 2015
Senate Bill 254, by Assembly Member Ben Allen, would authorize the California Transportation Commission to relinquish portions of the state highway system to a county or city without legislative action. Specifically, the bill would require Caltrans to biennially report to CTC on highway segments that primarily serve regional rather than interregional movement of people and goods, and require Caltrans to identify routes and segments that would be the best candidates for future relinquishment.
The CTC would not be able to relinquish any portion of the state highway system until Caltrans has entered into an agreement with the recipient of the highway segment and has placed the highway in a state of good repair.
Relinquishment could then only proceed if the CTC, after a public hearing and cost-benefit analysis, makes findings that the relinquishment is in the best interest of the state. The bill would require notice and provide hearing opportunities for adjacent jurisdictions affected by a relinquishment. SB 254 would not allow the relinquishment through this non-legislative process of all or portions of routes included in the interregional road system as listed in Streets and Highways Code Section 164.3. Finally, the CTC would be required to report annually to the Legislature on state highway system relinquishments.
CSAC is interested in comments from counties on this bill, which would provide a means of relinquishing certain portions of the state highway system to local control without requiring legislation.
SB 254 will be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee on May 11.
SB 321 (Beall) – Support
Senate Bill 321, by Senator Jim Beall, would make a technical adjustment to the gas tax swap to reduce revenue volatility. The Board of Equalization is charged with setting the rate of the gasoline excise tax to ensure that it generates the same amount of revenue of the former sales tax. The current process for setting the rate is susceptible to rapid changes due to fluctuations in the price of gasoline. CSAC supports SB 321 because it will incorporate historical prices during the rate-setting process, which will smooth out revenues while maintaining revenue neutrality with the former sales tax. The bill would also allow a mid-year adjustment if prices differ drastically from prior estimates. Finally, SB 321 would reduce the anticipated $885 million cut to transportation funding in 2015-16 by $270 million dollars.
SB 321 is on the Senate Third Reading file.
AB 35 (Chiu) – Support
As amended on April 16, 2015
Assembly Bill 35, by Assembly Member David Chiu, would increase the state’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit by $300 million. The LIHTC program is used for the construction and rehabilitation of affordable housing units across the state. The increase in the state investment would leverage an additional $600 million in federal tax credits and federal tax-exempt bonds.
AB 35 will be heard in the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee on May 11.
AB 744 (Chau) – Request for Comment
As amended on March 26, 2015
Assembly Bill 744, by Assembly Member Ed Chau, would require cities and counties to eliminate minimum parking requirements upon the request of a developer receiving a density bonus, provided that certain criteria are met. Specifically, the developer would be able to opt out minimum parking standards if the development receiving the density bonus is located within a half-mile of a major transit stop, is a senior citizen housing development, or is a special needs development. The measure would also provide that a city or county could impose a maximum onsite parking requirement for a development.
CSAC would appreciate comments from counties on the impact of this bill. AB 744 will be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on May 13.
Public Works Administration
AB 975 (Frazier) Request for Comment
As amended on May 4, 2015
Assembly Bill 975, by Assembly Member Jim Frazier, would amend the Local Agency Public Construction Act to preclude a public agency from disqualifying a bidder based solely on a response to a prequalification questionnaire indicating that the bidder has filed a claim against a project owner through the courts, mediation, or arbitration.
CSAC is interested in comments from counties on this measure. The bill was recently amended to remove a provision that would prevent public agencies from disqualifying a prospective bidder that is or was involved in an affirmative claim filed by a project owner through the courts, mediation, or arbitration.
AB 975 was passed by the Assembly Education Committee on April 30 and referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
SB 762 (Wolk) – Request for Comment
As amended on April 28, 2015
Senate Bill 762, by Senator Lois Wolk, would create a pilot program allowing counties to select the lowest responsible bidder on the basis of best value, defined as the best combination of price and qualifications, for construction projects in excess of $1,000,000. Participating counties would establish a procedure to prequalify bidders, include criteria used to evaluate bids in the solicitation, and divide bid price by bidders qualifications score to develop an objective measure of best value. Further, counties could not make an award to the lowest responsible bidder on the basis of best value unless the county holds a public meeting and makes written findings that doing so would meet one of more of the following objectives: reducing project costs, expediting the completion of the project, or providing features not achievable through awarding the contract on the basis of the lowest bid price. Participating counties would be required to report to submit a report to the Legislature by January 1, 2020, including descriptions of projects awarded using the best value approach, contract award amounts, bid criteria, project outcomes and other information.
CSAC requests comments from counties on this measure, including whether it would be helpful in awarding contracts for public works projects. SB 762 will be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee on May 11.
AB 57 (Quirk) – Oppose
As amended on April 6, 2015
Assembly Bill 57, by Assembly Member Bill Quirk, would deem approved any application for colocation or siting of a new wireless telecommunications facility if a city or county fails to approve or disapprove the application within time periods that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established for colocation and siting applications. Under the FCC rule, local governments were given 90 days to respond to colocation applications and 150 days for siting applications. Unlike AB 57, the FCC’s 90/150-day rule only provided wireless telecommunications carriers with a rebuttable presumption to be used in court if a local agency failed to act in a timely manner.
CSAC opposes AB 57 because it goes beyond the requirements of federal law and regulations, limits the ability of local agencies to review projects, and may perversely result in more permit denials if adequate review cannot be completed within the prescribed timeframes. Moreover, we are concerned about the ramifications of specifying in statute that a wireless telecommunication facility is not municipal affairs, but rather a matter of statewide concern.
AB 57 will be hard in the Assembly Local Government Committee on May 13.
AB 779 (Garcia) – Support
As amended on April 14, 2015
Assembly Bill 779, by Assembly Member Cristina Garcia, would provide that any guidelines issued to implement the provisions of SB 743 (Steinberg, 2013), which required the Office of Planning and Research (OPR) to develop amendments to the CEQA guidelines to replace Level of Service (LOS) with a different metric for analyzing transportation-related impacts of projects shall not be effective until July 1, 2017.
CSAC has expressed concerns with OPR’s discussion draft proposal, which would replace LOS with a vehicle miles travelled (VMT) metric for projects completed anywhere in the state. While, CSAC understands and supports the policy basis for transitioning from LOS to VMT in dense, urban areas with many transportation alternatives, we remain concerned with the feasibility and potential unintended consequences of requiring VMT analysis for projects with transportation impacts anywhere in the state. AB 779 would allow additional time to fully vet this proposed change.
AB 779 will be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on May 13.