CSAC Bulletin Article

Housing, Land Use and Transportation

Transportation and Infrastructure Special Session

There has been a flurry of activity in the State Capitol since the Legislature convened the transportation and infrastructure special session announced by the Governor last week. Legislators have been introducing bills – some of the same ideas we’ve seen introduced since January and some new proposals as well – to address the funding shortfalls for the maintenance and rehabilitation of both the local street and road and state highway systems. 

A number of other transportation issues are also in play including funding for transit, capital improvements, and project delivery and environmental streamlining. Legislative leaders in both houses have also appointed special session policy and fiscal committees (membership lists below) but it is unclear when bill hearings may begin. Fifty-one of California’s 58 counties are represented on the three committees. 

The Senate has scheduled an informational hearing on transportation funding needs and solutions next Thursday, July 2. CSAC President Vito Chiesa will present on the local condition and needs and our ideas for solutions. 

At the time of this writing, CSAC staff is preparing to meet with Secretary of the Transportation Agency, Brian Kelly later this afternoon to get a sense of what the Administration is thinking in terms of possible solutions. After a weeks’ worth of intelligence gathering in the capitol, we understand that the Governor and legislative leaders intend for this to be a collaborative process as they work to find the right mix of solutions that achieves the necessary 2/3rds vote of both houses and passes muster by the Governor. 

CSAC will continue to engage with the Legislature and Administration to advocate on behalf of CSAC’s priorities for new transportation funding and is currently in the process of scheduling meetings with all members of the special session policy committees. Our top priorities continue to include ensuring equity in the distribution of new revenues between the local and state systems and direct subventions to counties and cities with adequate protections to ensure revenues go towards transportation into the future. 

We also understand the need to include proper accountability controls similar to the reporting requirements from Prop 1B (2006). CSAC staff will continue regular updates on the special session via the CSAC Bulletin and direct emails. It is anyone’s guess whether the ultimate funding package gets worked out quickly in the new few weeks before summer recess or whether the special session lasts through the summer so we ask counties to be prepared to reach out to their legislative delegations at a moment’s notice. 

AB X1 1 (Alejo) 
AB X1 1, by Assembly Member Luis Alejo, would eliminate the transfer of truck weight fee revenues for debt service related to transportation general obligation bonds and would instead dedicate this revenue to improvements on the local street and road and state highway systems. This measure does not backfill the hit to the state’s General Fund. It would also require all outstanding loans to the General Fund from certain transportation special funds be repaid by December 31, 2018. This bill is the same as AB 227 (Alejo) in the regular session. 

SB X1 1 (Beall) 
SB X1 1, by Senator Jim Beall, would increase several taxes and fees to raise roughly $3.5 billion in new transportation revenues annually for five years with the funding used to address deferred maintenance on the state highways and local streets and roads. This bill is the same as SB 16 (Beall) in the regular session. 

SB X1 2 (Huff)
SB X1 2, by Senator Bob Huff, would dedicate cap and trade taxes paid from putting gasoline production under the cap to improving California’s streets and roads. SB X1 2 would further specify how approximately $1.9 billion in revenues gleaned from cap and trade auctions funds from the recently imposed tax on gasoline and diesel fuel, would be spent. 

SCA X1 1 (Huff)
SCA X1 1, by Senator Bob Huff, would prohibit the Legislature from borrowing revenues from fees and taxes imposed by the state on vehicles or their use or operation, and from using those revenues other than as specifically permitted by Article XIX. The measure would also provide that none of those revenues may be pledged or used for the payment of principal and interest on bonds or other indebtedness. The measure would delete the provision that provides for use of any fuel tax revenues allocated to mass transit purposes to be pledged or used for payment of principal and interest on voter-approved bonds issued for those mass transit purposes, and would instead subject those expenditures to the existing 25% limitation applicable to the use of fuel tax revenues for street and highway bond purposes. Finally, this measure would also restrict the expenditure of revenues from taxes imposed by the state on motor vehicle fuels used in propelling water-borne vessels solely to purposes relating to boating facilities, safety, and boating-related activities, as specified, and would prohibit the Legislature from borrowing those revenues (CSAC’s long sought Tax Swap OHV fix). This measure is the same as SCA 7 (Huff) in the regular session. 

Assembly Finance Committee
Assembly Member Jimmy Gomez (D-Northeast Los Angeles), Chair
Assembly Member Frank Bigelow (R-O’Neals), Vice Chair
Assembly Member Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica)
Assembly Member Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer (D-South Los Angeles)
Assembly Member Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento)
Assembly Member Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore)
Assembly Member Jay Obernolte (R-Big Bear Lake)
Assembly Member Phil Ting (D-San Francisco)
Assembly Member Shirley Weber (D-San Diego)

Assembly Transportation and Infrastructure Development
Assembly Member Jim Frazier (D-Oakley), Chair
Assembly Member Katcho Achadjian (R-San Luis Obispo), Vice Chair
Assembly Member Luis Alejo (D-Salinas)
Assembly Member Autumn Burke (D-Inglewood)
Assembly Member David Chiu (D-San Francisco)
Assembly Member Bill Dodd (D-Napa)
Assembly Member Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton)
Assembly Member Mike Gatto (D-Glendale)
Assembly Member David Hadley (R-Torrance)
Assembly Member Young Kim (R-Fullerton)
Assembly Member Eric Linder (R-Corona)
Assembly Member Adrin Nazarian (D-Sherman Oaks)
Assembly Member Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach)

Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Development 
Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose), Chair
Senator Anthony Canella (R-Ceres), Vice Chair
Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica)
Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel)
Senator Berryhill (R-Modesto)
Senator Ted Gaines (R-Roseville)
Senator Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys)
Senator Connie Leyva (D-Chino)
Senator Carol Liu (D-La Canada Flintridge)
Senator Mike McGuire (D-Healdsberg)
Senator Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia)
Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills)
Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont)


AB 35 (Chiu) – Support 
As amended on May 20, 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 Senate Governance and Finance Committee on July 1.

Land Use and Planning

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, CSAC feels that the wireless industry has failed to demonstrate that delays in siting or co-locating these facilities are primarily due to failure by local agencies to expeditiously process permits, which calls into question the necessity of the bill. 

AB 57 was passed out of the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee on Tuesday, June 16 by a vote of 8 to 1. However, a number of members expressed concerns that the bill could impair a local government’s ability to meet all public noticing and environmental review requirements. As such, amendments are forthcoming to address some of CSAC’s concerns. 

AB 57 has been referred to the Senate Governance and Finance Committee but has yet to be set for hearing. We continue to encourage counties to review the bill and weigh in with your legislative delegation.

AB 1236 (Chiu) – Oppose 
As amended on April 20, 2015

AB 1236, by Assembly Member David Chiu, would mandate all 58 counties and 482 cities adopt an ordinance to create a new expedited permitting and inspection process for electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. Specifically, this bill would require every city and county to adopt an ordinance by September 30, 2016 that creates an expedited and streamlined permitting process for EV charging stations that also includes a checklist of all requirements with which EV charging stations shall comply to be eligible for expedited review. Further, AB 1236 would require every city and county to approve the installation of EV charging stations unless the city or county makes written findings, based on substantial evidence in the record, that the proposed installation would have an adverse impact upon the public health or safety and that those impacts cannot be mitigated.

CSAC opposes this overly-broad and prescriptive measure, which would require the costly and time-consuming adoption of a local ordinance. We are concerned that the approach will not allow for consideration of unique local circumstances, nor applications that may be more complicated than the installation of a single charging station. For instance, a station with multiple charging outlets that qualifies as a public accommodation may have accessibility issues and implications related to parking standards or other local ordinances. 

AB 1236 was passed out of the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on Wednesday, June 17 by a vote of 6 to 1. The measure is now scheduled for a hearing on July 7 in the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee. 


AB 323 (Olsen) – Support

Assembly Bill 323, by Assembly Minority Leader Olsen, would extend until January 1, 2020 the provisions of AB 890 (Olsen, 2012) which allow a city or county with less than 100,000 population to exempt from CEQA review a project to repair, maintain, or make minor alterations to an existing roadway for public safety purposes. CSAC supported AB 890, and supports the extension of the current sunset date.

AB 323 was passed out of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee Wednesday, June 17 and off the Senate Floor on June 22 by a unanimous vote. The measure now awaits action by the Governor. 

SB 564 (Cannella) – Support 
As introduced on February 26, 2015 

Senate Bill 564, by Senator Anthony Cannella, would impose an additional $35 dollar fine on specific specified traffic violations within a posted school zone when children are present. The revenues would be returned to local governments in the form of grants for safe routes to school projects under the auspices of the Active Transportation Program. 

SB 564 will be heard in the Assembly Transportation Committee on June 29. 

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