CSAC Bulletin Article

Housing, Land Use and Transportation


AB 1250 (Bloom) – Support
As amended on September 9, 2015

Assembly Bill 1250, by Assembly Member Richard Bloom, represents a long-sought compromise on the issue of transit buses that exceed statutory axle weight limits under existing California law. Stop-gap measures that grandfathered in existing buses while the issue was studied and debated have been in place since 2012. AB 1250 would put pressure on bus manufacturers to reduce axle weights by establishing a declining maximum curb weight per axle, beginning with bus procurement solicitations issued after January 1, 2016. The bill would also create a two-tier system of limits, with “standard” transit buses subject to lower weight limits than articulated or electric buses. Specifically, standard transit buses would be subject to a maximum of 23,000 pounds, declining to 22,000 pounds by January 1, 2019, while articulated or zero-emission buses would initially have 25,000 axle weight limit, declining to 22,000 pounds for procurement solicitations after January 1, 2022.

The bill also prohibits buses that exceed the federal 24,000 pound-per-axle weight limitation from operating on the interstate highway system and requires that if the gross weight of any axle exceeds 20,000 pounds, that axle must have four wheels. Finally, it encourages local coordination by requiring operators of articulated buses to provide notice to cities and counties when they operate such buses on those local roads, including providing the approximate routes of articulated buses.

CSAC formally endorsed this compromise measure at a Senate Transportation and Housing Committee yesterday. We understand that there will be a clean-up measure next year to correct a cross reference in the bill currently in print. The bill will be heard in the Assembly Transportation Committee today and most likely proceed to the Assembly floor for a final vote.

Public Works

SB 762 (Wolk) – Support
As amended on August 31, 2015

Senate Bill 762, by Senator Lois Wolk, would create a pilot program allowing 8 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 until 2020. 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.

SB 762 was enrolled and presented to the Governor on September 10.

Land Use Planning

AB 325 (Wood) – Support
As amended on July 1, 2015

Assembly Bill 325, by Assembly Member Jim Wood, would make changes to the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program application process for non-entitlement counties. Specifically, the bill would require that no later than 60 days after the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) notifies an applicant that their CDBG application has been approved, HCD must enter into a grant agreement with the applicant unless the federal government of the Legislature makes significant changes to the program. It would also require HCD, when it enters into a grant agreement with an applicant, to provide the applicant with a complete and final list of all of the activities the applicant must complete in order to receive a disbursement of funds pursuant to the agreement. Changes to the list would be allowed if the applicant changes the original application or the Legislature or federal government requires changes. Finally, within 30 days after the receipt of a request for the disbursement of funds from a grantee, HCD must either notify the grantee that HCD has approved disbursement of the funds, or provide the applicant with a complete and final list of all of the remaining activities the applicant must complete in order for HCD to approve disbursement of the funds.

CSAC supports this measure, which would improve transparency and accountability in the administration of the Community Development Block Grant program for California’s “non-entitlement” counties. AB 325 was enrolled and presented to the Governor on September 3.

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