Housing Land Use and Transportation update 11/8/2013
CSAC Comments on Truck Size and Weight Study
The US Department of Transportation was charged with studying the potential impacts of allowing larger and heavier trucks on the nation’s roadways as part of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). The study is now underway. This week, CSAC sent a letter to the Secretary of Transportation urging the Department to consider the impacts of heavier trucks on local bridges and roadways in addition to state highways.
CSAC’s comments focused on the declining pavement condition index of local streets and roads in California, as well as significant number of structurally deficient and functionally obsolete bridges—facilities that may be unable to support trucks weighing up to 97,000 pounds. CSAC was thankful for the assistance of Los Angeles County Public Works staff, who were able to provide cost estimates for the replacement of structurally deficient bridges and the cost to inspect bridges to determine whether they could accommodate heavier trucks. These estimates allowed CSAC to extrapolate and approximate the potential costs of heavier and larger trucks to the local network on a statewide basis.
CSAC will continue to monitor the Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Study. The comment letter is available online here.
Senate Working Group on Off-Reservation Gaming Agreements Meets
On November 4, CSAC staff participated in a meeting of the Senate Working Group on Off-Reservation Indian Gaming Agreements. The working group is chaired by Senator DeLeón, and includes Senators Yee, Berryhill, Torres, Vidak, who were present at the meeting, and Senators Lara and Beall, who were not in attendance. As counties recall, in August 2012 the Governor concurred with the Secretary of Interior in approving the acquisition of off-reservation trust lands for Indian gaming projects proposed by the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indian in Madera County and the Enterprise Rancheria of Estom Yumeka Maidu in Yuba County.
The Chair noted that it was his goal for the working group to explore options for the Legislature to have a more meaningful role in the off-reservation gaming decision-making process and expressed his displeasure that the first time the Legislature got to weigh in on the North Fork application was when the Legislature voted to ratify the tribal-state gaming compact; the Legislature did not vote on the Governor’s concurrence with the. The Working Group also wants to explore the idea of creating standards and/or factors for consideration in the decision-making process.
CSAC staff indicated that while we do not have a position on off-reservation gaming specifically, CSAC supports additional clarity, transparency, and the development of consistently applied and definite criteria for decision-making during the fee-to-trust process for all trust land applications—on- or off-reservation, gaming or non-gaming. Furthermore, CSAC supports requiring that the affected county’s Board of Supervisors concur in a secretarial and gubernatorial decision to take off-reservation lands into trust for Indian gaming purposes.
CSAC will continue to monitor the working group’s progress. Staff will also provide an update on CSACs Tribal and Intergovernmental Affairs Policy during the Housing, Land Use and Transportation Policy Committee meeting during the 2013 CSAC Annual Meeting.