CSAC Bulletin Article

Transportation and Housing: Path Uncertain for Two Revenue Bills

As the Legislature worked to meet the Friday deadline to pass bills out of their houses of origin, both houses failed to take up major housing and transportation funding measures supported by CSAC. However, both SB 16, Senator Jim Beall’s transportation funding package and AB 1335, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins’ affordable housing revenue measure, are urgency measures, and therefore exempt from this week’s legislative deadline. 

SB 16 would raise approximately $3.5 billion for county road maintenance and rehabilitation over a five-year period, and AB 1335, would add $700 million per year in affordable housing revenue. Both bills face an uncertain path, especially given the requirement that these tax-raising measure be passed by two-thirds of each house of the Legislature.

CSAC staff understands that a new transportation funding package will not be taken up as part of the state budget; instead this topic will likely be addressed later in the summer. At the same time, counties could potentially face two significant transportation funding hits in July: first, while the Senate passed SB 321, the measure’s urgency clause, which would blunt the reduction in gas tax revenues that will take effect July 1, was stripped out. 

While CSAC is still pursuing a fix through budget trailer bill language, we are encountering resistance to addressing this issue outside of a comprehensive funding measure. Second, the highway trust fund is projected to reach insolvency around the time when the current federal authorization expires at the end of July. 

It remains to be seen whether the threat of significant reductions to state gas-tax funded programs for highways and local roads at the same time the federal highway bill expires and the highway trust fund becomes insolvent will put enough pressure on the California Legislature and Governor to act on a transportation funding package. In any case, CSAC will continue to keep our members updated as we advocate for a fair share of funding for local streets and roads. 

Outside of our main priority of transportation funding, a couple bills of concern to CSAC made it to their second house over the last few weeks. AB 1236, by Assembly Member David Chiu, would require local governments to adopt an ordinance to create an expedited permitting process for electric vehicle charging stations, while AB 57, by Assembly Member Bill Quick, would impose timeframes during which local governments must act on applications for new or expanded wireless communications facilities. 

Local governments and planners oppose both bills due to their encroachment on local land use authority, but both measures were easily passed by the Assembly. CSAC continues to meet with authors’ offices in hopes of developing compromises, but we encourage counties to review AB 1236 and AB 57 and weigh in with their legislative delegations in the meantime.

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