Housing, Land Use and Transportation
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Infrastructure Bonds: Anticipating the May Revision
The Governor will release the May Revision of his proposed fiscal year 2007-08 State Budget on May 14. CSAC is requesting an appropriation of at least ˝ of the county share of the $2 billion for local streets and roads included in Proposition 1B, an amount equal to $500 million, over the next two fiscal years. SB 286,by Senators Lowenthal and Dutton, is the vehicle for making this request, as well as the vehicle for addressing additional oversight and accountability requests from the Administration and Legislature. At the request of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee, SB 286 was recently amended (May 2) to include a three-year “use it or lose it” provision for the local streets and roads funds. The “use it or lose it” provision would require a city or county to expend the bond funds three years from the date of allocation or turn the money back over to the controller for reallocation to other cities and counties.
Budget/High Speed Rail
The Senate Subcommittee No. 4 approved several specific issues related to the High Speed Rail (HSR) project, including the preliminary engineering for the Los Angeles to Anaheim segment, Next-Tier Environmental Impact Report (EIR)/Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the San Francisco Bay Area to Central Valley segment, and reappropriation of $255,000 for the preparation of a Financing Plan.
However, the subcommittee took no action on the HSR Authority request for an additional $103.3 million necessary for further implementation, including project-specific environmental work, right-of-way acquisition, and other identified work necessary to keep the project moving forward.
The total cost of the HSR was most recently estimated at $37 billion, with a $10 billion bond measure expected to be placed on the ballot in 2008. The Governor recently expressed support for the overall HSR project, but questioned the continued financial support from government sources without private sector investment.
The subcommittee intends to send this issue to conference committee and indicated that historically, funding for the HSR project was from the Public Transportation Account (PTA), which the Governor is proposing to use $1.1 billion in these funds to offset General Fund expenditures. The PTA revenue forecast will be revised with the May Revision, and the subcommittee indicated that if revenue is higher and/or the subcommittee revises the Governor’s PTA proposal, funding could be available for HSR. CSAC supports the High Speed Rail Project.
SB 900 (Corbett) - Support
SB 900, as introduced by Senator Ellen Corbett, would close a loophole in existing condo-conversion law that allows for mobilehome park owners to subdivide and sell individual lots without being subject to local government approval. While in theory this exemption was meant to make it easier for mobilehome park residents to purchase the land they live on, in practice, it has had negative unintended consequences on mobilehome residents across the state.
Under current statute, when any one parcel of land in a mobilehome park is sold, it triggers a phase-out of any local rent control ordinance for the rest of the mobilehome park residents. During a time when affordable housing in California is difficult to find, this loophole must be closed to ensure that this type of affordable housing is available to seniors and working families statewide.
This measure is currently awaiting approval by the entire Senate.
AB 414 (Jones) – Request for Comment
AB 414, as amended April 19 by Assembly Member Dave Jones, would place limits on the ability of cities and counties to include vacant sites zoned for both commercial and residential uses in their housing element's inventory of land suitable for residential development.
AB 414 passed the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee on May 9 by a vote of 5 to 2. The measure is currently awaiting approval by the entire Assembly.
AB 641 (Torrico) – Request for Comment
AB 641, as introduced by Assembly Member Alberto Torrico, would prohibit local governments from requiring the payment of local developer fees before the developer has received a certificate of occupancy, pursuant to a specified exemption, for any housing development in which at least 49% of the units are affordable to low- or very low-income households.
This measure passed out of the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee on May 9 by a vote of 5 to 1. AB 641 is also awaiting approval from the entire Assembly.
AB 1019 (Blakeslee) – Support
AB 1019, as amended April 12 by Assembly Member Sam Blakeslee, would create a process for reallocating a county's share of the regional housing need to a city in the event that unincorporated land is annexed to the city. The measure would establish a process for city/county agreement on the transfer of the regional housing need, followed by an opportunity to request the state Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) or the Council of Government (COG) to determine the transfer amount if agreement is not reached. This measure is sponsored by Santa Barbara County.
This measure passed out of the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee on May 9 and is currently awaiting approval from the entire Assembly.
AB 256 (Huff) – Support
AB 256, as amended April 25 by Assembly Member Bob Huff, would provide that monies in the Highway Users Tax Account for the prior fiscal year are continuously appropriated and may be encumbered in any year in which a Budget Act has not been enacted by July 1, or until such a time that the Budget Act is enacted. It would authorize the controller to make estimates in order to implement these provisions.
AB 256 ensures that both the state and local portion of the gas tax money will continue to flow in the case of a delayed adoption of a budget. This measure is necessary in order to avoid delays and disruptions in work on state and local transportation projects, and avoid the costs and consequences associated with such interruptions, when budget impasses arise.
AB 256 was referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee Suspense File on May 9.
AB 945 (Carter) – Support
AB 945, as amended on April 26 by Assembly Member Amina Carter, would require the California Transportation Commission, on an every-5-year basis, to develop an assessment of the unfunded costs of programmed state projects and federally earmarked projects in the state, as well as an assessment of available funding for transportation purposes and unmet transportation needs on a statewide basis. The measure would require the commission to work with the Department of Transportation (Caltrans), regional transportation planning agencies, CSAC, and the League of California Cities to develop the reports, with the first report due by July 1, 2008.
CSAC continues to work with the author on amendments to include the local roadway system as an actual component that the CTC must report on with respect to the unmet needs of the local system.
AB 945 was also referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee Suspense File on May 9.
SB 445 (Torlakson) - Support
SB 445, as amended March 26 by Senator Tom Torlakson, would establish an 11-member Road User Task Force for the purpose of studying alternatives to the current system of taxing road users through per-gallon fuel taxes and reporting its findings to the Legislature by January 1, 2009.
Current funding mechanisms for California’s transportation systems fall far short of needs, both short and long-term. When needs outweigh available resources, it is imperative that state and local governments, as well as other transportation stakeholders, work cooperatively to identify alternative ways to fund those needs to ensure a long-term seamless transportation system for our state. CSAC supports SB 445, as it will provide an opportunity to transportation stakeholders, as well as the public, to get together with the goal of providing specific recommendation to fund California’s transportation needs in to the future, which is essential for continued economic prosperity.
SB 445 was placed on the Senate Appropriations Suspense File to be taken up at a later committee hearing.
SB 717 (Perata) – Support
SB 717, as introduced by Senator Don Perata, would continuously authorize transfers of sales tax revenue derived from the sale of motor vehicle fuels to the Transportation Investment Fund (TIF) beginning in fiscal year 2008-09, and would continue the distribution of the revenues according to the current formula: 20% to the Public Transit Account (PTA), 40% to the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), 20% to counties for street and road purposes, and 20% to cities for street and road purposes.
Current law, which sets in place the allocation formula for the TIF, will sunset on June 30, 2008. SB 717 seeks to codify the agreed upon formula, passed by voters in Proposition 42, for the equitable distribution of TIF funds to state, local, and transit systems. Without this measure, there will be no statutory direction for implementing the revenue distribution requirements of Proposition 42. For these reasons, CSAC supports SB 717.
SB 717 was passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee on May 7 with a unanimous vote. This measure is currently awaiting approval from the entire Senate.