THIS MONTH IN SACRAMENTO – JULY 2018 NEWSLETTER
Governor Brown released his May Revision to the proposed 2018-19 State budget. The Governor proposes the state end 2018‑19 with $17 billion in total reserves. This would consist of two amounts: $13.8 billion in the state’s constitutional rainy-day fund (reserves available for future budget emergencies), as well as $3.2 billion in discretionary reserves (available for any purpose). This is a nice cushion Brown will leave the next administration – which may come in handy if the State has another bad fire season or if the economy slows. The Legislative Analyst has reviewed specific components of the budget including Caltrans’ Capital Outlay Support Program and Infrastructure Capital Outlay, including the State Project Infrastructure Fund and Deferred Maintenance. You can read the reports here.
The Assembly passed ASCE supported AB 1792 (Frazier D – Discovery Bay) that would authorize an affordable housing authority to provide for infrastructure, to support the development of affordable housing.
The Assembly Appropriations committee killed ASCE supported AB 2042 (Steinorth R – Rancho Cucamonga) that would have created a tax credit for installing a residential graywater reuse system. A similar credit – authored by Senator Steve Glazer for rain water capture systems is on the June ballot.
Two bills on ASCE’s support list are awaiting final Assembly passage. AB 2060 (Eduardo Garcia D – Coachella) and AB 2064 (Gloria D – San Diego) have slightly different approaches to permit advance grant payments for water projects serving disadvantaged communities.
The Senate Transportation committee approved ASCE supported AB 2062 (Maienschein R – San Diego) that will require planting projects undertaken or approved by Caltrans to include California native wildflowers and native and climate-appropriate vegetation. The bill now goes to Senate Appropriations.
ASCE supported AB 2596 by Cooley (D Rancho Cordova) that would require the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, also known as GO-Biz, to lead the preparation of a California Economic Development Strategic Action Plan. The bill is awaiting final Assembly action.
The Assembly has yet to act on ASCE supported ACA 21 Mayes (R – Yucca Valley) that would create the California Infrastructure Investment Fund for specified infrastructure investments, including the funding of deferred maintenance projects.
The Senate passed ASCE supported SB 961 (Allen D – Redondo Beach) that would enact the Second Neighborhood Infill Finance and Transit Improvements Act, which would authorize a city, county, or city and county to adopt a resolution, at any time before or after the adoption of the infrastructure financing plan for an enhanced infrastructure financing district, to allocate tax revenues of that entity to the district, including revenues derived from local sales and use taxes imposed pursuant to the Bradley-Burns Uniform Local Sales and Use Tax Law or transactions and use taxes imposed in accordance with the Transactions and Use Tax Law, if the area to be financed is within one-half mile of a rail transit station or within 300 feet of a transit rich boulevard served by bus rapid transit or high-frequency bus service, as specified, and among other things, certain conditions relating to housing and the infrastructure financing plan are or will be met.
New Reports of Interest
University of California, Davis released Spillovers from Behavioral Intervention: Experimental Evidence from Water and Energy Use. When customers use water conservation methods in the home, do they try to conserve electricity too? “This paper provides experimental evidence that behavioral interventions spill over to untreated sectors by altering consumer choice. We use a randomized controlled trial and high-frequency data to test the effect of social norms messaging about residential water use on electricity consumption. Empirical tests and household survey data support the hypothesis that this nudge alters electricity choices.” The author found that “water conservation instruments induce conservation beyond the water sector, leading to a 1.3 to 2.2% reduction in summertime electricity use.”
National Transportation Safety Board released a Preliminary Report. “The report found that while Uber’s automated driving system could handle regular braking, the autonomous system lacked emergency braking abilities—a major gap. Instead, Uber relied on a human backup driver to take over if needed. The catch, however, was that ‘the system is not designed to alert the operator,’ according to the report…. Uber’s reasoning for barring the autonomous system from hitting the emergency brakes, according to the safety board, was that it made for ‘erratic vehicle behavior.’ Dashcam video released in March showed that the backup driver was looking down until a split-second before the impact…. The report raises numerous questions, he said, including why the system didn’t at least start to slow down once it detected an obstacle in its path, and why it was not programmed to alert the test driver.” (San Francisco Chronicle, May 24, 2018).
The National Conference of State Legislatures released Autonomous Vehicles | Self Driving Vehicles Enacted Legislation. “NCSL has a new autonomous vehicles legislative database, providing up-to-date, real-time information about state autonomous vehicle legislation that has been introduced in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.… Each year, the number of states considering legislation related to autonomous vehicles has gradually increased.… In 2017, 33 states have introduced legislation. In 2016, 20 states introduced legislation.”
The U.S. Geological Survey released The Haywire Earthquake Scenario: We Can Outsmart Disaster. “Up to 800 people could die and 400 fires could ignite if the Hayward Fault were to rupture…. The study … imagined a magnitude 7.0 tremor along the 52-mile fault line that stretches from San Pablo Bay in the north, to just east of San Jose in the south. It would cause rippling calamities. Eighteen thousand people could be injured. The fires could engulf—and potentially consume—some 50,000 homes. Two thousand could be trapped in fallen buildings, and 22,000 could be stuck in broken elevators. East Bay residents might spend up to six months without water in the hardest-hit areas. The prospect, in fact, is quite realistic.” (SF Gate, Apr. 18, 2018).
The California Institute for Federal Policy Research released Special Report: California’s Surface Transportation: Roads, Bridges & High Speed Rail. This four-page brief provides a broad “overview of the current state of California’s surface transportation systems, and funding levels for these systems, including roads, bridges, and California’s High Speed Rail.” It includes the latest road usage statistics and estimated costs for infrastructure repair.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released 2017 Traffic Safety Culture Index. “Hit-and-run crashes in the United States are trending in the wrong direction,’ said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The new study found that most victims of fatal hit-and-run collisions—65%—were pedestrians or cyclists and that almost 20% of all pedestrian deaths over the last decade were caused by hit-and-run crashes, compared to 1% of driver fatalities.” The survey findings reveal a disturbing disconnect between what drivers know to be risky—texting while driving, for instance—and how they actually behave. (ABC News, Apr. 26, 2018).
Danny Yost of Sacramento, has been appointed assistant deputy director for legislative affairs at the California Department of Transportation, where he has been a legislative liaison since 2012. He was a graduate student instructor at the University of California, Berkeley from 2011 to 2012, a legislative fellow on transit policy at the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs in 2011 and transportation engineer and planner at Fehr and Peers Transportation Consultants from 2007 to 2009. Yost earned a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of California, Berkeley. This position does not require Senate confirmation.