July 2019 – This Month in Sacramento
THIS MONTH IN SACRAMENTO – JULY 2019 NEWSLETTER
by Richard Markuson
Region 9 Legislative Advocate
By the time you read this – Region 9 will have released its 2019 California Infrastructure Report Card and held its State Capitol Fly-in.
Status Report on ASCE’s Bills of Interest
AB 223 (Stone, Mark – D) California Safe Drinking Water Act: microplastics. The California Safe Drinking Water Act requires the State Water Resources Control Board to administer provisions relating to the regulation of drinking water to protect public health. Current law requires the state board, on or before July 1, 2020, to adopt a definition of microplastics in drinking water and, on or before July 1, 2021, to adopt a standard methodology to be used in the testing of drinking water for microplastics and requirements for 4 years of testing and reporting of microplastics in drinking water, including public disclosure of those results. This bill would require the state board, to the extent possible, and where feasible and cost-effective, to work with the State Department of Public Health in complying with those requirements. ASCE Position: Support Location: 4/26/2019-Assembly 2-Year Bill
AB 252 (Daly – D) Department of Transportation: environmental review process: federal program. Removes the sunset for the California Department of Transportation’s (Caltrans’) authority to waive its 11th Amendment right to sovereign immunity from lawsuits brought in federal court so that it can continue, indefinitely, to assume the role of the United States Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) for National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) decision making. ASCE Position: Support Location: 3/12/2019- Assembly Appropriations
AB 393 (Nazarian – D) Building codes: earthquake safety: functional recovery standard. Requires the California Building Standards Commission (CBSC) to assemble a working group to investigate and, by July 1, 2021, determine criteria for a “functional recovery” voluntary or mandatory standards following a seismic event for all or some building occupancy classifications ASCE Position: Support Location: 4/24/2019- Assembly Appropriations Suspense File
AB 1142 (Friedman – D) Regional transportation plans. Authorizes Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO)s, with a population over 200,000, to add additional performance indicators in the regional transportation plan (RTP). ASCE Position: Support Location: 4/23/2019-Senate Rules Committee.
AB 1522 (Committee on Business and Professions) Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists. Extends the operation of the Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists until January 1, 2024. ASCE Position: Support Location: 4/23/2019-Assembly Appropriations
AB 1568 (McCarty – D) Housing law compliance: prohibition on applying for state grants. Prohibits cities and counties from applying for state grants, except for specified transportation funding, if the city or county has been found to violate state housing law. ASCE Position: Oppose Location: 4/24/2019- Assembly Appropriations
AB 1580 (Levine – D) Major infrastructure construction projects: oversight committees. Requires a state agency undertaking a publicly funded significant infrastructure construction project, that is estimated to cost $1 billion or more to establish an oversight committee with specific responsibilities. ASCE Position: Support Location: 4/24/2019-Assembly Appropriations.
SB 19 (Dodd – D) Water resources: stream gages. This bill would require the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) and the Department of Water Resources (DWR) to develop a plan to deploy a network of stream gages to address significant gaps in information necessary for water management and the conservation of freshwater species. ASCE Position: Support Location: 4/8/2019-Senate Appropriations Suspense File.
SB 128 (Beall – D) Enhanced infrastructure financing districts: bonds: issuance. This bill authorizes Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts to issue bonds without voter approval ASCE Position: Support Location: 3/28/2019-Assembly Desk.
SB 197 (Beall – D) Department of Transportation: retention proceeds. This bill removes the Department of Transportation’s (Caltrans) sunset provision relative to withholding retention proceeds on public contracts ASCE Position: Support Location: 4/22/2019-Assembly Desk.
SJR 5 (Beall – D) California transportation infrastructure. Would urge the Congress and the President of the United States to (1) provide all federal resources promised to California and other states expeditiously and without delay, (2) work together to enact the robust bipartisan federal infrastructure legislation necessary to restore California’s and other states’ crumbling road and freight infrastructure, respond to growing traffic congestion, and increase investment in public transportation, most particularly, by expanding paratransit services for the elderly and those with special needs, and (3) address the shortfall in the federal Highway Trust Fund by restoring the lost purchasing power of the federal fuel tax, in order to provide the long-term funding stability necessary for California and other states. ASCE Position: Rec Support Location: 4/22/2019-Assembly Desk
New Reports of Interest
World Resources Institute released Integrating Green and Gray: Creating Next Generation Infrastructure. “Traditional infrastructure systems worldwide rely on built solutions to support the smooth and safe functioning of societies. [I]n the face of multiplying environmental threats, this approach alone can no longer provide the climate resiliency and level of services required in the 21st century. Natural systems such as forests, floodplains, and soils can contribute to clean, reliable water supply and protect against floods and drought. In many circumstances, combining this ‘green infrastructure’ with traditional ‘gray infrastructure,’ such as dams, levees, reservoirs, treatment systems, and pipes, can enhance system performance, boost resilience, lower costs, and better protect communities.”
On April 3, The CA Dept. of Water Resources released results of its latest snow survey conducted at Phillips Station. The manual survey recorded 106.5 inches of snow depth and a snow water equivalent of 51 inches, which is “200 percent of average for this location.” DWR reported the statewide snowpack was at 162 percent of average for April 1 and “California has experienced more than 30 atmospheric rivers since the start of the water year, with six in February alone, and statewide snow water equivalent has nearly tripled since February 1.”
The American Lung Association has released its 20th Annual State of the Air report, includes list of cities most polluted by ozone and particle pollution across the United States based on air quality monitoring data collected during 2015-2017, finds “California is home to 7 of the 10 most ozone-polluted cities in the United States,” report also highlights the air quality impacts of record heat and wildfires in 2017 in California.
California Senate Office of Research released Review of Environmental Leadership Development Projects. “This report reviews ELDPs [Environmental Development Leadership Projects] that have qualified for expedited CEQA [California Environmental Quality Act] judicial review through the various processes created by the Legislature. The report initially provides a background on the CEQA review process and ELDP legislation. Next, the report provides an overview of ELDPs, legal challenges against ELDPs fled under CEQA, and estimated benefits provided by the projects. Finally, this report assesses CEQA streamlining provided to ELDPs and presents key issues and options for legislative consideration.”
The National Low Income Housing Coalition released The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Rental Homes. “[O]ver one million affordable rental units would need to be constructed throughout the state to meet the needs of 1.3 million households classified as extremely low income. Currently, there are only 286,844 rental units in California considered affordable for the ELI [extremely low income] population, or those with incomes at or below the poverty level or 30% of their area median income. At the state level, Gov. Gavin Newsom has set a goal to build 3.5 million new homes in California by 2025, and advocates for affordable housing are urging the effort to be geared toward rental units for low-income families.”
The Legislative Analyst’s Office released Considerations for the Governor’s Housing Plan. “The 2019‑20 Governor’s budget includes various proposals aimed at improving the affordability of housing in the state. Specifically, the Governor proposes (1) providing planning and production grants to local governments, (2) expanding the state Low‑Income Housing Tax Credit program, (3) establishing a new state housing tax credit program targeting relatively higher‑income households, and (4) expanding a loan program for middle‑income housing production.… [W]e suggest the Legislature consider prioritizing General Fund resources towards programs that assist low‑income households. Given that the Governor’s proposals are largely conceptual at this stage, we highlight key questions the Legislature might want to ask the administration.”
Scientific Reports released Dynamic Flooding Modeling Essential to Assess the Coastal Impacts of Climate Change. “According to new research by the U.S. Geological Survey, about $150B in coastal real estate in California alone is at risk of flooding caused by rising sea levels, in combination with storms, by the end of the 21st century…. In recent months, winter storms eroded Capistrano Beach in Dana Point, California, enough to make a boardwalk collapse, and in Imperial Beach, large waves and high tides sent water flowing past seawalls, flooding roads and garages, the Los Angeles Times reports. The upshot of the USGS report is to expect more of this kind of damage as sea levels rise and storms hit—either the kind of storms that regularly hit California or stronger storms formed in a warmer ocean.”
As Secretary of the California State Transportation Agency: David Kim, Vienna, VA, Vice President of governmental affairs at Hyundai Motor Company since 2017 and previously deputy administrator of the US Dept. of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration.
As CFO of the California High-Speed Rail Authority: Brian Annis, Sacramento, Secretary of the CA State Transportation Agency since 2018 and previously undersecretary there from 2013 to 2018.
Reappointed to the California Water Commission: Maria Gallegos Herrera, Visalia, community development manager with Self-Help Enterprises since 2016
To the California High Speed Rail Authority Peer Review Group: Frederick Jordan, President of F.E. Jordan Associates Inc. engineering firm; Beverly Scott, CEO of Beverly Scott Associates LLC and senior partner at Parker Infrastructure Partners LLC.
Region 9 released its 2019 California Infrastructure Report Card and held its State Capitol Fly-in.
Status Report on ASCE’s Bills of Interest
AB 252 (Daly – D) Removes the sunset for Caltrans’ authority to waive its 11th Amendment right to sovereign immunity from lawsuits brought in federal court so that it can continue, indefinitely, to assume the role of the U.S. DOT for NEPA decision making. ASCE Position: Support Location: Senate Transportation.
AB 393 (Nazarian – D) Requires the California Building Standards Commission (CBSC) to assemble a working group to investigate and, by July 1, 2021, determine criteria for a “functional recovery” voluntary or mandatory standards following a seismic event for all or some building occupancy classifications ASCE Position: Support Location: Senate Housing
AB 1522 (Committee on Business and Professions) Extends the operation of the Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists until January 1, 2024. ASCE Position: Support Location: Senate Rules.
AB 1568 (McCarty – D) Prohibits cities and counties from applying for state grants, except for specified transportation funding, if the city or county has been found to violate state housing law. ASCE Position: Oppose Location: 2-year bill
AB 1580 (Levine – D) Requires a state agency undertaking a publicly funded major infrastructure construction project, as specified, that is estimated to cost $1 billion or more to establish an oversight committee (committee) with certain responsibilities. ASCE Position: Support Location: Senate Rules.
ACR 80 (Levine – D) This measure recognizes the week of May 13, 2019, to May 20, 2019, inclusive, as Infrastructure Week, and urges the citizens of California to join in this special observance with appropriate events and commemorations. ASCE Position: Sponsor Location: Assembly Desk
SB 19 (Dodd – D) This bill would require the SWRCB and the DWR to develop a plan to deploy a network of stream gages in order to address significant gaps in information necessary for water management and the conservation of freshwater species. ASCE Position: Support Location: Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife.
SB 128 (Beall – D) This bill authorizes Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts to issue bonds without voter approval ASCE Position: Support Location: Assembly Local Government.
SB 197 (Beall – D) This bill removes Caltrans’ sunset provision relative to withholding retention proceeds on public contracts ASCE Position: Support Location: Assembly Transportation
New Reports of Interest
Construction Dive released What future high-speed rail developers can learn from the California bullet train. When Californians voted “yes” on Proposition 1A, also known as the Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act for the 21st Century, in November 2008, the bullet train’s estimated cost was $33 billion. The act authorized the issuance of nearly $10 billion of general obligation bonds, $9 billion of which would go toward planning and construction of a 500-mile-plus, high-speed rail system between San Francisco and Anaheim. Story
CNBC released Why the U.S. continues to fail with high-speed rail. The U.S. has no high-speed trains, besides a few small sections of Amtrak’s Acela line in the Northeast Corridor. China has more than 19,000 miles of high-speed rail, the vast majority of which was built in the past decade. Japan’s bullet trains date back to the 1960s. France began service of the high-speed TGV train in 1981 and the rest of Europe quickly followed. Watch the video to see why the U.S. continues to fail with high-speed trains, and the companies that are trying to fix that. Video
CA Dept. of Finance has released its population report, finds California added 186,807 residents to bring the state’s estimated total population to 39.9 million people as of January 1, 2019; also finds that California’s statewide housing growth, as measured by net unit growth in completed housing units for 2018, was 77,000 units and that the total housing in California reached 14.2 million units, a 0.6 percent increase. Report
CA State Auditor’s office has released its report, “San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission: Its Failure to Perform Key Responsibilities Has Allowed Ongoing Harm to the San Francisco Bay,” says the commission has a backlog of more than 230 enforcement cases with the majority of the cases—nearly 75 percent—being at least 10 months old, also finds that the commission has not assessed the implementation of a plan to safeguard the Suisun Marsh, as state law requires, increasing the possibility of harm to the marsh; recommends the Legislature require that the commission create and use timelines by fiscal year 2020–21 for resolving its enforcement cases and require a report from the commission upon completion of its comprehensive review of the marsh program every five years, beginning with a review in fiscal year 2020–21. Report
At the California Natural Resources Agency.
As undersecretary: Angela Barranco, Los Angeles, CEO for River LA since 2018.
As deputy secretary and special counsel for water: Thomas Gibson, Sacramento, undersecretary there since 2016 and general counsel there from 2014 to 2016.
As director of the Governor’s Water Portfolio Program: Nancy Vogel, Sacramento, director of communications at the Resources Legacy Fund since 2017.
As undersecretary at the California State Transportation Agency: Elissa Konove, South Pasadena, deputy chief executive officer at the Southern California Regional Rail Authority since 2015.
As director of engineering for the California High Speed Rail Authority: Christine Inouye, Sacramento, undersecretary at the California State Transportation Agency since 2017.