BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                            Senator Dave Cox, Chair

          BILL NO:  AB 987                      HEARING:  6/16/10
          AUTHOR:  Ma                           FISCAL:  No
          VERSION:  5/20/10                     CONSULTANT:  Detwiler
                             TRANSIT VILLAGE PLANS

                           Background and Existing Law  

          Public officials have invested billions of dollars in  
          transit projects and programs.  However, this public  
          investment won't pay off if local officials fail to promote  
          private development around transit stations.  The Transit  
          Village Development Act allows cities and counties to plan  
          for more intense development around transit stations: rail  
          or light-rail stations, ferry terminals, bus hubs, or bus  
          transfer stations.  Transit village plans identify areas  
          where officials want to encourage transit-oriented  
          development and grant density bonuses (AB 3152, Bates,  

          The maximum size of a transit village development district  
          is the total area within -mile from the exterior boundary  
          of the parcel on which the transit station is located.   
          That distance reflected planners' conventional wisdom in  
          1994.  However, research published in 2007 by San Jos?  
          State University's Mineta Transportation Institute found  
          that transit riders walk farther than commonly assumed.   
          Transit riders in the San Francisco Bay Area and Portland,  
          Oregon said they walked about -miles to their rail transit  
          stations.  Transit village proponents want the law to  
          reflect this newer understanding.

                                   Proposed Law  

          Assembly Bill 987 expands the maximum size of a transit  
          village development district from the total area within  
          -mile of the exterior boundary of the parcel on which a  
          transit station is located to the total area within -mile  
          of a transit station's main entrance.

          AB 987 revises the legislative declarations within the  
          Transit Village Planning Act and adds two more findings  
          regarding environmental conditions and sustainable  


          AB 987 -- 5/20/10 -- Page 2

          development standards.  The bill also clarifies that the  
          Act's reference to a "county" also means a city and county.


          1.   Public transit, private investment  .  The public  
          sector's investment in commuter rail, light-rail, ferries,  
          and bus lines is part of a wider strategy to improve air  
          quality, save energy, and improve mobility.  When  
          communities encourage transit agencies to build expensive  
          systems, but then fail to promote higher density  
          development around transit stations, the loss is  
          environmental and social, as well as physical and fiscal.   
          Those losses are regional, not just local.  One reason that  
          communities don't encourage denser, more compact  
          development around transit stations is the cost of public  
          works needed to support new residents and businesses.   
          Although AB 987 doesn't create a new funding source for  
          those public works, it encourages local officials and their  
          planners to take a wider view of transit village  
          development.  By expanding and redefining the area for  
          transit village planning, AB 987 widens the policy horizon.

          2.   Go figure  .  A transit village plan with a -mile radius  
          around a transit station covers about 125 acres.  Doubling  
          the radius of a circle quadruples the circle's area.  A  
          -mile radius covers about 500 acres.  There are over 300  
          rail transit stations in California operated by Amtrak,  
          BART, Metrorail, and several transit agencies with  
          light-rail systems.  If local officials lack the money to  
          finance the public works that support transit villages, how  
          will they pay for infrastructure within transit village  
          planning areas that could be four times larger?

          3.   Earlier attempts  .  AB 987 is not the first time that  
          Assembly Member Ma has attempted to expand the area for  
          transit village planning.  Besides expanding the planning  
          area, AB 338 (Ma, 2009) would have waived the  
          voter-approval requirements for setting up Infrastructure  
          Financing Districts and issuing IFD bonds.  Governor  
          Schwarzenegger vetoed the 2009 Ma bill because "elections  
          are the sole basis of public input and fiscal discipline in  
          the creation of an IFD, and it is necessary to require  
          voter approval."  Besides expanding the planning area, AB  
          1221 (Ma, 2008) would have linked IFDs to transit village  


          AB 987 -- 5/20/10 -- Page 3

          development.  Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed the 2008 Ma  
          bill because he said that it was not a statewide priority.   
          Unlike the two recent attempts, this year's bill does not  
          amend the IFD law.

          4.   Double-jointing  .  On June 16, the Committee will also  
          consider AB 2509 (Hayashi).  Both AB 987 and AB 2509 amend  
          Government Code 65460.2, but in different ways.  To avoid  
          one bill chaptering-out the changes made by the other bill,  
          the authors should include double-jointing amendments.

                                 Assembly Actions  

          Assembly Local Government Committee:  4-1
          Assembly Floor:                    43-29


          AB 987 -- 5/20/10 -- Page 4

                         Support and Opposition (6/10/10)

           Support  :  California Transit Association, San Francisco Bay  
          Area Rapid Transit District, Santa Clara Valley  
          Transportation Authority.

           Opposition  :  Department of Housing and Community