BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 650
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          Date of Hearing:   April 11, 2011

                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION
                               Bonnie Lowenthal, Chair
                  AB 650 (Blumenfield) - As Amended:  March 31, 2011
           
          SUBJECT  :  Blue Ribbon Task Force on Public Transportation for 
          the 21st Century

           SUMMARY  :  Establishes the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Public 
          Transportation for the 21st Century (Task Force).  Specifically, 
           this bill  :   

          1)Makes various findings and declarations relative to the 
            benefits of public transportation.  

          2)Establishes the Task Force comprised of the following 12 
            members:  

             a)   A business, public transit, environmental, organized 
               labor, public health, private transit provider, regional 
               transportation planning agency, and a transit advocacy 
               group representative (eight members).  

             b)   An education or academic representative with experience 
               in public transportation.  

             c)   A finance expert.  

             d)   A Member of the California State Assembly.  

             e)   A Member of the California State Senate.  

          1)Requires the Senate Committee on Rules and the Speaker of the 
            Assembly to jointly appoint the members, including a chair, by 
            March 31, 2012.  

          2)Requires the Task Force, within 45 days of the last joint 
            appointment, to develop a clear scope of work for 
            accomplishing this bill's purpose.  The scope of work is 
            required to include a general statement of purpose, enumerate 
            research objectives, list specific tasks needed to accomplish 
            those objectives, generate a timeline for achieving those 
            tasks, identify the consultants needed, and develop a budget 
            for the funds appropriated.  








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          3)Delineates the operating terms, conditions, and listening 
            sessions, and schedules of the Task Force.  

          4)Requires, to the extent possible, the Task Force to 
            communicate with the public and stakeholders via the media, 
            including electronic and social media, about the public 
            listening sessions; and that the public listening sessions be 
            web cast.  

          5)Requires the consideration of the use of public transportation 
            systems and transportation systems specifically designed to 
            get workers to job sites such as vanpool services and 
            employer-supported shared transit by the Task Force in 
            carrying out its duties.  

          6)Requires the Task Force to issue a written report that 
            contains findings and recommendations addressing all of the 
            following:  

             a)   The current state of California's transit system, 
               including major intermodal hubs, bus systems, bus rapid 
               transit, light rail and streetcar, intercity bus and rail, 
               jitney services, paratransit services, vanpools, variable 
               route or shuttle services, and connectivity between modes 
               in the system.  

             b)   Best practices based on a review of transit systems 
               worldwide.  

             c)   The level and types of transit needed to meet the 
               following goals: equity of accessibility and ease of use; 
               strong and sustainable local and statewide economies; and 
               environmental and public health, including reduced 
               greenhouse gas and pollutant emissions.  

             d)   The estimated cost of creating the needed system in the 
               near term (within five years), midterm (within 15 years), 
               and long term (within 25 years).  

             e)   Potential sources of funding to sustain the system's 
               needs and requirements and methods for attaining that 
               funding.  

             f)   Suggested scenarios for phasing in transit development 








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               and recommendations for action.  

          1)Requires the Task Force to submit a report by March 31, 2013, 
            to the Governor, the Legislature, the Joint Legislative Budget 
            Committee, the Senate Committee on Rules, the Speaker of the 
            Assembly, and the transportation committees of the 
            Legislature.  

          2)Requires the Task Force, in preparing the report, to consult 
            with appropriate state agencies including the California 
            Department of Transportation (Caltrans); the California 
            Transportation Commission; the Department of Housing and 
            Community Development; the Business, Transportation and 
            Housing Agency; the State Air Resources Board; the State 
            Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission; and 
            the State Department of Health Care Services.  

          3)Requires the Task Force to contract with consultants, such as 
            the faculty and staff of the Institute of Transportation 
            Studies of the University of California (ITS) for expert 
            research, analysis, or advice, and to draft preliminary 
            written reports and the written report.  Requires the Task 
            Force to contract with ITS for any additional purposes deemed 
            necessary, including, but not limited to conducting public 
            opinion surveys; preparing analyses of transit system 
            operations in California and elsewhere; conducting public 
            outreach; preparing Web-based, video, and print production of 
            Task Force findings; and drafting papers related to, among 
            other things, expert research and analysis.  

          4)Requires meetings of the Task force and its public listening 
            sessions to be subject to the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act.  

          5)Appropriates $750,000 from the Public Transportation Account 
            to Caltrans, to accomplish this bill's purposes.  Requires 
            Caltrans to provide all administrative staffing to the Task 
            Force and administer the funds.  

          6)Sunsets the provisions on March 31, 2017.  

           EXISTING LAW  :  

          1)Establishes Caltrans as the multimodal transportation 
            department within the state.  Requires it to develop the 
            California Transportation Plan (CTP), whose requirements were 








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            modified last year by SB 391 (Liu, Chapter 585, Statutes of 
            2009) to incorporate greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction 
            strategies and to "identify the statewide integrated 
            multimodal transportation system needed to achieve the GHG 
            reductions."  SB 391 also requires Caltrans to complete an 
            interim report by December 31, 2012, and to include an 
            overview of all sustainable communities strategies and assess 
            how implementation of the sustainable communities strategies 
            will influence the configuration of the statewide integrated 
            multimodal transportation system.  That bill also requires 
            that CTP consider mobility and accessibility as well as 
            integration and connectivity, among other items, relative to 
            the study on the movement of people and freight.  Requires CTP 
            first update to be completed by  December 31, 2015, and 
            updated every five years;  

          2)Establishes the Strategic Growth Council (Council) and 
            requires it to take certain actions with regard to 
            coordinating specified programs of member state agencies, and 
            to manage and award grants and loans to support the planning 
            and development of sustainable communities.  Provides for the 
            Council's staff, chair, and meetings, and allocates $500,000 
            of Proposition 84 (Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality and 
            Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal Protection Bond Act 
            of 2006) funds for support of the Council.  

          3)Vests the Governor's Office of Planning and Research (OPR) 
            with responsibility to serve the Governor and his or her 
            Cabinet as staff for long-range planning and research, and 
            constitute the comprehensive state planning agency for 
            California.  Creates the Planning Advisory and Assistance 
            Council, within OPR, to engage in the formulation, evaluation 
            and updating of long-range goals and policies for land use, 
            population growth and distribution, urban expansion, 
            development, open space, resource preservation and 
            utilization, air and water quality, and other factors that 
            shape statewide development patterns and significantly 
            influence the quality of the state's environment.  

          4)Mandates, under federal law, the development of a 20-year 
            state and regional long-range transportation plan as a 
            pre-requisite for receipt of federal transportation funds.  
            The plan is required to be developed in cooperation with the 
            state's metropolitan planning organizations, local 
            transportation officials, Native American Tribal Governments, 








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            and other interested parties.  It is also to be coordinated 
            with development of the transportation portion of the State 
            Implementation Plan, as required by the federal Clean Air Act. 
             

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  This bill appropriates $750,000 from the Public 
          Transportation Account to Caltrans.  

           COMMENTS  :  According to the author, the "demand for transit 
          services has increased around the state, especially as fuel 
          prices have risen, traffic congestion has grown, and 
          Californians look for ways to cut commuting expenses and their 
          environmental impact.  In recent years the situation has  
          worsened as sources of funding once dedicated to maintaining and 
          growing transit service have not been stable and reliable.  Due 
          to this, service has been reduced, putting drivers out of work 
          and leaving bus and rail riders scrambling for other ways to get 
          to jobs and school. On average, traffic congestion around the 
          state has increased by 11% last year and should only get worse 
          as the economy improves and more people get behind the wheel to 
          get to work.  Los Angeles is one of top three most congested 
          cities in the nation, each driver spending an equivalent of a 
          week and a half of a regular work week in traffic.  A 
          comprehensive report produced by a task force of qualified 
          representatives is necessary to provide viable solutions to our 
          statewide public transportation problems.  The task force will 
          draw upon expert research that lays out the current state of 
          mass transit in the state, what the state needs to do to ensure 
          the system meets demand, how much it would cost, and practical 
          recommendations on how to pay for that system."  

          Last year, SB 391 (see "Existing Law" section above) was enacted 
          to ensure that Caltrans include, in the development of the CTP, 
          GHG emission reduction strategies and to "identify the statewide 
          integrated multimodal transportation system needed to achieve 
          the GHG reductions."  That bill also required Caltrans to 
          complete an interim report by December 31, 2012, and to include 
          an overview of all sustainable communities strategies and assess 
          how implementation of the sustainable communities strategies 
          will influence the configuration of the statewide integrated 
          multimodal transportation system.  

          Additionally, pursuant to SB 732 (Steinberg) Chapter 729, 
          Statutes of 2008, the Strategic Growth Council was established 
          to, among other items, "to recommend policies and investment 








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          strategies and priorities to the Governor, the Legislature, and 
          to appropriate state agencies to encourage the development of 
          sustainable communities, such as those communities that promote 
          equity, strengthen the economy, protect the environment, and 
          promote public health and safety."  

          Further, the Planning Advisory and Assistance Council, within 
          OPR, is established to also formulate, evaluate, and update 
          long-range goals and policies for land use, population growth 
          and other factors that influence the quality of the state's 
          environment.  

          Accordingly, it is not clear how the author intends this bill to 
          interrelate with the above three efforts as it relates to the 
          development of sustainable communities strategies, features 
          inherent in each of the other efforts.  Additionally, it should 
          be noted that transit districts repeatedly decry the raids and 
          diversions of public transit funding for non-transit purposes 
          and declare that the lack of public transit funding for 
          operations have resulted in reduced services and increased 
          fares.  If such claims are accurate, it would appear that the 
          local transit funds that will used for this bill's Task Force 
          purposes should instead be used to support local transit 
          operations.  

           Related bills  :  SB 406 (DeSaulnier) of 2009 would have updated 
          the duties and responsibilities of the Planning Advisory and 
          Assistance Council and require it to work with the Strategic 
          Growth Council in the state's land use planning processes, in 
          part by working with state agencies to facilitate coordination 
          between state planning and funding decisions and regional 
          blueprints.  That bill was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger who 
          indicated that SB 406 would have authorized a local planning 
          entity, by resolution, to impose new fees on motor vehicles 
          registered in their jurisdiction and that he was opposed to such 
          increases unless they were subject to voter approval.  

          AB 945 (Carter, 2007), would have required the California 
          Transportation Commission to develop an assessment of 
          transportation funding and needs, including public 
          transportation needs, every five years.  In his veto message, 
          Governor Schwarzenegger indicated that "Current law also 
          requires regional transportation agencies and metropolitan 
          planning organizations to complete a 20-year Regional 
          Transportation Plan and periodic regional transportation 








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          improvement plans.  Californians do not need another report to 
          tell them that the state's transportation needs are great."  

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   

           Support 
           
          American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
          American Lung Association in California
          Breathe California
          California Farm Bureau Federation
          California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation
          California Transit Association  
          Coalition for Clean Air
          Coalition on Regional Equity (CORE)
          East Yard Communities
          Environmental Defense Fund  
          Long Beach Transit  
          Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority  
          Move LA
          National Parks Conservation Association
          RiderShip for the Masses
          Sacramento Regional Transit District
          Sierra Club California
          TransForm
          Ubuntu Green  
          United Transportation Union 
          VPSI 

           Opposition 
           
          None on file
           

          Analysis Prepared by  :  Ed Imai / TRANS. / (916) 319-2093