BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 650
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          ASSEMBLY THIRD READING
          AB 650 (Blumenfield)
          As Amended  March 31, 2011
          Majority vote 

           TRANSPORTATION      9-1         APPROPRIATIONS      12-5        
           
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |Ayes:|Bonnie Lowenthal,         |Ayes:|Fuentes, Blumenfield,     |
          |     |Blumenfield, Bonilla,     |     |Bradford, Charles         |
          |     |Buchanan, Eng, Furutani,  |     |Calderon, Campos, Davis,  |
          |     |Galgiani, Portantino,     |     |Gatto, Hall, Hill, Lara,  |
          |     |Solorio                   |     |Mitchell, Solorio         |
          |     |                          |     |                          |
          |-----+--------------------------+-----+--------------------------|
          |Nays:|Norby                     |Nays:|Harkey, Donnelly,         |
          |     |                          |     |Nielsen, Norby, Wagner    |
          |     |                          |     |                          |
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
           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; and, 

             e)   A Member of the California State Senate.  

          1)Requires the Senate Committee on Rules and the Speaker of the 








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            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.  

          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 








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               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; and,  

             f)   Suggested scenarios for phasing in transit development 
               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.  









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          5)Appropriates $750,000 from the Public Transportation Account 
            (PTA) 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 
            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 (Liu) 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.  SB 391 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 








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            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, 
            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  :  According to the Assembly Appropriations 
          Committee, one-time $750,000 cost from the PTA for the Task 
          Force, which is to cover the cost of meetings, listening 
          sessions, consulting contracts, and Caltrans support staff.  
           
          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 








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          recommendations on how to pay for that system."  

          Last year, SB 391 (Liu) (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."  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.  

          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 
          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.  

          Writing is support of the bill, the California Transit 
          Association indicates that "?public dollars once dedicated to 
          maintaining and expanding transit services have been cut (over 








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          $5 billion since FY 07-08) to accommodate the state's chronic 
          General Fund deficits.  As a result, service has been cut around 
          the state, putting drivers and maintenance staff out of work and 
          leaving bus and rail riders scrambling for other ways to get to 
          jobs, school, and even doctor's appointments.  AB 650 will help 
          provide the legislature with some perspective on the current 
          cost and demand for public transportation, including how to pay 
          for it, which we hope will lead to smarter planning and 
          allocation of state resources?"  

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

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


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