BILL NUMBER: AB 1444	INTRODUCED
	BILL TEXT


INTRODUCED BY   Assembly Member Feuer

                        JANUARY 4, 2012

   An act relating to environmental quality.


	LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


   AB 1444, as introduced, Feuer. Environmental quality: expedited
judicial review: public rail transit projects.
   The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires a lead
agency, as defined, to prepare, or cause to be prepared, and certify
the completion of, an environmental impact report (EIR) on a project
that it proposes to carry out or approve that may have a significant
effect on the environment or to adopt a negative declaration if it
finds that the project will not have that effect. CEQA also requires
a lead agency to prepare a mitigated negative declaration for a
project that may have a significant effect on the environment if
revisions in the project would avoid or mitigate that effect and
there is no substantial evidence that the project, as revised, would
have a significant effect on the environment. The Jobs and Economic
Improvement Through Environmental Leadership Act of 2011 amended CEQA
to establish, until January 1, 2015, an expedited judicial review
process and specifies procedures for the preparation and
certification of the administrative record for an EIR of a project
meeting specified requirements that has been certified by the
Governor as an environmental leadership development project.
   This bill would state the intent of the Legislature to enact
legislation to provide the benefits provided by the Jobs and Economic
Improvement Through Environmental Leadership Act of 2011 for new
public rail transit infrastructure projects.
   Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: no.
State-mandated local program: no.


THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  SECTION 1.  The Legislature finds and declares all of the
following:
   (a) Since 2007, the nation and the state have plunged into a
recession, and thousands of jobs have been lost. The unemployment
rate in California exceeds the national average at 11.8 percent, and
in certain regions of the state the rate exceeds 13 percent. The
construction industry in California has been particularly hard hit.
Some estimates put the percentage of construction workers who are out
of work as high as 40 percent. Still, California's population
continues to grow and is projected to increase by 4.3 million over
the next decade. California needs to create an estimated 1.8 million
jobs to keep up with its population growth.
   (b) One of the results of the population growth in California will
be increased traffic congestion on the state's streets and highways
and related adverse economic, environmental, and health impacts.
   (c) To address both the need for jobs and the need to efficiently
move people and goods, it is imperative to plan for, and expedite the
construction of, new environmentally sound public rail transit
options as alternatives to private vehicle trips, as well as other
large infrastructure projects.
   (d) The California Environmental Quality Act (Division 13
(commencing with Section 21000) of the Public Resources Code)
requires that the environmental impacts of development projects be
identified and mitigated.
   (e) The act also guarantees the public an opportunity to review
and comment on the environmental impacts of a project and to
participate meaningfully in the development of mitigation measures
for potentially significant environmental impacts.
  SEC. 2.  It is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation
to provide the unique and unprecedented streamlining benefits
provided by the Jobs and Economic Improvement Through Environmental
Leadership Act of 2011 (Chapter 6.5 (commencing with Section 21178)
of Division 13 of the Public Resources Code) for new public rail
transit infrastructure projects that provide the benefits specified
in Section 1 of this act to put people to work as soon as possible.