BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    





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          |                                                                 |
          |         SENATE COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES AND WATER         |
          |                   Senator Fran Pavley, Chair                    |
          |                    2011-2012 Regular Session                    |
          |                                                                 |
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          BILL NO: SB 468                    HEARING DATE: April 12, 2011  

          AUTHOR: Kehoe                      URGENCY: No  
          VERSION: March 29, 2011            CONSULTANT: Bill Craven  
          DUAL REFERRAL: Transportation and HousingFISCAL: Yes  
          SUBJECT: Department of Transportation: capacity-increasing state 
          highway projects: coastal zone. 

          NOTE: The double referral of this bill to Senate Transportation 
          and Housing will provide a forum for the transportation-related 
          issues contained in this bill. Testimony in this committee 
          should be limited to those issues within the Committee's 
          jurisdiction.  
          
          BACKGROUND AND EXISTING LAW
          The possession and control of the state highway system is 
          assigned to the Department of Transportation (CalTrans). 
          CalTrans also is responsible, through contracts with Amtrak, for 
          the operations of California's intercity passenger rail service. 
          In addition, California has numerous state law provisions for: 
          developing and funding state transportation projects that 
          involve local governments; complying with federal and state 
          regulatory and environmental requirements; and making funding 
          decisions that include regional councils of government 
          (federally recognized metropolitan planning organizations) who 
          most recently have been assigned a major role in administering 
          SB 375 (Steinberg, 2008).  

          The California Coastal Commission (CCC) was established by voter 
          initiative in 1972 and in 1976, the Legislature adopted the 
          California Coastal Act. The CCC has regulatory authority for 
          development projects in the coastal zone. The coastal zone is a 
          defined strip of land that varies in width from several hundred 
          feet in urban areas to as much as five miles inland in more 
          rural areas of the state. Within these boundaries, the CCC 
          implements policies including but not limited to public access 
          to the coast, visual resources, agriculture, water quality, 
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          offshore oil and gas development, and numerous other topics. 

          According to information from the Senate Transportation and 
          Housing Committee, there are currently two major state highway 
          projects proposed in the coastal zone. The first is a high 
          occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane project in Ventura and Santa 
          Barbara counties. Segments of this project are under 
          construction or have received permits from the CCC. 


          Second is the most significant coastal zone transportation 
          project in California - the 27-mile widening of I-5 from 
          Oceanside to La Jolla, a district in the City of San Diego. This 
          project, referred to as the I-5 North Coast Corridor Project 
          (NCCP), is intended to address the long-term mobility needs of 
          travel in the corridor between the residential communities of 
          northern San Diego County and the employment centers found 
          primarily in the City of San Diego. After a variety of studies 
          by Caltrans and San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), 
          it was concluded that demand in the corridor would increase 50% 
          from 200,000 vehicles in 2000 to 300,000 vehicles in 2030. 
          Currently I-5 is an eight lane freeway with some segments of the 
          corridor already having two HOV lanes, one lane in each 
          direction. For purposes of conducting the draft environmental 
          impact report (EIR) pursuant to the California Environmental 
          Quality Act, five options were identified:

             1.   No-build: eight lanes with some segments currently 
               operating High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes.

             2.   Twelve lanes: eight free-flowing lanes and four 
               HOV/managed lanes separated by pavement stripes from the 
               free flowing lanes, for carpools and single occupant 
               vehicles that would pay to drive in the lanes. (A managed 
               lanes is a lane for car-pools, van-pools, and buses. A 
               single occupant vehicle is permit to use the lane provided 
               they pay. The charge can vary, depending on the amount of 
               transit on the managed lane as well as on the adjacent 
               conventional lanes.)

             3.   Twelve lanes: eight free-flowing lanes and four 
               HOV/managed lanes concept separated by concrete barriers.

             4.   Fourteen lanes: ten free-flowing lanes and four 
               HOV/managed lanes concept separated by pave stripes. 

             5.   Fourteen lanes: ten free-flowing lanes and four 
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               HOV/managed lanes concept separated by concrete barriers. 

          The planning documents indicate that this project will cost 
          between $3.3 billion in $4.4 billion depending on which option 
          is selected and may be implemented over a period of thirty to 
          forty years. A point of controversy is whether the draft EIR 
          includes adequate analysis of the multi-modal (train and light 
          rail) aspects of transportation improvements in this corridor

          No preferred alternative for construction was identified in the 
          draft EIR. There is some hope that the draft will be finalized 
          later this year or in 2012. 

           Coordination with the CCC  Pursuant to state law, the CCC issues 
          permits for highway projects in the coastal zone. The Federal 
          Highway Administration is a partner along with Caltrans and 
          SANDAG in developing this project. However, the FHA cannot 
          approve the DEIR unless the CCC certifies to the federal 
          government under the terms of the federal Coastal Zone 
          Management Act that the NCCP is consistent with the Coastal 
          Act's policies. Thus, the CCC has an important role in 
          permitting this project under both state and federal law. 

          In a separate undertaking from the draft EIR, the CCC asked 
          SANDAG and CalTrans to  development another document, the Public 
          Works Plan (PWP). The PWP is intended to provide a streamlined 
          and comprehensive basis for whatever CCC permits might be 
          required for the NCCP and to avoid project-by-project permitting 
          requirements. The PWP is not subject to the same procedural 
          requirements pertaining to public participation as are documents 
          prepared pursuant to CEQA. The draft PWA, at about 500 pages in 
          length, does include the railroad corridor aspects of the 
          project that are not included in the draft environmental impact 
          statement. 

          PROPOSED LAW
              1.        This bill contains findings and declarations 
               regarding the coastal zone, including recognizing the 
               coastal zone as a unique resource with both its natural and 
               built environment destination for people to enjoy its 
               recourses. In addition, it declares that transportation 
               investments in the coastal zone should not erode the very 
               qualities that make it an attractive setting in which to 
               live, work, and recreate. Further, to meet the goals for 
               greenhouse emission describe in AB 32 (Nuenz) Chapter 488, 
               Statues of 2006, and the objectives of SB 375 (Steinberg) 
               Chapter 728, Statutes of 2008, several activities are 
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               necessary, including transportation investments that 
               minimize vehicle miles traveled and reduce the geographical 
               disparity in the location of jobs and housing. 

              2.        The bill would require CalTrans to comply with the 
               following requirements for projects in the state highway 
               system that would increase capacity and that are located in 
               the coastal zone as it is defined in the Coastal Act:

               a.     Collaborate with local agencies situated in the 
                 coastal zone through which the proposed highway traverse, 
                 and with the regional transportation planning agency and 
                 the CCC to establish traffic congestion goals and 
                 determine how the proposed project will achieve the goals 
                 without compromising the unique features of the coastal 
                 zone. 

               b.     Include in the environmental analysis for the 
                 proposed project other local projects and state highway 
                 projects.

               c.     Coordinate and integrate construction of public 
                 transportation services, including commuter rail, in the 
                 corridor that have a program of service and facility 
                 enhancements and have those projects completed prior to 
                 construction of the highway project. 

               d.     If the proposed project is expected to generate 
                 additional traffic on city and county roads within the 
                 coastal zone, a program to mitigate the traffic and the 
                 funding to construct the program must be identified. The 
                 proposed highway project shall not commence construction 
                 until the mitigation program is implemented.

               e.     Projects within the capacity increasing program may 
                 proceed to construction provided the projects will reduce 
                 vehicle miles traveled and provided the construction of 
                 the projects do not delay the implementation of the 
                 public transportation projects. 

               d.     The environmental consequences of the proposed 
                 program of projects within the corridor highway 
                 improvement are required to be monitored to ensure the 
                 benefits of mitigation, as described in the project's 
                 environmental documents, are being achieved.

          CalTrans would also be required to suspend a determination 
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          pursuant to CEQA for projects that do not comply with the above 
          provisions if a project was approved after 1/1/11 but before 
          1/1/12. 

          ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT
          According to the author, this bill is a reaction to the proposed 
          highway project in San Diego County in the coastal zone. She 
          believes the 27-mile I-5 project is unprecedented in complexity, 
          size, scope, and cost. The freeway travels through some of the 
          most scenic territory in California and traverses six unique 
          coastal lagoons. She is concerned about the possible increased 
          emissions from such a massive highway in light of the state's 
          commitment in SB 375 to fund transportation projects that will 
          ultimately lead to a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions. She 
          has drafted a lengthy letter to CalTrans in which she identifies 
          numerous alleged deficiencies in the draft environmental 
          document including but not limited to: inadequate consideration 
          of multi-modal transportation options (which could include rail, 
          light rail, bike facilities, and bus rapid transit), the cost of 
          up to $4.5 billion, and mitigation for the effects on the 
          coastal lagoons. 

          The author also worked with the Senate Transportation and 
          Housing Committee to convene an information hearing on this 
          matter last November. Her summary of that meeting suggests that 
          the public and many affected local governments are concerned 
          about the adequacy of the draft EIR and the lack of coordination 
          with the Coastal Commission, in addition to the other issues 
          mentioned earlier. 

          ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION
          SANDAG has several points in opposition to the bill. It believes 
          the bill imposes new requirements on a project that has been in 
          the region's transportation plan for many iterations. It rejects 
          the idea that the NCCP will adversely affect development of a 
          multi-modal transportation system in the coastal zone-in fact, 
          it argues that SANDAG is committed to traffic reduction and 
          congestion relief on I-5 as well as development of public 
          transit.  It also notes that voters in a local sales tax measure 
          approved SANDAG's proposed expenditures, including this project 
          which was included in the regional transportation plan. 

          SANDAG considers the bill's requirement to coordinate with the 
          CCC to be unnecessary since that collaboration is already 
          underway as evidenced by the PWP mentioned earlier. It objects 
          to the provisions in the bill requiring that the environmental 
          analysis include affected local streets and roads since it 
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          believes those impacts are addressed through other means. It 
          objects to terms it considers vague such as a "transit 
          investment program" and it considers SB 468 as a de facto bar 
          against highway improvements in the affected corridor. 

          SANDAG also points out that the bill's emphasis on transit runs 
          contrary to the Legislature's reductions of transit funding in 
          favor of other General Fund needs. It is also concerned about 
          the economic impacts of the bill on its construction sector. 

          The California State Automobile Association voiced many of the 
          same concerns as SANDAG, but it is particularly troubled by the 
          provision that requires the transit improvements to occur prior 
          to the highway improvements. CSAA considers this provision as 
          holding hostage the highway projects with a result of increased 
          congestion. 

          A coalition including the California Chamber of Commerce and the 
          California Business Industry Association, among others, argues 
          that the bill misconstrues the regional planning process of SB 
          375 and that the bill ignores existing protections for the 
          coastal zone. It also denies that CalTrans does not work with 
          other agencies and local governments. This coalition also 
          objects to the provision requiring a project to demonstrate a 
          reduction in vehicle miles traveled. 

          COMMENTS. 
          As an anecdote that might help explain the author's objectives 
          with this bill, the Committee may want to consider the question 
          of the proposed highway expansion and its effects on the coastal 
          lagoons, two of which have been extensively restored by parties 
          who have been required to mitigate for other coastal projects. 
          Restoration work was done by the Port of Los Angeles at the 
          Batiquitos Lagoon, and Southern California Edison did 
          restoration work at San Diegueto Lagoon as part of its 
          mitigation for the San Onofre nuclear plant. 

          One one hand, the CCC has identified possible impacts which it 
          acknowledges will vary depending on what alternative is 
          scheduled for development. It is trying to work with CalTrans 
          staff on how the project should be designed that would improve 
          the ecological functioning of these lagoons. 

          A different view is expressed by SANDAG and CalTrans who believe 
          that the highway project can be complementary to, and even 
          enhance, the existing lagoon restoration projects. SANDAG notes 
          that the project would create 50 acres of wetlands adjacent to 
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          the Southern California Edison restoration project and the San 
          Dieguito lagoon and that all of the project's impacts on all of 
          the lagoons would occur on right-of-way already owned by 
          CalTrans. These parties believe that proposed mitigation 
          activities would enhance the existing restoration efforts and 
          lead to additional restoration work at other lagoons. 

          The point here is that both perspectives may ultimately be 
          accurate-even though each uses a different lens to assess the 
          same information. This is one example of many that will surface 
          in a project of this scope that the author wants to help 
          resolve. The Committee may determine that CalTrans, SANDAG, 
          local governments, and the CCC should be directed to collaborate 
          in identifying  how the proposed project will achieve its goals 
          without compromising the unique features of the coastal zone.  
          While still a work in progress, at this early stage of the 
          legislative process, the Committee may determine that the bill 
          is worthy of ongoing work by the author. 

          Moreover, it is clear that the author plans a series of 
          negotiations with CalTrans, SANDAG, and other opponents of the 
          bill as well as with other affected state agencies and local 
          governments. It is highly likely that a series of amendments 
          will be developed over the ensuing months that will necessitate 
          this Committee re-hearing the bill, assuming it moves forward 
          from this hearing in its current form. 

          Therefore, instead of suggesting specific amendments at this 
          hearing, staff instead would suggest that the author consider 
          the following questions assuming the bill moves forward: 

             1.   Should the bill also include the jurisdiction of the San 
               Francisco Bay Conservation and           Development 
               Commission, an entity with similar authorities as the CCC 
               in the San           Francisco Bay area?

             2.   Should the bill have different criteria for projects 
               that would be built within the existing footprint of a 
               state highway that is located in the coastal zone as a way 
               to encourage improvements within that existing footprint 
               that would avoid more significant impacts in the coastal 
               zone?

             3.   Should the collaboration provisions of the bill be 
               amended to include all affected public agencies? 

             4.   Should other metrics or factors other than vehicle miles 
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               traveled and public transit be included in the bill? 
               Examples could include air quality impacts, innovative 
               traffic management strategies, and  land use decisions 
               within the scope of SB 375 that would minimize the need for 
               increased highway capacity in the coastal zone. 

             5.   Should the bill impose a requirement that impacts to the 
               existing coastal lagoon mitigation projects be avoided or 
               minimized, or that the coastal impacts on lagoons and 
               elsewhere (including multimodal) should be required to 
               provide specified environmental benefits to the lagoon or 
               coastal ecosystems? 





          SUPPORT
          Alliance of Citizens to Improve Oceanside Neighborhoods
          California Coastal Commission - if amended
          California Public Interest Research Group
          City of Del Mar
          City of Oceanside
          City of Solana Beach
          Cleveland National Forest Foundation
          Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation
          International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
          Move San Diego
          San Diego County Democratic Party
          Save our Forest and Ranch Lands
          Sierra Club of California
          Sustainable San Diego
          Torrey Pines Community Planning Board
          1 individual

          OPPOSITION
          American Council of Engineering Companies of California
          Associated General Contractors
          CA Building Industry Association
          CA Business Properties Association
          CA Chamber of Commerce
          California Chapter of the American Fence Association
          California Fence Contractors' Association
          California State Automobile Association
          Engineering Contractors' Association
          Flasher Barricade Association
          Marin Builders' Association
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          Orange County Business Council 
          Professional Engineers in California Government
          SANDAG
          Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission - unless 
          amended
          Southern California Contractors Association









































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