BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 481
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   April 8, 2013

                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION
                               Bonnie Lowenthal, Chair
                   AB 481 (Lowenthal) - As Amended:  April 1, 2013 
           
          SUBJECT  :  High-Speed Rail Authority:  property management

           SUMMARY  :  Grants authorities to the High-Speed Rail Authority  
          (HSRA) related to property disposal, leasing, rental, and  
          management.  Specifically,  this bill  :  

          1)Authorizes HSRA to secure fire insurance for properties it  
            owns and leases for commercial or business use.  

          2)Provides that HSRA, not the Department of Transportation  
            (Caltrans), has sole charge and direct control of HSRA  
            projects.  

          3)Provides that the Department of General Services' (DGS's)  
            broad authority to acquire easement or rights of way on behalf  
            of the state does not apply to land, easements, or rights of  
            way to be acquired by HSRA; similarly, provides that DGS's  
            authority to grant or convey easements and rights of way over  
            state properties does not apply to HSRA right of way.  

          4)Authorizes HSRA to negotiate, in the name of the state, access  
            to rights of way it owns and the value for such access.   
            Provides that access may include, but is not limited to,  
            lease, permit, or other form of providing a monetary or  
            service consideration for access.  

          5)Directs any revenues from payments received into the  
            High-Speed Rail Property Fund, as created, to be used as  
            appropriated by the Legislature for the use in development,  
            improvement, and maintenance of the high-speed rail system.  

          6)Provides an exemption for HSRA from the requirement that DGS  
            maintain an inventory, and negotiate leases for, state-owned  
            property that could be available for lease to providers of  
            wireless communications facilities.  

          7)Exempts properties and easements acquired for high-speed rail  
            purposes from DGS's broad authority to quitclaim rights,  
            titles, and interests in state-owned property and easements.  








                                                                  AB 481
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          8)Authorizes HSRA to sell or exchange any excess property and  
            sets forth provisions governing such sales or exchanges,  
            including the authority to sell as follows:

             a)   To an adjoining property owner, under certain  
               circumstances;

             b)   To municipalities or other local agencies, at fair  
               market value, without calling for competitive bids if the  
               property is intended to be used for a public purpose;  
               accept as all or part of the consideration for the sale or  
               lease the benefits the state would derive from the local  
               agency's undertaking maintenance or landscaping costs; and,

             c)   To a former owner if that person is still an occupant or  
               to a long-term tenant.  


          9)Authorizes HSRA to lease non-operating right of way areas to  
            local agencies for public purposes and to contribute toward  
            the cost of developing parks in those areas, under certain  
            conditions.  

          10)Authorizes HSRA to lease air space (i.e., areas above or  
            below operating rights of way) and portions of property not  
            currently being used as right of way for any term, not to  
            exceed 99 years; leases to private entities must be done by  
            competitive bid.  

           EXISTING LAW  : 

          1)Enacts the Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act  
            for the 21st Century (High-Speed Rail Bond Act).  The  
            High-Speed Rail Bond Act, approved as Proposition 1A in  
            November 2008, provides $9.95 billion in general obligation  
            bond authority to fund the planning and construction of a  
            high-speed passenger train system and complementary  
            improvements to other specified rail systems in the state.  

          2)Authorizes Caltrans to secure fire insurance for properties it  
            owns and leases for commercial or business use.  

          3)Requires Caltrans to have sole charge and direct control over  
            projects that are not under the jurisdiction of the Department  








                                                                  AB 481
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            of Water Resources, the Department of Boating and Waterways,  
            the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, or the  
            Department of General Services.  

          4)Authorizes DGS to acquire or grant easements or rights of way  
            for the proper utilization of real property owned or being  
            acquired by the state, with the exception of Caltrans property  
            to be acquired or owned.  

          5)Vests responsibility with DGS to maintain an inventory of, and  
            negotiate leases for, state-owned property that could be  
            available for lease to providers of wireless communications  
            facilities; exempts from these provisions property owned by  
            Caltrans.

          6)Requires DGS to negotiate, in the name of the state, access to  
            right of way it owns, including the value of the right of  
            access.  Exempts Caltrans-owned properties from DGS's purview.  
             

          7)With the exception of state highways, authorizes DGS to  
            quitclaim in the name of the state, the right, title and  
            interest of the state in and to easements and rights of way  
            owned by the state.  

          8)Requires DGS to have sole charge and direct control of  
            projects excluding those projects undertaken by the Department  
            of Water Resources, Caltrans, the Department of Boating and  
            Waterways, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation,  
            and the Military Department.  

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  Unknown, but would likely result in cost-saving  
          administrative efficiencies and generate revenue from leases,  
          thus reducing overall project costs.  

           COMMENTS  :  HSRA is responsible for planning, designing, building  
          and operating California's high-speed rail system.  The system  
          promises to connect the mega-regions of the state, contribute to  
          economic development and a cleaner environment, create jobs, and  
          preserve agricultural and protected lands.  By 2029, the system  
          will run from San Francisco to the Los Angeles basin.  In  
          addition, HSRA is working with regional partners to implement a  
          statewide rail modernization plan that will invest billions of  
          dollars in local and regional rail lines.  









                                                                  AB 481
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          AB 481 mirrors provisions of existing law, regulation, and  
          policy governing Caltrans' authority to manage its properties  
          and to sell its excess land.  This bill will enable HSRA to  
          effectively manage property acquired for the high-speed rail  
          project by allowing it to negotiate with impacted landowners for  
          continued access, exchange property between adjoining landowners  
          to help mitigate impacts to existing uses, sell excess property  
          no longer required for the project, and lease property to  
          interested parties as a means of creating additional revenue  
          sources for the project.  According to the author, AB 481 is  
          intended to allow HSRA to better plan for the project's short  
          and long-term needs by exclusively managing access to property  
          acquired for the high-speed rail project.  

           Double referral  :  This bill is also referred to the Assembly  
          Committee on Accountability and Administrative Review.  

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   

           Support 
           
          California High-Speed Rail Authority (sponsor)

           Opposition 
           
          None on file
           

          Analysis Prepared by  :   Janet Dawson / TRANS. / (916) 319-2093