BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  AB 481
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          Date of Hearing:   May 1, 2013

                                 Jim Frazier, Chair
                   AB 481 (Lowenthal) - As Amended:  April 1, 2013
          SUBJECT  :   High-speed rail

           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  

              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.  


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              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.  

              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  

                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.  

           1)EXISTING LAW  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.  


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          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  
            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  

          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  : This bill, which is sponsored by the HSRA, will  
          provide the HSRA the authority to manage property acquired for  


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          the high speed rail project. Specifically, the bill would allow  
          the HSRA to negotiate with landowners for access, exchange  
          properties between adjoining landowners, sell excess properties,  
          lease properties, and generally manage its properties. 

          The Department of General Services plays a major in managing  
          most state agencies' properties. However, current law provides  
          Caltrans the authority to manage its own property as that  
          department holds title to thousands of property parcels  
          throughout the state as part of the highway system. The HSRA  
          contends that for the sake of efficiency, it should have similar  
          property management authority as Caltrans since the high-speed  
          rail project is similar to the state highway system. The bill  
          mirrors Caltrans' property management authority.        

          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.  

          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 was also referred to the Assembly  
          Committee on Transportation. It was passed and re-referred to  
          the Committee on Accountability and Administrative Review on  
          April 8, 2013 by an 11 to 5 vote.  


          California High-Speed Rail Authority (sponsor)
          California State Association of Electrical Workers
          California State Pipe Trades Council
          Western States Council of Sheet Metal Workers


                                                                  AB 481
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          None on File
          Analysis Prepared by  :    Scott Herbstman / A. & A.R. / (916)