BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 528
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   April 22, 2013

                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION
                               Bonnie Lowenthal, Chair
                  AB 528 ( Lowenthal) - As Amended:  April 16, 2013

           SUBJECT  :  State Rail Plan and High-Speed Rail Business Plan

           SUMMARY  :  Deletes, recasts, and modifies the requirements of the  
          State Rail Plan (rail plan) and clarifies requirements of the  
          California High-Speed Rail Business Plan (business plan).   
          Specifically,  this bill  :  

          1)Makes findings and declarations recognizing the federal  
            Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (PRIIA)  
            requirements for states to develop rail plans in order to be  
            eligible for federal rail capital grants.  

          2)Establishes that the California Department of Transportation  
            (Caltrans) is responsible for the preparation of the rail plan  
            and is designated as the responsible agency for the  
            development of the federally required rail plan.  
             
          3)Requires Caltrans to prepare the rail plan and, pursuant to  
            PRIIA, designates it as the state rail transportation  
            authority to prepare, maintain, coordinate, and administer the  
            rail plan.  

          4)Specifies the requirements for the passenger rail element to  
            include the following:  

             a)   A statement of compliance with PRIIA;  

             b)   Plans for a comprehensive and integrated statewide  
               passenger rail system, including high-speed rail,  
               conventional intercity and commuter rail, and connections  
               to urban rail systems;  

             c)   A review of all high-speed rail routes, the rail freight  
               system, conventional intercity and commuter rail systems,  
               and urban rail system connections to high-speed rail and  
               conventional intercity and commuter rail systems, including  
               a statement of the state's passenger rail objectives for  
               routes in the state;  









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             d)   An identification of the improvements that have utility  
               to both rail freight and passenger rail services in the  
               state, performed in consultation with the freight railroad  
               industry; and,

             e)   An inventory of the existing rail transportation system  
               and rail services and facilities in the state, and an  
               analysis of the role of rail transportation within the  
               state's overall transportation system.  

          1)Specifies the requirements for the freight rail element to  
            include the following:  

               a)     Environmental aspects that include air quality, land  
                 use, and community impacts;  

               b)     Financing issues that include a means to obtain  
                 federal and state funding;  

               c)     Rail issues that include regional, intrastate, and  
                 interstate issues;  

               d)     Intermodal connections that include seaports and  
                 intermodal terminals;  

               e)     A statement of current system deficiencies;  

               f)     Service objectives that improve efficiency,  
                 accessibility, and safety;  

               g)     New technology that includes logistics and process  
                 improvement; and,

               h)     Light density rail line analyses that include  
                 traffic density, track characteristics, project selection  
                 criteria, and benefit-cost criteria.  

          1)Requires the final rail plan to be submitted to the  
            Transportation Agency for approval and requires the approved  
            plan be submitted, on or before March 1, 2017, to the  
            Legislature, the Governor, the Public Utilities Commission,  
            the California High-Speed Rail Authority (HSRA), and the  
            California Transportation Commission.  

          2)Requires the rail plan to be updated every five years  








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            thereafter, at a minimum.  

          3)Deletes requirements for obsolete elements of the rail plan  
            relative to decrepit rail passenger stations and special  
            amenities for service on the San Joaquin intercity rail  
            passenger service.  

          4)Revises, for clarification and elimination of redundancies,  
            the elements of the HSRA business plan.  

          5)Requires the business plan to be submitted to the Legislature  
            May 1, 2014, and every two years thereafter.  

           EXISTING LAW  :  

          1)Requires Caltrans to prepare a ten-year rail plan to be  
            updated biennially.  The report is required to be submitted by  
            March 31 of every even-numbered year.  (Note: With the advent  
            of new federal requirements for state rail plans, Caltrans  
            notified legislative policy committees that the 2012 report  
            would be delayed so that new federal state rail plan  
            requirements could be incorporated.  That new plan has been  
            developed and is being circulated for review and comment.)  

          2)Under the federal PRIIA, establishes a federal policy for  
            intercity passenger rail that includes a federal capital grant  
            program and new requirements for state rail plans.  Conditions  
            submittal of federal capital grant applications upon completed  
            state rail plans.  Requires state rail plans to be updated  
            every five years.  

          3)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.  

          4)Requires Caltrans to identify in the rail plan the three most  
            decrepit intercity rail passenger stations in the state used  
            by trains operated by the National Railroad Passenger  
            Corporation (Amtrak).  

          5)Requires Caltrans to consider and estimate the cost of service  








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            improvements to the San Joaquin Amtrak intercity rail  
            passenger route relative to baggage check-in, custom class  
            service, and dining service, and report its findings in the  
            rail passenger development plan submitted in 1991.  

          6)Requires HSRA to prepare a business plan by January 1, 2012,  
            that includes the types of services it expects to develop, a  
            description of the system's benefits, a patronage forecast,  
            the sources of funds to construct and operate the project, the  
            chronology for construction of the corridors in which it will  
            operate, the risk associated with construction, technology,  
            financing and other aspects of the project, and the HSRA's  
            strategy for managing risks.  

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  Unknown

           COMMENTS  :  Successful rail development depends on the  
          integration of various modes of transportation-including  
          intercity, commuter and urban rail transit, as well as the state  
          and local roadway network.  According to the author, the rail  
          plan prepared by Caltrans and the business plan prepared by HSRA  
          are in need of revision to reflect new requirements as proposed  
          by federal law, as well to modify them to be more streamlined  
          and efficient.  

           State Rail Plan  :  Since 1995, Caltrans has prepared a 10-year  
          intercity rail transportation plan, which it updates biennially.  
           Caltrans submits the plan to the California Transportation  
          Commission for its "advice and consent" and then forwards it the  
          Governor, Legislature, and the California Public Utilities  
          Commission. 

          The federal Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of  
          2008 (PRIIA) establishes           requirements for state rail  
          plans, including the requirement for updates every five years.   
          PRIIA also conditions submittal of federal capital grant  
          applications upon completed state rail plans.  

          This bill would align the policies and schedules for the state  
          plan with the federal requirements.  Additionally, obsolete rail  
          plan reporting requirements are to be deleted in reference to  
          decrepit rail stations and extra amenities for the San Joaquin  
          Amtrak intercity rail passenger services.  

           HSRA Business Plan  :  Under current law, HSRA is required to  








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          prepare and submit their business plan to the Legislature by  
          January 1, 2012.  Further, the law specifies the required  
          elements of the business plan, several of which are redundant  
          and overlapping.  This bill establishes a reporting deadline of  
          May 1, 2014 for the biennial submission of the business plan and  
          also cleans up some of its reporting elements to eliminate  
          redundancies.  

           Related bills  :  SB 1117 (DeSaulnier), of 2012, would have  
          modified the requirements of the rail plan.  That bill was  
          vetoed by the governor who indicated that the Transportation  
          Agency will take the lead in planning a comprehensive state rail  
          system.  

          SB 783 (Ashburn) Chapter 618, Statutes of 2009, modified the  
          requirements and schedule for the HSRA business plan.  

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :

           Support 
           
          None on file
           
            Opposition 
           
          None on file

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