BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     AB 157


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          CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS


          AB  
          157 (Levine)


          As Amended  June 25, 2015


          2/3 vote.  Urgency


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          |ASSEMBLY:  | 75-0 | (March 26,    |SENATE: |40-0  | (August 31,     |
          |           |      |2015)          |        |      |2015)            |
          |           |      |               |        |      |                 |
          |           |      |               |        |      |                 |
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          Original Committee Reference:  TRANS.


          SUMMARY:  Authorizes an environmental review to be completed  
          concurrent with design work for a project to open a third lane  
          in each direction on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, under  
          certain conditions.


          The Senate amendments authorize, rather than require, the  
          environmental review for the project to be completed concurrent  
          with design work.   


          AS PASSED BY THE ASSEMBLY, this bill:


          1)Made legislative findings and declarations regarding the  
            history of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge and of a planned  
            project to improve traffic flow on the bridge by re-opening a  
            third lane to vehicle traffic in the eastbound direction and  








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            to bicycle traffic in the westbound direction.
          2)Required, to the extent possible, environmental work and  
            design work be done concurrently on the project if the  
            Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the  
            California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) develop  
            such a project.  


          3)Included an urgency clause, allowing this bill's provisions to  
            take effect immediately.


          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown.  This bill is keyed non-fiscal by the  
          Legislative Counsel.


          COMMENTS:  The Richmond-San Rafael Bridge originally opened in  
          1956 with three lanes of vehicular traffic in each direction.   
          In the 1970s, one lane of the bridge was temporarily closed to  
          allow for an aqueduct to transport water to a drought-stricken  
          Marin.  Even though the aqueduct was later removed, the bridge  
          continues to operate with two traffic lanes in each direction. 


          The author introduced this bill to address growing concerns  
          about congestion delays in the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge  
          corridor.  According to the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA), a  
          public instrumentality governed by the same board that governs  
          MTC, regional population growth and local business developments  
          in Marin County have resulted in significant traffic increases  
          on eastbound Interstate 580 (I-580) and the bridge approach  
          during evening peak commute periods.  BATA also reports that the  
          congestion in the bridge corridor backs up traffic on northbound  
          United States Highway 101 in Marin County.  In addition to  
          traffic congestion, the current configuration on the bridge (two  
          lanes in each direction) does not allow for bicycle and  
          pedestrian facilities.  As a result, there is a significant gap  
          in the 270-mile Bay Trail, reportedly one of the most heavily  
          used recreation and non-motorized transportation assets in the  
          region.  










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          Earlier this year, BATA voted to proceed with the I-580 Access  
          Improvement Project.  The project includes improvements for  
          motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians in the Richmond-San  
          Rafael Bridge corridor.  Proposed improvements include opening a  
          third lane of vehicular traffic in the eastbound direction of  
          I-580 from Marin County to Contra Costa County (across the  
          bridge) and converting an existing shoulder in the westbound  
          direction of the bridge to a barrier-separated path for  
          bicyclists and pedestrians. 


          BATA's action authorized its staff to proceed with a  
          "design-at-risk" strategy (i.e., begin design in advance of  
          environmental clearance) to shorten the timeframe for opening  
          all improvements.  BATA's stated goal is to complete the final  
          design and be able to advertise for construction at the  
          completion of the environmental review.  According to the  
          author, the design-at-risk strategy will expedite completion of  
          the project by as much as 18 months.  


          Assembly Transportation Committee staff concerns:  As amended in  
          the Senate, this bill authorizes, rather than requires, BATA to  
          proceed with a design-at-risk strategy.  However, since BATA is  
          already pursuing this approach, it is not clear why this bill is  
          necessary.


          Analysis Prepared by:                                             
                          Janet Dawson / TRANS. / (916) 319-2093  FN:  
          0001286



















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