BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     AB 726


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          Date of Hearing:  April 27, 2015


                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION


                                 Jim Frazier, Chair


          AB 726  
          (Nazarian) - As Amended March 26, 2015


          SUBJECT:  Vehicles:  Los Angeles County Metropolitan  
          Transportation Authority


          SUMMARY:  Authorizes the Los Angeles County Metropolitan  
          Transportation Authority (MTA) to operate articulated buses of  
          up to 82 feet in length on the route designated as the Orange  
          Line in Los Angeles County. 


          EXISTING LAW:  


          1)Generally limits the length of a vehicle to 40 feet, but  
            creates numerous exceptions to the limit.


          2)Limits the length of a bus to 45 feet.


          3)Limits the length of an articulated bus to 60 feet.  


          FISCAL EFFECT:  None










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          COMMENTS:  MTA purchased the abandoned Southern Pacific Burbank  
          Branch railroad line in 1991 and eventually constructed a bus  
          rapid transit (BRT) line, known as the Orange Line, along the  
          route.  The Orange Line opened in 2005 as a 14-mile route  
          consisting of two-lane dedicated busways for 60-foot articulated  
          buses.  The line crosses 34 streets and five mid-block  
          pedestrian crosswalks.  At signalized intersections, loop  
          detectors give Orange Line buses traffic signal priority.   
          Adjacent to the dedicated busways there are eight miles of  
          bicycle and pedestrian paths, with designated on-street bike  
          lanes for the remaining six miles.  In 2012 MTA completed a  
          four-mile northern extension of the Orange Line, connecting four  
          new stations.  


          When the Orange Line opened, MTA estimated that ridership would  
          average 16,000 riders on weekdays.  By 2012, daily ridership had  
          grown to 31,787 and continues to grow.  The line operates near  
          capacity, especially during peak periods.  In 2011, MTA, in  
          partnership with the City of Los Angeles, developed the Orange  
          Line Bus Rapid Transit Sustainable Corridor Implementation Plan  
          (Orange Line CRT Sustainable CIP).  The plan identified the use  
          of longer articulated buses on the Orange Line as one way to  
          expand capacity on the line and improve travel times.  In  
          addition to examining improvements to the existing BRT system,  
          MTA also analyzed the possible conversion of the Orange Line to  
          a light-rail line.  


          AB 726 authorizes the MTA to run articulated buses of up to 82  
          feet in length on the Orange Line.  According to the author, AB  
          726 is needed to "effectively address the growing public  
          transportation needs of the San Fernando Valley, alleviate  
          congestion, and take advantage of available transportation  
          resources."  The author notes that AB 726 does not mandate the  
          use of longer articulated buses, but rather gives MTA the option  
          as one way to address overcrowding issues on the Orange Line.   
          Given that the Orange Line is a dedicated busway and the longer  
          buses would not be interacting with other vehicles, this  








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          authorization is a reasonable tool to give MTA as it tries to  
          address Orange Line capacity issues.


          Arguments in support:  Writing in support, MTA, the sponsor of  
          this bill, argues that "bi-articulated buses could allow for  
          expansion on this important line.  Bi-articulated buses would be  
          restricted to running exclusively in the [Orange Line]  
          right-of-way and would be segregated from other vehicles.  On  
          the [Orange Line] right-of-way, the extended length of these  
          vehicles is not expected to have any impact on safety."


          Arguments in opposition:  Writing in opposition, the United  
          Transportation Union argues that "unsafe conditions created by  
          this size of a bus being allowed to operated, especially in the  
          greater Los Angeles area, far outweighs any benefit for using  
          busses of this size and length."


          Proposed amendment:  The author committed to adding the  
          following language to AB 726 when it was heard in Local  
          Government Committee:  "Implementation of this provision is  
          subject to the agency's meet and confer requirements with the  
          bargaining representatives of its employees, pursuant to the  
          Meyers-Milias-Brown Act."  Due to timing issues, the bill could  
          not be amended in Local Government Committee so the author would  
          like to amend the bill in this committee.


          Double referral:  This bill passed out of the Assembly Local  
          Government Committee on 


          April 22, 2015, with a 9-0 vote.
          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:











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          Support


          Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority  
          (Sponsor)


          Honorable Eric Garcetti, Mayor, City of Los Angeles




          Opposition


          United Transportation Union




          Analysis Prepared by:Anya Lawler / TRANS. / (916) 319-2093