BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION AND HOUSING
                              Senator Jim Beall, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:          AB 726            Hearing Date:    6/30/2015
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          |Author:   |Nazarian                                              |
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          |Version:  |6/16/2015                                             |
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          |Urgency:  |No                     |Fiscal:      |No              |
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          |Consultant|Randy Chinn                                           |
          |:         |                                                      |
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          SUBJECT:  Vehicles:  Los Angeles County Metropolitan  
          Transportation Authority

            DIGEST:  This bill authorizes the Los Angeles County  
          Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) to operate  
          articulated buses that do not exceed a length of 82 feet on the  
          Orange Line in the County of Los Angeles under specified  
          conditions.

          ANALYSIS:
          
          Existing law generally limits vehicle length to 40 feet, with a  
          specific limit for articulated buses of 60 feet.

          The Orange Line in the County of Los Angeles is a two-lane,  
          18-mile, dedicated busway.  It crosses more than 34 streets and  
          has several mid-block pedestrian crosswalks, with loop detectors  
          installed at each of the signalized intersections to give Orange  
          Line vehicles traffic signal priority.  According to the author,  
          Orange Line ridership is almost double initial predictions,  
          making it one of the most successful bus rapid transit projects  
          in the country.

          This bill authorizes the LACMTA to operate articulated buses  
          that do not exceed a length of 82 feet on the route designated  
          as the Orange Line in the County of Los Angeles, subject to:

          1)a safety review of the use of such buses by a route review  
            committee, and
          2)the collective bargaining agreements between LACMTA and its  







          AB 726 (Nazarian)                                  Page 2 of ?
          
          
            employee unions.

          COMMENTS:
          
          Purpose of the bill.  The author notes that ridership on the  
          Orange Line is almost double initial estimates and continues to  
          grow rapidly each year.  Headway restrictions limit the number  
          of standard articulated buses that can operate on the line.  In  
          order to increase capacity to meet the demand, LACMTA needs to  
          allow bi-articulated buses, increasing carrying capacity by  
          20-30%, according to the author.  These buses are enormous, up  
          to 82 feet long, more than 1/3 longer than standard articulated  
          buses, with three segments and four axles.  

          A little heavy.  There is an ongoing concern with the damage  
          that overweight vehicles, and in particular overweight buses,  
          impart on streets, highways, and bridges.  At a time when  
          California's transportation infrastructure is declining rapidly  
          and revenue sources are shrinking, it is more important than  
          ever to ensure that only vehicles that comply with California's  
          maximum weight standards be allowed on our roads.  

          These larger articulated buses operate in South America and  
          Europe, but not in North America.  It will take several years  
          for these buses to be designed, approved, and built for service  
          in California.  They will need to comply with the weight  
          limitations in place at that time, or else seek a waiver which  
          will require legislation.  The author has agreed to accept  
          amendments in the committee requiring consultation with pavement  
          engineers in the effected local jurisdictions before authorizing  
          the use of these vehicles.

          Assembly Votes:

            Floor:    77-0
            Trans:    16-0
            LGov:       9-0
          
          FISCAL EFFECT:  Appropriation:  No    Fiscal Com.:  No    Local:  
           No


            POSITIONS:  (Communicated to the committee before noon on  
          Wednesday,
                          June 24, 2015.)








          AB 726 (Nazarian)                                  Page 3 of ?
          
          
          
            SUPPORT:  

          Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
          Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles

          OPPOSITION:

          None reported
                                      -- END --