BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                             Senator Ricardo Lara, Chair
                            2015 - 2016  Regular  Session

          AB 1500 (Atkins) - State highways:  relinquishment:  Route 75
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          |Version: August 1, 2016         |Policy Vote: T. & H. 10 - 0     |
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          |Urgency: No                     |Mandate: No                     |
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          |Hearing Date: August 1, 2016    |Consultant: Mark McKenzie       |
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          This bill meets the criteria for referral to the Suspense File.

          Summary:  AB 1500 would authorize the California Transportation  
          Commission (CTC) to relinquish specified portions of State  
          Highway Route (SR) 75 to the Cities of Imperial Beach and San  

           Unknown one-time costs ranging from minor up to several  
            million to the Department of Transportation (Caltrans) prior  
            to the relinquishment of the designated segments of SR 75 to  
            the Cities of San Diego and Imperial Beach (State Highway  
            Account).  These costs would be offset in future years due to  
            avoided maintenance costs on the relinquished segments.

          Background:  Existing law identifies the California state highway system  
          (SHS) through a description of segments of the state's regional  


          AB 1500 (Atkins)                                       Page 1 of  
          and interregional roads that are owned and operated by Caltrans.  
           Existing law requires the CTC to relinquish to cities and  
          counties segments of state highways that have been deleted from  
          the SHS by legislative enactment.  The CTC is prohibited from  
          relinquishing a segment of state highway to a city or county  
          that has been superseded by relocation until Caltrans has placed  
          the highway into a "state of good repair," which includes litter  
          removal, weed control, and tree and shrub trimming, but does not  
          obligate Caltrans for widening, new construction, or major  
          reconstruction, unless directed by the CTC. 

          The Legislature has provided statutory authorization to CTC to  
          relinquish a number of state highway segments to local  
          jurisdictions under specified conditions.  Relinquishment  
          provides the recipient agency with greater control over local  
          transportation projects and relieves Caltrans of any further  
          responsibility to improve, maintain, or repair infrastructure  
          related to the relinquished segment of state highway.   
          Generally, relinquishments are subject to negotiated agreements  
          between Caltrans and a local jurisdiction seeking control of a  
          local highway segment.  CTC must determine that the agreement  
          for relinquishment, which has typically involved a one-time  
          payment of State Highway Account funds to the local entity, is  
          in the best interests of the state.    

          Historically, Caltrans has annually set aside $12 million of  
          State Highway Operations and Protection Plan (SHOPP) funding for  
          rehabilitation necessary for highway relinquishments.  In recent  
          years, however, Caltrans has not set aside funding to  
          rehabilitate relinquished highways.

          Proposed Law:  
            AB 1500 would authorize CTC to relinquish the portions of SR  
          75 located in the Cities of Imperial Beach and San Diego within  
          their respective city limits, upon a determination that the  
          relinquishment is in the state's best interest.  The  
          relinquished segments would cease to be a part of the state  
          highway system, and would be ineligible for future adoption as a  
          state highway.  The bill would require the Cities of Imperial  
          Beach and San Diego to ensure the continuity of traffic flow  


          AB 1500 (Atkins)                                       Page 2 of  
          along the relinquished portions and maintain signs directing  
          motorists to the continuation of SR 75, to the extent deemed  
          necessary by Caltrans.

          Legislation:  SB 254 (Allen), as heard by this Committee in  
          2015, would have established procedures for the administrative  
          relinquishment of state highway segments that do not serve an  
          interregional purpose.  That bill was amended in the Assembly to  
          address an unrelated subject.

          Comments:  Existing law describes SR 75 as a highway from Route  
          5 to Route 5 via the Silver Strand and upon the San  
          Diego-Coronado Toll Bridge.  Going from north to south, SR 75  
          crosses the bridge and passes through the Cities of Coronado and  
          Imperial Beach before re-entering San Diego city limits and  
          connecting to Route 5.  The U.S. Navy has initiated a series of  
          improvements on its property at the Naval Amphibious Base  
          located along the Silver Strand Boulevard section of SR 75, just  
          north of Imperial Beach.  The improvements are expected to  
          generate a significant amount of traffic when fully constructed  
          and occupied.  The Imperial Beach City Council would like to  
          have more direct control over SR 75 within its boundaries  
          (approximately 1.2 miles of roadway locally identified as Palm  
          Avenue) so that it can work with the Navy in managing traffic.   
          According to a recent Caltrans analysis, this segment of SR 75  
          functions as a city street rather than a state highway or  
          interregional route, with on-street parking, numerous driveways,  
          and other access points.
          Caltrans may provide State Highway Account funding to a local  
          entity that is assuming control over state highway segments in  
          order to bring the roadway up to a "state of good repair,"  
          although there is no statutory obligation to do so.  The actual  
          amounts vary for each relinquished highway segment and are  
          determined by a negotiation of terms and conditions between  
          Caltrans and the local jurisdiction, but those costs are based  
          upon a cost-benefit analysis covering a ten-year period, which  
          is included in a Project Scope Summary Report prepared for  
          legislative relinquishments.  

          Caltrans has not identified a specific cost estimate for the  


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          relinquishment of this highway segment, but based on other  
          relinquishments, one-time costs may range from minimal up to $1  
          million per centerline mile of roadway depending on numerous  
          factors such as roadway condition, projected maintenance costs,  
          and any planned capital projects.  The combined segments of SR  
          75 within the Cities of San Diego and Imperial Beach are  
          approximately 2.2 miles long, so initial costs could be minimal  
          but may be as high as $2 million.  The relinquishment of these  
          segments would relieve Caltrans of any future maintenance and  
          repair costs, resulting in unknown long-term annual savings.  

          Actual costs and savings would be more certain if legislation to  
          authorize relinquishment followed, rather than preceded, the  
          completion of the cost-benefit analysis and an agreement between  
          Caltrans and the specified cities.  However, Caltrans does not  
          typically conduct the analysis and enter into negotiations until  
          legislative authority for relinquishment has been provided.

          Staff notes that Caltrans District 11 staff is currently working  
          on a Transportation Concept Report for SR 75, which is scheduled  
          for completion in late 2016.  This planning document will  
          identify existing and future route conditions as well as any  
          future needs for the highway, and it may be useful to inform  
          relinquishment negotiations.  Caltrans is also in the process of  
          completing a Relinquishment Assessment Report for the portions  
          of SR 75 within the City of Coronado.

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