BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                    AB 2090

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          Date of Hearing:  April 27, 2016


                               Lorena Gonzalez, Chair

          2090 (Alejo) - As Amended April 7, 2016

          |Policy       |Transportation                 |Vote:|16 - 0       |
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          Urgency:  No  State Mandated Local Program:  NoReimbursable:  No


          This bill allows funding from the Low Carbon Transit Operations  
          Program (LCTOP) to sustain a transit agency's existing service  
          if the agency declares a fiscal emergency under existing  
          provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).  
          An agency could not request such funds for more than three  
          consecutive years and would have to declare a fiscal emergency  
          in each year to receive funds for that year.


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          FISCAL EFFECT:

          Potential significant cost pressure on the LCTOP by expanding  
          criteria for use of funds set aside for this program and thus  
          likely increasing the number of transit agencies that would be  
          eligible to apply for funding. 

          Caltrans may incur additional administrative costs to revise  
          program guidelines and to review additional funding  
          applications, but these costs should be absorbable.


          1)Background. LCTOP was created to provide operating and capital  
            assistance for transit agencies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG)  
            emissions and improve mobility, with a priority on serving  
            disadvantaged communities.  Approved projects in LCTOP support  
            new or expanded bus or rail services and expand intermodal  
            transit facilities and may include equipment acquisition,  
            fueling, maintenance, and other costs to operate those  
            services or facilities. For transit agencies whose service  
            area includes disadvantaged communities, at least 50% of the  
            total moneys received shall be expended on projects that will  
            benefit disadvantaged communities.

            LCTOP is administered by Caltrans and is funded by a  
            continuous appropriation of 5% of Greenhouse Gas Fund (GGRF)  
            revenues. LCTOP received $25 million in 2014-15 and $100  
            million in 2015-16.  The Governor's 2016-17 Budget proposes  
            $100 million for the program.

          2)Purpose. According to the author, due to current fiscal  


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            challenges, some transit agencies are unable to expand  
            service, thus are prohibited them from seeking LCTOP funds.  
            Moreover, some agencies are struggling to maintain existing  
            service levels, which could force service cutbacks, thus  
            forcing some transit riders onto less efficient, dirtier modes  
            of transportation, resulting in increased GHG emissions.  

            This bill is sponsored by Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit  
            District, which asserts it is experiencing a growing  
            structural deficit caused by rising operations costs and flat  
            ridership amidst diminished local, state, and federal support.  
            It contends that the funding flexibility offered by this bill  
            will allow it to avoid making a 25% reduction in service that  
            would impact 46% of core ridership.

            Under CEQA, a "fiscal emergency" means that the agency is  
            projected to have negative funding within one year from the  
            date of declaration.  The transit agency must conduct a public  
            hearing to consider the action prior to declaring the fiscal  
            emergency. This bill also includes a three-year limit on the  
            time one agency can use LCTOP to offset a fiscal emergency.

          Analysis Prepared by:Chuck Nicol / APPR. / (916)