BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                    SB 1345


                                                                    Page  1





          Date of Hearing:  June 27, 2016


                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION


                                 Jim Frazier, Chair


          SB  
          1345 (Berryhill) - As Amended June 20, 2016


          SENATE VOTE:  25-7


          SUBJECT:  Vehicles:  off-highway vehicle (OHV) recreation:   
          County of Inyo


          SUMMARY:  Extends the sunset date to January 1, 2020, for the  
          Inyo County pilot program to designate combined-use roadways  
          segments to connect OHV facilities.  Specifically, this bill:


          1)Declares the legislative intent to develop additional and  
            better data to evaluate whether a combined-use highway is  
            workable and to ensure no General Fund moneys are expended on  
            the pilot program.  


          2)Extends the sunset for the authorized Inyo County pilot  
            program for the designation of combined use highway segments  
            to connect OHV trails and facilities from January 1, 2017, to  
            January 1, 2020.


          3)Requires that an evaluation of the pilot program by Inyo  
            County, in consultation with the Department of California  








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            Highway Patrol (CHP), the California Department of  
            Transportation (Caltrans), and the California Department of  
            Parks and Recreation (Parks), be submitted to the Legislature  
            by January 1, 2019.  


          4)Prohibits a combined-use highway road segment designated under  
            the pilot program from exceeding 10 miles in length.


          5)Allows two or more combined-use highway road segments to share  
            a common starting point or ending point and partially overlap  
            as long as the resulting network does not include more than  
            three distinct locations of shared starting or ending points.   



          EXISTING LAW:   


          1)Generally prohibits a vehicle registered as an OHV from being  
            operated on public streets, except if the use is to cross a  
            highway, under specific circumstances; when the highway is  
            closed for snow; or when the highway is designated for  
            combined use.



          2)Allows a local authority, a federal government agency, or the  
            Parks Director, for highways under their respective  
            jurisdiction, to designate a highway segment for combined use  
            of OHVs and regular traffic.  The combined-use highway segment  
            cannot be longer than three miles long and must meet one the  
            following criteria:



             a)   Provide a connecting link between OHV trails segments;









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             b)   Link an OHV recreational use area and necessary service  
               facilities; or

             c)   Connect lodging facilities with an OHV recreational  
               facility.



          1)Prohibits a freeway from being designated for the combined use  
            of regular traffic and OHVs.



          2)Provides that, prior to designating a highway for combined  
            use, a local agency, federal agency, or the Parks Director  
            must notify the CHP Commissioner and may not designate a road  
            for combined use if the CHP believes doing so would create a  
            potential traffic safety hazard.

          3)Requires signs approved by Caltrans on designated combined-use  
            highways before the designation can become effective.



          4)Prohibits operation of an OHV on a designated combined use  
            highway without the following:  a valid license appropriate  
            for the class of vehicle being operated, proof of insurance, a  
            working spotlight, rubber tires, or after dark.  



          5)Authorizes Inyo County, until January 1, 2017, to establish a  
            pilot project to provide a unified system of trails for OHVs  
            by designating combined use highways on unincorporated county  
            roads for segments for no more than 10 miles.










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          6)Requires that the pilot project do the following:





             a)   Prescribe a procedure for the County Board of  
               Supervisors to select roads, by a majority vote, to be  
               included in the pilot project;



             b)   Establish, in cooperation with the Caltrans, uniform  
               signs, markers, and traffic control devices to control  
               OHVs;

             c)   Require OHVs subject to the pilot program to meet safety  
               requirements related to, for instance, driver licensing,  
               helmet usage, and other conditions of lawful OHV operation;



             d)   Limit speeds to no more than 35 miles per hour; and, 



             e)   Provide an opportunity for public comment at a public  
               hearing by the county to evaluate the pilot.  



          1)Requires, by January 1, 2016, Inyo County, in consultation  
            with CHP, Caltrans, and Parks, to evaluate the pilot program  
            and report its findings to the Legislature.



          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown








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          COMMENTS:  AB 628 (Conway), Chapter 532, Statutes of 2011,  
          authorized Inyo County to conduct a pilot program, through  
          January 1, 2017, to designate road segments up to 10 miles in  
          length on county roads for combined use with OHVs and motor  
          vehicle traffic.  The intent of the pilot is to link existing  
          OHV trails and trailheads, mostly on federal land, to OHV  
          recreational use areas with service and lodging facilities.   
          This would create a unified linkage of trail systems for OHV  
          users.  According the Rural County Representatives of  
          California, Inyo County has unique circumstances that warrant  
          this pilot project.  Less than 2% of its 10,000 square miles is  
          privately-owned and many of its nearly 18,000 residents use OHVs  
          as a common mode of transportation.  Further, Inyo County's  
          economy relies on tourism, the county's largest financial  
          contributor.


          In October 2012, the Adventure Trails System of the Eastern  
          Sierra applied to Inyo County to designate 38 separate  
          combined-use roadways to permit OHV traffic.  After  
          environmental review and public input, the Inyo County Board of  
          Supervisors approved a revised application and designated 7  
          combined-use routes in January 2015.  After the county took  
          action to approve the routes, the Center for Biological  
          Diversity and the Public Employees for Environmental  
          Responsibility filed a lawsuit, concerned that the county could  
          proceed with the remaining 31 routes in the future.  The lawsuit  
          was settled in May 2015, with the county agreeing to limit the  
          number of routes to the 7 approved and requiring that any  
          expansion of the program to the remaining routes would have to  
          undergo a new environmental review with public notice and  
          comment.  According to the county, to date, only 3 combined-use  
          routes have been opened.  The remaining 4 routes have been  
          delayed due to needed agreements with the Los Angeles Department  








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          of Water and Power, which owns some affected lands.  They are  
          slated to be opened this summer. 


          According to the author, Inyo County needs additional time to  
          fully implement and evaluate the OHV trail program so that they  
          might more thoroughly determine its merits.  The author contends  
          that there is not enough on-the-ground data to evaluate the pros  
          and cons of the current Adventure Trails program and that  
          without the extension provided in SB 1345, there never will be.   
            


          Despite the lack of adequate data, the county submitted a report  
          to the Legislature in December 2015 with preliminary findings  
          from the three routes that have been opened for roughly six  
          months.  The findings include:


          Safety:  The CHP and the Inyo County Sherriff's Department have  
          no reports of accidents or citations on the combined-use routes.  
           


          OHV Usage on Existing Trails:  The Bureau of Land Management  
          (BLM), which manages the affected OHV trails, has not observed  
          any changes since the combined-use routes were opened.   
          Additionally, BLM recently received grant funds to count the  
          number of OHVs on BLM- maintained roads adjacent to the  
          combined-use routes.  BLM will likely not have usable data until  
          later this year.    


          Additionally, the county found that there has been no  
          significant change to OHV incursions into areas not designated  
          for OHV use or impacts of non-motorized recreation.  


          Writing in opposition to SB 1345, the Sierra Club California  








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          states that this bill fails to address issues with the initial  
          pilot including health and safety concerns; licensing, insurance  
          and liability; noise and traffic increases in local communities;  
          air quality impacts from dust and emissions; and significant  
          impacts to natural resources.  


          Previous legislation:  AB 628 (Conway), Chapter 532, Statutes of  
          2011, authorized Inyo County to designate road segments up to 10  
          miles in length for combined use on a pilot basis.





          AB 2338 (Conway), of 2010, would have allowed Inyo County to  
          designate road segments over three miles in length for combined  
          use.  AB 2338 was vetoed by the Governor.





          








          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:




          Support









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          County of Inyo (Sponsor)


          Rural County Representatives of California




          Opposition


          Sierra Club California


          3 private citizens




          Analysis Prepared by:Melissa White / TRANS. / (916)  
          319-2093