As mentioned in the housing section, one of the most important pieces of legislation signed into law was SB 375 (Steinberg). The new law, a compromise between the building industry, environmental groups, and local governments, provides a mechanism for reducing greenhouse gases from the single largest section of emissions -- cars and light trucks. It requires metropolitan planning organizations to include sustainable communities strategies, as defined, in their regional transportation plans for the purpose of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, aligns planning for transportation and housing, and creates specified incentives for the implementation of the strategies.
Another major piece of legislation to be signed into law was AB 1252 (Caballero) which appropriated $237 million of the Proposition 1C Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund Act of 2006 and Proposition 1B Highway Safety, Traffic Reduction, and Air Quality and the Port Security Bond act of 2006, to address affordable transportation and housing infrastructure.
One other major piece of legislation in transportation signed into law was AB 3034 (Galgiani) which revised, updated, and expanded upon provisions of the existing High Speed Rail Bond Act of the 21st Century. In 2002, SB 1856 (Costa) enacted the High Speed Rail Bond Act (Bond Act) providing for $9.95 billion in general obligation bonds for construction of the 800-mile statewide intercity high-speed passenger train system. This new speed train network is designed to serve the major population centers in the state and link regional and local transit systems to form an integrated transportation network throughout California. The Bond Act was originally to be placed on the 2002 November ballot, however, it was delayed twice since 2002, and was rescheduled for the November 2008 General Election. In 2008, AB 3034 was introduced to make changes to the Bond Act because the law, since its enactment, contained outdated and obsolete language. The Governor’s 2008-09 Budget also sought modifications to the Bond Act to ensure that appropriated financing was available to begin building the project. The provisions of AB 3034 as introduced were developed in cooperation with the Governor’s administration to facilitate the future development and effective implementation of the project. However, in July, Senator Roy Ashburn had some major problems with provisions of the bill. He had SB 298 amended to have the project postponed until 2010. He felt that there was not enough accountability and oversight with the project. SB 298 was heard in the Assembly Transportation Committee on 8/4/08 and was defeated. Two days later, an agreement was reached between Senator Ashburn and the legislative leadership. The final version of AB 3034 provided for the following compromise language: (1) requiring the High Speed Rail Authority to provide a complete detailed business plan for voters to review at least 60 days prior to the November election, (2) specifying the “spinal” train route from San Francisco to Los Angeles and Anaheim, (3) providing that environmental permits must be in place before construction on any segment of the project may proceed, and (4) establishing a new peer review group to review planning, engineering, and funding other key elements of the Authority’s plans. The legislation did not change the original bond amount of $9.5 billion. With the passage of AB 3034, Proposition 1 which had appeared on the November 2008 ballot as the High Speed Rail Bond, and which contained the old provisions of SB 1856, was removed from the ballot and replaced with Proposition 1A which contained the new provisions of AB 3034, and renamed the old Act the Safe, Reliable High Speed Passenger Train Bond Act. Proposition 1A was approved by the voters by a 52% yes to 47.8% no vote.
Other transportation legislation of note chaptered into law included: SB 28 (Simitian), banning the use of text messaging devices by drivers; SB 53 (Ducheny) requiring the California Research Bureau to study the consolidation of various rail functions currently performed by several state entities; SB 286 (Lowenthal) facilitating contractors with the California Conservation Corps for transportation enhancement projects; SB 593 (Margett) prohibiting Caltrans, until 1/1/14, from withholding retention proceeds to its contractors when making progress payments for work performed on any transportation project; SB 911 (Wiggins) extending the sunset date to 2013 on provisions of law regulating commercial balloon operators; SB 1190 (Oropeza) heightening consideration of installation of an ignition interlock device for a first-time drunk driver offender with a blood alcohol of 0.15%; SB 1388 (Torlakson) transferring the responsibility for mandating the installation of an ignition interlock device from the court to the Department of Motor Vehicles; SB 1455 (Cogdill) allowing the Department of Veterans Affairs to sponsor a Gold Star Family specialized license plate; SB 1509 (Lowenthal) enacting new misdemeanor assault and battery crimes applicable where the victim is a Caltrans employee or contractor; SB 1561 (Steinberg) allowing Sacramento and Fresno transit agencies to issue prohibition orders denying passengers committing specified illegal behavior entry onto transit vehicles and facilities; SB 1567 (Oropeza) allowing Global Positioning System (GPS) devices to be mounted on vehicle window shields; SB 1613 (Margett) allowing Caltrans to enter into contracts not exceeding $25,000 for the leasing or renting of operated heavy highway equipment for state highway maintenance purposes without going out to bid; SB 1720 (Lowenthal) enhancing the law to crack down on fraudulent Clean Air stickers; AB 268 (Assembly Budget Committee) enacting the 2008-09 transportation budget trailer bill; AB 619 (Emmerson) establishing an amnesty program that allows the owner of a specially built vehicle (kit car) to avoid criminal prosecution by properly registering the vehicle; AB 660 (Galgiani) modifying the railroad-highway grade separation program; AB 1209 (Karnette) allowing owners of Clean Air stickered hybrid vehicles that are nonrepairable or a total loss salvage vehicle to be issued new Clean Air stickers for any qualifying replacement hybrid vehicle they may buy; AB 1358 (Leno) enacting the California Complete Streets Act; AB 2042 (Fuentes) allowing vehicles being sold by unlicensed dealers to be impounded; AB 2241 (Saldana) allowing the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to impose an additional service fee of $50 to issue a 30-day permit when a smog certificate is still outstanding after the registration expiration date; AB 2319 (Horton) requiring the DMV to establish, by 1/1/11, a renewal-by-mail or renewal through its Internet website program for identification cards; AB 2522 (Arambula) allowing the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District to increase the motor vehicle registration surcharge to up to $30 per vehicle per year to generate funds to assist the San Joaquin Valley in meeting state and federal air quality standards by the earliest practicable date; AB 2650 (Carter) extending the sunset date waiving the state’s Eleventh Amendment right to sovereign immunity from a lawsuit filed under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to allow Caltrans to continue its assumption of NEPA responsibilities; AB 2802 (Houston) requiring those convicted more than once for any alcohol-related driving violation to attend alcohol treatment classes; and AB 3005 (Jones) requiring cities and counties to set lower traffic impact mitigation fees for specified transit-oriented housing developments unless the city or county makes a specified funding.
Vetoed transportation legislation of note included the following: SB 60 (Cedillo) requiring the DMV to issue driver’s licenses that are compliant with the federal Real ID Act within a specified timeframe; SB 974 (Lowenthal) imposing a fee on container cargo imported and exported through the ports of Long Beach, Los Angeles, and Oakland, as specified; SB 1174 (Lowenthal) directing the California Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission to convene a Quiet Motorized Road Vehicle and Safe Mobility Committee to investigate strategies to increase pedestrian safety around electric and other quiet vehicles; SB 1361 (Correa) allowing a driving under the influence offender to get a restricted license sooner if an ignition interlock device is installed and specified fees paid; SB 1394 (Lowenthal) refining the circumstances under which a physician is required to report a patient who has suffered a lapse of consciousness to the DMV for a reexamination; SB 1549 (Florez) requiring the Department of Motor Vehicles to evaluate its programs that provide special license plates for historical vehicles and to report its findings to the Governor and Legislature; SB 1731 (Yee) allowing a $1 vehicle registration fee surcharge in the Bay Area to fund congestion mitigation activities; AB 842 (Jones) reducing vehicle miles traveled through regional transportation plans and Proposition 1C programs; AB 860 (Salas) extending, until 2018, the $1 surcharge on vehicle registrations that funds vehicle theft programs; AB 996 (Spitzer) facilitating the collection of parking fines, traffic fines, and toll violations accrued by persons whose home addresses are afforded enhanced confidentiality by the DMV; AB 1221 (Ma) allowing local officials to divest property tax increment revenues to pay for public facilities and amenities within transit village development districts; AB 1407 (Lieu) requiring airports serving over one million passengers annually to publish on their website information about airport and airline operations; AB 2139 (De La Torre) preventing an auto liability insurance policy from excluding coverage for the purpose of using the vehicle to perform in-home supportive services; AB 2233 (Maze) prohibiting a person from driving a motor vehicle while holding a live animal in their arms or lap; AB 2295 (Arambula) providing that state and local road rehabilitation projects are eligible for transportation capital improvement funds, pursuant to the State Transportation Improvement Program process; AB 2617 (Duvall) requiring Caltrans and local agencies to post signs along high-occupancy vehicle lanes indicating motorcycles are permitted; AB 2669 (Krekorian) making it a 2-point violation if a driver is convicted of driving 26 miles per hour over the maximum prima facie, or posted speed limit, except on a freeway; AB 2825 (Carter) allowing a customer to receive copies of invoices from the distributor, dealer, or manufacturer for all crash parts installed for which the customer is charged in excess of $50; AB 2971 (DeSaulnier) directing Caltrans to consider bicyclist and pedestrian safety when it develops its safety programs; and AB 3021 (Nava) creating the California Transportation Financing Authority to provide for increased building of new capacity or improvements for the state transportation system through the issuance of revenue bonds.
Also, there has been an allocation of $3.3 billion for transportation projects from the Proposition 1B of 2006 transportation bond funds in 2008 calendar year.