On January 29, 2010, the Governor announced that California was awarded $2.344 billion of the $8 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding made available to states for high-speed intercity rail. The money is to be used as follows: (1) $2.25 billion for work that includes purchasing right-of-way, constructing track, signaling systems, stations, completing environmental reviews and engineering documents; (2) $5 million for construction of new tracks and crossovers that will improve on-time performance and ultimately allow for top speeds of 110 mph on the segment connecting the cities of Los Angeles and San Diego; (3) $23 million for building four new station tracks at San Jose Diridon Station to almost double the capacity of the station and a universal crossover between the cities of Davis and Sacramento; and $20 million in grants that will fund upgrades to the trains’ emissions control equipment. The State has been given $715 million in funds for the first portion of the system in the Central Valley. With the addition of this money and matching funds from the High-Speed Rail Bond approved by the voters in 2008, the California High-Speed Rail Authority (HSRA) will have more than $4 billion available to start construction on the first piece of the system. In a related matter, SB 1371 (Correa) was enacted to authorize letters of no prejudice for $950 million in high-speed passenger train bond funds intended for capitol improvements to intercity and commuter rail lines and urban rail systems. The Governor vetoed the following high-speed rail legislation: SB 455 (Lowenthal) which would have required the five gubernatorial appointees to the HSRA be confirmed by the Senate; SB 964 (Alquist) which would have required that the HSRA and the Employment Development Department, collaboratively prepare a labor market assessment of the workforce needs associated with the construction, operation, and maintenance of the high-speed train system; SB 965 (DeSaulnier) which would have authorized the California High-Speed Rail Authority to expend federal funds made available by the federal ARRA for high-speed rail purposes; AB 289 (Galgiani) which would have authorized the Governor, subject to on appropriation, to appoint up to six additional civil service-exempt staff for the management and administration of the HSRA, and would have required certain ARRA funds to be used for planning and engineering, and for capital costs, for the high-speed train system consistent with federal law and regulations and specified provisions of SB 965 (DeSaulnier); AB 619 (Blumenfield) which would have established procedures for firms desiring to contract with the HSRA to disclose any participation in the deportation of persons to concentration camps, prisoner of war camps, work camps, or extermination camps between January 1, 1942 and December 31, 1944; and AB 1830 (Jones) which would have encouraged the HSRA to acquire equipment manufactured in California.
Other Transportation-related legislation that was enacted included SB 88 (DeSaulnier) increasing the fee to the California firefighter license plate program and providing for the plate to be used as family heirlooms; SB 435 (Pavley) requiring motorcycles registered in the State and manufactured on and after January 1, 2011, to have a federal United States Environmental Protection Agency exhaust emission label; SB 535 (Yee) allowing certain highly fuel-efficient vehicles to travel in high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes without the required number of passengers, beginning in 2011; SB 949 (Oropeza) prohibiting local authorities from enforcing their own ordinances that regulate driving behavior already regulated by state law; SB 1004 (Huff) allowing a vehicle dealer to post copies of occupational licenses, rather than the original licenses, for the dealer and the salespersons the dealer employs; SB 1268 (Simitian) prohibiting transportation agencies from selling or disseminating personal information about persons who subscribe to electronic toll or fare payment systems; SB 1295 (Dutton) allowing the family of a deceased Purple Heart recipient or recipient of one of the nation’s highest military decorations to keep one of the special interest license plates issued to that recipient as a remembrance; SB 1320 (Hancock) providing authority to specified local transit agencies allowing them to administratively adjudicate transit violations; AB 498 (Hayashi) requiring the development of a special license plate for former prisoners of war (POWs) that does not identify the status of the plate holders as former POWs; AB 519 (Solorio) requiring towing companies to provide consumers with a Towing Fees and Access Notice and an itemized invoice of all towing and storage fees, as specified; AB 787 (Hill) revising the income eligibility level for vehicle owners requesting assistance from the Department of Consumer Affairs, Bureau of Automotive Repair and the amount a person can receive to retire their vehicle; AB 1106 (Fuentes) authorizing the California Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission to contract with small business financial development corporations to expend the Alternative and Renewable Fuels and Vehicle Technology Program; AB 1500 (Lieu) extending the sunset date from January 1, 2011 to January 1, 2015, on the law which allows certain low-emission vehicles to access HOV lanes; AB 1586 (Swanson) authorizing the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit Board of Directors to establish an office of police auditor; AB 1597 (Jones) extending, until January 1, 2016, the sunset date of the low-cost automobile insurance program; AB 1601 (Hill) permitting a court order to order a 10-year revocation of a driver’s license for a person convicted of three or more separate driving under the influence offenses; AB 1855 (Yamada) requiring the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to advise applicants for disabled placards of how to apply for disabled license plates; AB 1871 (Jones) authorizing private passenger motor vehicle owners to make their vehicle available for use by a personal vehicle sharing program without impacting the owners’ private passenger automobile insurance policy; AB 1908 (Cook) allowing the Department of Veterans Affairs to redesign the veterans organizations license plates; AB 1928 (Torlakson) clarifying that DMV shall administratively review and uphold license suspensions when a person has been found to have been driving with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.01% or more while on probation for a “driving under the influence”, or driving a commercial vehicle with a BAC of 0.04% or more; AB 1942 (Fletcher) allowing the placement of video event recorders in vehicles; AB 1944 (Fletcher) enacting separate procedures for the review of applications for disabled veterans’ license plates; AB 1952 (Niello) requiring persons under the age of 21 to complete a motorcyclist safety program prior to obtaining an instruction permit to operate a two-wheel motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, motorized scooter, motorized bicycle, moped, or bicycle with an attached motor; AB 2289 (Eng) establishing new industry operating standards and technology upgrades to the current biennial inspections of vehicle emission control equipment and systems (smog check) program; AB 2294 (Block) defining the term “pedicab” and authorizing a local entity to license and regulate the operation of pedicabs for hire; AB 2324 (John A. Perez) creating new misdemeanors and recasting fines and punishments for crimes committed in a public transit facility; AB 2461 (Emmerson) extending an amnesty program for improperly registered kit cars until June 30, 2012; AB 2471 (John A. Perez) criminalizing the sale of documents that purport to confer the driving privilege; AB 2499 (Portantino) placing home study traffic violator schools under the purview of DMV; AB 2567 (Bradford) authorizing local public agencies to use automated parking enforcement systems for street sweeping-related violations; AB 2756 (Blumenfield) defining “mobile billboard advertising displays” and allowing a local authority to regulate these displays; and AB 2768 (Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee) ensuring that specified acts that result in a license suspension for a bus driver are reported to DMV.
Vetoed Transportation legislation included SB 427 (Negrete-McLeod) which would have increased the penalty from $1,000 to $5,000 under the Automotive Repair Act for failing to repair an air bag; SB 1348 (Steinberg) which would have provided a procedure for the California Transportation Commission to adopt legislatively-mandated policy guidelines; AB 909 (Hill) which would have reduced the fine for violations involving a right turn against a red light; AB 1155 (Strickland) which would have allowed cities and counties to enforce additional traffic laws in off-street private parking facilities; AB 1760 (Blumenfield) which would have reenacted authorization, until January 1, 2014, for the Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to enter into design-sequencing contracts; AB 2059 (Calderon) which would have temporarily provided a mechanism for service of legal process on non-residents who cause injuries involving rental cars in California, up to a maximum contractual limit; AB 2147 (V. Manuel Perez) which would have added the benefit to low-income schools and use of a public participation process to the list of factors that Caltrans must consider when evaluating grant proposals for the state Safe Routes to School program; AB 2151 (Torres) which would have provided an exemption from the duty to report automobile accidents to a private insurer, and limits premium increases, if the accident occurs while a public safety officer is driving his/her personal vehicle at the request or direction of the employer, in the course of the officer’s duties; AB 2245 (Hill) which would have prohibited a vehicle from being equipped with an aftermarket horn that emits a sound greater than 110 decibels; AB 2464 (Huffman) which would have required that drivers under the age of 18 complete driver education and training prior to obtaining an instruction permit; AB 2597 (B. Berryhill) which would have prohibited motor vehicle manufacturers from taking certain actions in regard to motorsport vehicle dealers; AB 2663 which would have required the state to delay the borrowing, transfer or suspension of Highway Users Tax Account revenues until the start of the federal fiscal year for those cities that operate on the federal fiscal year; and AB 2667 (Hill) which would have required medical facilities to provide contact information to parents or other responsible parties on the no-cost or low-cost assistance that is available for the inspection and installation of child passenger restraint systems.