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SB-279 High-Speed Rail Authority: supplemental business plan.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 03/27/2019 09:00 PM
SB279:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  March 27, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 279


Introduced by Senator Galgiani

February 13, 2019


An act to amend Section 185012 of the Public Utilities add Section 2704.79 to the Streets and Highways Code, relating to high-speed rail.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 279, as amended, Galgiani. High-speed rail. High-Speed Rail Authority: supplemental business plan.
The California High-Speed Rail Act creates the High-Speed Rail Authority to develop and implement a high-speed rail system in the state, with specified powers and duties. Existing law defines certain terms in that regard. state. The Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act for the 21st Century, approved by the voters as Proposition 1A at the November 4, 2008, general election, provides for the issuance of $9 billion in general obligation bonds for high-speed rail purposes and $950 million for other related rail purposes. Existing law requires the authority to prepare, publish, adopt, and submit to the Legislature a business plan containing specified elements, by May 1, 2014, and every 2 years thereafter.
This bill would make nonsubstantive changes to these definitions. require the authority to develop and adopt a supplemental business plan for the estimated cost of completing the section of the high-speed rail system located between the City of Merced and the northern end of the initial operating segment in the County of Madera on or before February 1, 2020, and submit the supplemental business plan to the Director of Finance, a specified peer review group, and certain legislative committees.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NOYES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) In 2008, California voters approved the Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act for the 21st Century (Proposition 1A) which among other things, made $9 billion available for a high-speed rail system.
(2) Since the enactment of the federal Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (PRIIA) (Public Law 110-432), the federal government made funding available for high-speed rail projects under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) (Public Law 111-5) and the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010 (Public Law 111-117). The High-Speed Rail Authority (HSRA) was awarded $3.7 billion by the federal government to advance the development of a high-speed rail system in California as follows:
(A) In January 2010, the federal Department of Transportation announced the four corridors in California that were eligible to receive an award of up to $1.656 billion in federal ARRA funding. The federal government directed an additional $400 million in ARRA funds toward construction of the San Francisco Transbay Terminal. Funding was to be made available for preliminary engineering, project-level environmental work, mitigation, final design, and construction for the following corridors that were approved by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA):
(i) San Francisco to San Jose.
(ii) Merced to Fresno.
(iii) Fresno to Bakersfield.
(iv) Los Angeles to Anaheim.
(B) In October 2010, California received an additional $715 million in federal funding from the FRA under the High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program (HSIPR).
(C) In December 2010, California was awarded $616 million in federal ARRA re-allocation funding from the states of Wisconsin and Ohio.
(D) In May 2011, California was awarded $300 million in federal HSIPR re-allocation funding from the state of Florida.
(3) Initial federal funding made available under ARRA and the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010, was to be matched with Proposition 1A bond proceeds to initiate construction in one of the following initially approved corridors:
(A) San Francisco to San Jose.
(B) Merced to Fresno.
(C) Fresno to Bakersfield.
(D) Los Angeles to Anaheim.
(4) The FRA worked with the HSRA to establish priorities among the four corridor programs, and to create an expenditure plan. The federal funds appropriated under ARRA had to be made available for obligation and expenditure by the following dates specified in the federal statutes implementing ARRA:
(A) Completion of environmental review by September 2011.
(B) Obligation of funds by September 2012.
(C) Completion of construction by September 2017.
(5) On November 3, 2010, the HSRA was informed by the FRA that all allocated funding, namely the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010 funding and the remaining unobligated Fiscal Year 2009 ARRA funds, had to be applied to final design and construction of one of the two central valley segments: Fresno to Bakersfield or Merced to Fresno.
(6) On November 4, 2010, the HSRA approved the selection criteria to determine the segment and corridor to which ARRA and HSIPR Fiscal Year 2010 funds would be applied. In particular, the “Independent Utility/Operational Independence” requirement associated with ARRA and the HSIPR Fiscal Year 2010 funding had to be met. The FRA allowed for permutations and combinations of best possible alignments in the Fresno to Bakersfield segment, and the Merced to Fresno segment.
(7) In May 2012, the HSRA adopted the final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement for the portion of the high-speed rail system between Merced, Madera, and Fresno, a distance of approximately 60 miles. The FRA, in September 2012, approved a record of decision for the same portion of the high-speed rail system, thereby providing the required environmental clearance to proceed to construction. In addition, in June 2013, the federal Surface Transportation Board issued a decision that board approval was not required for construction of this portion of the high-speed rail system.
(8) The Legislature appropriated state and federal funds to the HSRA for construction of the initial operating segment of the high-speed rail system between Merced to Fresno, and Fresno to Bakersfield, in Items 2665-306-0890 and 2665-306-6043 of Section 2.00 of the Budget Act of 2012, as added by Sections 8 and 9 of Chapter 152 of the Statutes of 2012. The Merced to Fresno corridor is fully contained within the initial operating segment identified by the HSRA in its Revised 2012 Business Plan, and the Budget Act of 2012, as amended by Chapter 152 of the Statutes of 2012. However, funding has yet to be expended between Madera and Merced, which is necessary to complete the Merced to Fresno corridor.
(9) Because it is impossible to construct a high-speed rail system all at one time, which necessitates a phased construction over many years, the FRA has wisely required high-speed rail construction to have independent utility, meaning that the portions constructed should be usable by passenger rail service upon completion without the need to wait until the ultimate high-speed rail service can be implemented. This requirement is consistent with Proposition 1A, which, in subdivision (f) of Section 2704.08 of the Streets and Highways Code, contemplates and approves of the use of new high-speed rail lines by passenger train services other than high-speed train services.
(10) The use of high-speed rail lines by conventional trains before the completion of a high-speed rail system is also consistent with implementation of high-speed rail service in many other countries. For example, when the Channel Tunnel was completed connecting Great Britain with the European continent, the new high-speed rail line in France was completed many years before its counterpart in Great Britain, but the public enjoyed immediate service improvements, even though trains initially used the slower existing conventional line on the British side. Elsewhere, new high-speed sections have been integrated from time to time into the conventional train line network, resulting in continuous service upgrades. Even in Spain, where a new high-speed rail system was built with a different track gauge from the existing rail system, trains on several routes have the capability to use both the new and existing lines until construction of the new high-speed rail lines are completed.
(11) By extending high-speed rail construction further to the north, from the vicinity of Madera to Merced, it becomes possible to quickly implement additional interim, conventional passenger train service that uses a combination of existing tracks and new high-speed rail line. In addition to the Amtrak San Joaquin service operating between the San Francisco Bay area and Sacramento as far as Bakersfield, it is also possible to visualize extending the Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) service, currently operated by the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission between Stockton and San Jose, to Modesto and Merced. ACE has been allocated $400 million in funding from Senate Bill 1 (Chapter 5 of the Statutes of 2017), the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, to extend ACE from San Joaquin County to Modesto and Merced.
(12) In turn, ACE service connects at Santa Clara with the Caltrain corridor between San Jose and San Francisco. The Caltrain corridor has been allocated high-speed rail funding by the Legislature to implement a blended system accommodating both commuter trains and future high-speed trains.
(13) Operation of interim passenger rail services using a combination of existing tracks and new high-speed rail lines, while not of the same utility as the ultimate high-speed service, can nonetheless provide useful services to the traveling public without the need to wait for completion of the ultimate high-speed rail system. Closing the gaps between the existing passenger rail services and the newly constructed high-speed rail lines will demonstrate to the public that high-speed rail is not only a long-term project for the future, but will also provide more immediate benefits.
(b) Accordingly, it is the intent of the Legislature to instruct the HSRA to proceed immediately with the construction of the Madera to Merced portion of the high-speed rail system in addition to high-speed rail work that is currently underway.

SEC. 2.

 Section 2704.79 is added to the Streets and Highways Code, to read:

2704.79.
 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) The Merced to Fresno segment meets the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) (Public Law 111-5), grant funding requirements of “independent utility” and “operational independence.” In the Merced to Fresno segment, Amtrak’s San Joaquin service would offer operational independence by connecting the new infrastructure to the existing BNSF Railway Company’s network, on which the San Joaquin service presently operates.
(2) The Merced to Fresno segment has full environmental clearance at the state and federal levels and does not require any further regulatory approvals of the federal Surface Transportation Board.
(3) The Legislature appropriated state and federal funds to the High-Speed Rail Authority for construction of the initial operating segment of the high-speed rail system between Merced to Fresno, and Fresno to Bakersfield, in Items 2665-306-0890 and 2665-306-6043 of Section 2.00 of the Budget Act of 2012, as added by Sections 8 and 9 of Chapter 152 of the Statutes of 2012.
(4) The Merced to Fresno segment is fully contained within the initial operating segment identified by the High-Speed Rail Authority in its revised 2012 Business Plan, and the Budget Act of 2012. However, funding has yet to be expended on construction of the high-speed rail system located between Madera and Merced, a distance of approximately 30 miles which would complete the Merced to Fresno segment.
(5) As described in its Business Plan of 2018, the High-Speed Rail Authority will access approximately nine hundred twenty-nine million dollars ($929,000,000) of federal Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010 funding, which has already been obligated in the central valley from the Federal Trust Fund through an agreement with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), and approximately three hundred sixty million dollars ($360,000,000) in matching state funds that have already been appropriated by the Legislature from funds made available by Proposition 1A and the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund Investment Plan and Communities Revitalization Act (Chapter 4.1 (commencing with Section 39710) of Part 2 of Division 26 of the Health and Safety Code).
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature, by enacting this section, to enable the construction of the Merced to Fresno high-speed rail section identified in the Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act for the 21st Century (Chapter 20 (commencing with Section 2704)) (Proposition 1A) to be completed, consistent with the High-Speed Rail Authority’s application to the FRA for grant funding from ARRA, grant funding from the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010 (Public Law 111-117), and the FRA’s record of decision under the National Environmental Protection Act, issued September 18, 2012.
(c) The High-Speed Rail Authority shall do both of the following:
(1) Develop a supplemental business plan that includes a detailed funding plan consistent with the requirements set forth in Chapter 20 (commencing with Section 2704), for the estimated cost of completing the section of the high-speed rail system from the City of Merced to the northern end of the initial operating segment in the County of Madera.
(2) Adopt the supplemental business plan on or before February 1, 2020, and submit the supplemental business plan to the Director of Finance, the peer review group established pursuant to Section 185035 of the Public Utilities Code, the policy committees of the Legislature with jurisdiction over transportation matters, and the fiscal committees of the Legislature.

SECTION 1.Section 185012 of the Public Utilities Code is amended to read:
185012.

As used in this division, unless the context requires otherwise, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

(a)“Authority” means the High-Speed Rail Authority.

(b)“Department” means the Department of Transportation.

(c)“High-speed rail” means intercity passenger rail service that uses an alignment and technology that makes it capable of sustained speeds of 200 miles per hour or greater.