Today's Law As Amended

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SB-1408 State Route 37 Toll Bridge Act.(2019-2020)

As Amends the Law Today


 Chapter 4.1 (commencing with Section 30925) is added to Division 17 of the Streets and Highways Code, to read:

CHAPTER  4.1. State Route 37 Toll Bridge Act
Article  1. General Provisions
 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) State Route 37 serves as a vital connection between the Counties of Marin, Napa, Sonoma, and Solano, providing an indispensable link between the North Bay and the rest of the state. State Route 37 is the northernmost nonmountainous east-west link between United States Highway 101 and Interstate 5 in the state, and serves as a recovery route for the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge in the event of an emergency closure.
(2) Traffic congestion on State Route 37 is degrading the quality of life for those living and commuting along the corridor, and shows no signs of abating. Average annual daily trips are projected to increase from 45,000 in 2013 to 58,000 by 2040.
(3) State Route 37 is protected by a complex system of interconnected levees, which makes the corridor vulnerable to sea level rise inundation and flooding now and in the future. Flooding in 2017 forced full or partial closures of a westbound segment of State Route 37 in the County of Marin for a total of 27 days, and recurring inundation in 2019 resulted in closures for another 8 days.
(4) Adaptive action is needed to ensure State Route 37 remains a viable transportation artery. According to a University of California, Davis project entitled, “Adaptive Planning for Transportation Corridors Threatened by Sea Level Rise,” without action, all segments of State Route 37 could be exposed to storm surge flooding from a 5- to 10-year coastal storm event by 2050, and by 2100 sea level rise is likely to render State Route 37 completely impassable.
(5) State Route 37 runs through an ecologically rich area that provides habitat for nine special status species, is a principal stop for migratory birds on the Pacific Flyway, and includes many acres of wetlands and baylands. There are numerous environmental benefits conjunctive to addressing the segment of State Route 37 between State Route 121 and Mare Island.
(6) The Bay Area Toll Authority, District 4 of the Department of Transportation, the Sonoma County Transportation Authority, the Solano Transportation Authority, the Transportation Authority of Marin, and the Napa Valley Transportation Authority entered into a memorandum of understanding in February 2019 to cooperatively determine mutual responsibilities in delivering the State Route 37 Resilient Corridor Program.
(7) This act will improve the resiliency of transportation infrastructure from sea level rise, flooding, and traffic congestion, and increase opportunities for ecological enhancements, transit, multimodal use, and public access along the State Route 37 corridor.
(8) Tolling a portion of the State Route 37 corridor for a limited number of years is necessary to provide the resources, including leveraging state and federal funding, required to help realize the above-mentioned improvements and enable work to begin in a timely manner.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature that this chapter authorize the imposition of tolls only for so long as is necessary to achieve the chapter’s goals.
 This chapter shall be known, and may be cited, as the State Route 37 Toll Bridge Act.
 For purposes of this chapter, the following definitions apply:
(a) “Act” means the State Route 37 Toll Bridge Act.
(b) “Authority” means ____.
(c) “Bonds” means any bonds, notes, variable rate and variable maturity securities, and any other evidence of indebtedness issued pursuant to this chapter.
(d) “Corridor” means a segment of State Route 37, including the toll bridge, from the State Route 37 interchange with Route 121 to Walnut Avenue at Mare Island, and related facilities.
(e) “Department” means the Department of Transportation.
(f) “Improvements” means those improvements described in subdivision (a) of Section 30926.1.
(g) “Toll bridge revenue bonds” means bonds issued pursuant to Article 3 (commencing with Section 30927).
(h) “Toll bridge” means the Sonoma Creek Bridge, together with necessary approaches. The approaches to the bridge shall include, but not be limited to, from immediately east of the State Route 37 intersection with Route 121 in the County of Sonoma to immediately west of the State Route 37 intersection with Walnut Avenue in the County of Solano.
Article  2. Powers and Duties
 The authority, on behalf of the state, shall operate and maintain tolling infrastructure, including by installing toll facilities, and charge and collect tolls for the use of the toll bridge, and shall be responsible for the design and construction of improvements on the toll bridge and corridor in accordance with programming and scheduling requirements adopted by the authority. This chapter does not limit the authority or responsibility of the state, including the Department of Transportation, to maintain State Route 37.
 Revenues from the toll bridge, and any related toll bridge revenue bonds, may be used for any of the following purposes:
(a) Near-term and long-term improvements to the corridor and toll bridge to improve the roadway’s mobility, safety, and long-term resiliency to sea level rise and flooding.
(b) Payments pursuant to bonds and resolutions, indentures, and other constituent instruments defining the rights of the bondholders and any repayment or reimbursement obligations of the authority to any providers of bond insurance or letters of credit or lines of credit related to bonds.
(c) Costs incurred by the authority pursuant to this chapter for its operations, toll collection, and administration.
(d) Reimbursement to federal, state, and local agencies for costs incurred by those agencies for services provided for purposes of this chapter that are reimbursable pursuant to a written agreement between the authority and the respective agency.
(e) Costs for capital improvements to repair or rehabilitate the toll bridge, to expand toll bridge or corridor capacity, to improve toll bridge or corridor operations, to reduce the demand for travel in the corridor, or to increase public transit and nonmotorized options on the toll bridge or in the corridor.
(f) Other costs incurred pursuant to this chapter.
 The authority shall be reimbursed for administrative costs in an amount that shall not exceed 3 percent of toll bridge revenues.
 The authority shall have, and may exercise, all rights and powers, expressed or implied, that are necessary to carry out the purposes and intent of this chapter, including the power to do all of the following:
(a) Consult with counties, cities, towns, and other agencies and political subdivisions of this state regarding plans and projects authorized by this chapter.
(b) Acquire by dedication, gift, purchase, or eminent domain, and hold and dispose of any interests in property whether real or personal in the exercise of its powers and the performance of its duties under this chapter.
(c) Establish and enforce policies, rules, and regulations for the administration, operation, and maintenance of the toll bridge and corridor.
(d) Do all acts necessary and convenient for the full exercise of the powers granted pursuant to this chapter.
 (a) The authority shall update and approve an expenditure plan for the revenues of the toll bridge, and any related toll bridge revenue bonds, on an annual basis beginning on July 1 following implementation of a toll.
(b) The authority shall approve the initial and annual expenditure plan at a public meeting held by the authority following a notice of at least 30 days to the public.
(c) The authority shall arrange for a postaudit of the revenues expended pursuant to this chapter to be made at least annually by a certified public accountant.
 The authority shall consult with, and consider recommendations from, the Sonoma County Transportation Authority, Solano Transportation Authority, Napa Valley Transportation Authority, and Transportation Authority of Marin regarding plans and projects authorized by this chapter.
Article  3. Revenue Bonds
 (a) The authority may issue bonds payable from the revenues derived from the tolls imposed on the toll bridge.
(b) The authority may pledge all or any part of the revenues of the toll bridge to secure bonds and any repayment or reimbursement obligations of the authority to any provider of bond insurance or letter of credit or line of credit facility determined to be appropriate by the authority to provide for the payment of debt service on any authority bonds issued pursuant to this chapter.
(c) The state hereby pledges to, and agrees with, the holders of the toll bridge revenue bonds that the state will not limit, alter, or restrict the rights hereby vested in the authority to fulfill each pledge of revenues and any other terms of any agreement made with or for the benefit of the bondholders or in any way impair the rights or remedies of the bondholders or the providers of bond insurance or letter of credit or line of credit facilities.
(d) Nothing in this chapter shall be deemed to pledge the full faith and credit of the State of California.
(e) Any toll bridge revenue bond shall contain on its face a statement to the following effect: “Neither the full faith and credit nor the taxing power of the State of California is pledged to the payment of principal of, or the interest of this bond.”
(f) The authority shall include the pledges made pursuant to this section in its revenue bonds.
 The toll bridge revenue bonds are legal investments for all trust funds, the funds of all insurance companies, banks, trust companies, executors, administrators, trustees, and other fiduciaries. The toll bridge revenue bonds are securities that may legally be deposited with, and received by, any state or municipal officer or agency or political subdivision of the state for any purpose for which the deposit of bonds or obligation of the state is now, or may hereafter be, authorized by law, including deposits to secure public funds.
 (a) Except as provided in subdivision (d), toll bridge revenue bonds shall be issued in accordance with the Revenue Bond Law of 1941 (Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 54300) of Part 1 of Division 2 of Title 5 of the Government Code).
(b) The authority shall constitute a “local agency” within the meaning of Section 54307 of the Government Code.
(c) The operation of the toll bridge shall constitute an “enterprise” within the meaning of Section 54309 of the Government Code.
(d)  Article 3 (commencing with Section 54380) of Chapter 6 of Part 1 of Division 2 of Title 5 of the Government Code shall not apply to the issuance and sale of toll bridge revenue bonds.
 (a) The authority may issue toll bridge revenue bonds pursuant to a resolution it adopts by a majority vote of its governing board.
(b) A resolution to issue toll bridge revenue bonds shall specify all of the following:
(1) The purposes for which the bonds are to be issued.
(2) The maximum principal amount of the bonds.
(3) The maximum term for the bonds.
(4) The maximum rate of interest to be payable on the bonds. That interest rate shall not exceed the maximum rate specified in Section 53531 of the Government Code. The rate may be either fixed or variable and shall be payable at the times and in the manner specified in the resolution.
(c) Before issuing any new or increased toll bridge revenue bonds, the authority shall conduct at least one public meeting following at least 30 days’ notice to the public at which public testimony shall be taken regarding the proposed bond issuance.
 (a) The revenues from the tolls on the toll bridge shall be subject to a statutory lien in favor of the bondholders to secure all amounts due on the bonds and in favor of any provider of credit enhancement for the bonds to secure all amounts due to the provider with respect to those bonds. The lien shall immediately attach to the toll revenues and be effective, binding, and enforceable against the authority, its successors, creditors, and all others asserting the rights therein, irrespective of whether those parties have notice of the lien and without the need for any physical delivery, recordation, filing, or further act. The toll revenues shall remain subject to the lien until all bonds are paid in full or provisions are made therefor. Consistent with Section 30928, the toll bridge shall not become a free public bridge until that time.
(b) The liens on toll revenues created by this chapter shall be subject to expenditures for operation and maintenance of the toll bridge, including toll collection, and the corridor, unless those expenditures are otherwise provided for by statute.
Article  4. Toll Rates
 (a) The authority shall establish and maintain the toll rates at amounts sufficient to generate revenue sufficient to meet the requirements of this chapter, including any obligations to the holders of the toll bridge revenue bonds.
(b) At least 30 days before setting the initial toll rates for the toll bridge, and thereafter when a revision to the toll rates is proposed, the authority shall do both of the following:
(1) Provide a public comment period regarding the proposed toll rates.
(2) Take public testimony at one or more public meetings.
(c) Collection of tolls shall cease following repayment of any toll bridge revenue bonds and other costs in full unless an extension of the time for toll collection is approved by a two-thirds vote of the authority at a public meeting following a notice of at least 30 days to the public.
 Within two years following the imposition of the initial toll rates and at least biennially thereafter, the authority shall review the adequacy of the toll rates to cover costs incurred pursuant to this chapter, including for improvements.
 (a) The authority’s toll rates may include discounts and premiums to reduce congestion and the emissions of greenhouse gases, including, without limitation, discounts for high-occupancy vehicles, electronic toll collection, and off-peak travel, and premiums for on-peak travel.
(b) The authority may vary the toll rate applicable to a vehicle operated on the bridge for the carriage of passengers by any municipal or public corporation, transit district, public utility district, political subdivision, or transportation company operating under a certificate of public convenience and necessity. The authority shall consult with the affected operators before adopting any toll rate pursuant to this subdivision.
 The authority’s toll structure may include adjustments to toll rates to reflect economic factors, including, but not limited to, the Consumer Price Index or other cost indices.
 (a) The authority shall develop and implement an equity program for the toll bridge to reduce the impact of a toll imposed pursuant to this chapter on low-income drivers.
(b) The authority shall develop and implement the equity program in consultation with the Sonoma County Transportation Authority, Solano Transportation Authority, Napa Valley Transportation Authority, and Transportation Authority of Marin, and shall consider comments from those entities.
SEC. 2.
 The Legislature finds and declares that a special statute is necessary and that a general statute cannot be made applicable within the meaning of Section 16 of Article IV of the California Constitution because sea level rise and flooding uniquely threaten State Route 37 and the Sonoma Creek Bridge.
SEC. 3.
 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because a local agency or school district has the authority to levy service charges, fees, or assessments sufficient to pay for the program or level of service mandated by this act, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code.