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SB-69 North Coast Railroad Authority: right-of-way: Great Redwood Trail Agency: Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District. (2021-2022)

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Date Published: 12/08/2020 09:00 PM
SB69:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 69


Introduced by Senator McGuire

December 08, 2020


An act to add Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 93030) to Title 12 of the Government Code, to add Chapter 14 (commencing with Section 5880) to Division 5 of the Public Resources Code, and to amend Sections 105001, 105003, and 105032 of, to add Section 105088 to, and to repeal Section 105180 of, the Public Utilities Code, relating to transportation.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 69, as introduced, McGuire. North Coast Railroad Authority: right-of-way: Great Redwood Trail Agency: Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District.
Existing law creates the North Coast Railroad Authority with various powers and duties relating to rail service in the north coast area of the state, including the authority to acquire, own, operate, and lease real and personal property reasonably related to the operation and maintenance of railroads, and the planned transfer of all of the authority’s assets, and the authority’s dissolution.
Existing law creates, within the Counties of Sonoma and Marin, the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District, which is governed by a 12-member board of directors, with specified duties and powers. Existing law requires the district to work with specified authorities, including the North Coast Railroad Authority, to achieve a safe, efficient, and compatible system of passenger and freight rail service and authorizes the district to, among other things, provide a rail transit system for the provision of freight service by rail and own, operate, manage, and maintain a passenger rail system within the territory of the district.
This bill would require the authority, or a successor agency, to convey and transfer all of its rights, interests, privileges, and title, lien free, relating to the southern portion of a specified right-of-way to the district, as provided.
This bill would give the board of governors of the district the duty and power to, among other things, own, operate, manage, and maintain a freight rail system within the district and fix rates, rentals, charges, and classifications of freight service operated by the district. The bill would also give the board of governors of the district the duty and power to consider potential alternatives to help address the housing needs of current and future employees. The bill would repeal the requirement that the district obtain coverage for itself and its employees under certain federal laws.
This bill would require the district to create and maintain a bicycle and pedestrian pathway that begins at the county line separating the Counties of Mendocino and Sonoma at or near mile post 89, runs in, or parallel to, the southern portion of the right-of-way, as appropriate, and connects to the district’s bicycle and pedestrian pathway to the extent feasible if certain conditions are met, and would authorize the district to partner and contract with trail agencies, as provided.
On or before July 1, 2022, this bill would rename the North Coast Railroad Authority the Great Redwood Trail Agency. The bill would provide for the appointment of the agency’s board of directors, as specified. On or before July 1, 2022, the bill would require the authority to convey and transfer all of its rights, interests, privileges, and responsibilities relating to the northern portion of the right-of-way to the agency, as provided. The bill would, to the extent funding is available, require the agency to, among other things, (1) inventory any parcel, easement, or contract related to the northern portion of the right-of-way, (2) complete an environmental assessment of the conditions of the northern portion of the right-of-way, (3) plan, design, construct, operate, and maintain a trail in, or next to, the northern portion of the right-of-way, and (4) complete a federal railbanking process for the northern portion of the right-of-way. The bill would also give the agency certain enumerated rights and powers, including, among other things, the right and power to fix and collect fees, make grants, acquire interests in real property, and enter into contracts and joint powers agreements.
This bill would create the Great Redwood Trail Program Fund, and would require certain moneys to be deposited into the fund and to be available, upon appropriation by the Legislature, for certain purposes.
By imposing new requirements on local entities, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

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


SECTION 1.

 Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 93030) is added to Title 12 of the Government Code, to read:
CHAPTER  4. Transfer of Rights, Privileges, and Title

93030.
 (a) The authority or a successor agency shall convey and transfer all of its rights, interests, privileges, and title, lien free, relating to its rail right-of-way south of the county line separating the Counties of Mendocino and Sonoma at or near mile post 89, including any associated real property, rail easements, branch or spur lines, leases, contracts, licenses and certificates of public convenience and necessity, common carrier obligations held by the authority or a successor agency, or an associated freight operator, and railroad assets the authority or a successor agency owns to the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District, created pursuant to Section 105010 of the Public Utilities Code.
(b) The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District shall retain and maintain, in perpetuity, all common carrier rights and obligations received from the authority or a successor agency.

93031.
 (a) On or before July 1, 2022, the authority shall transfer all of its rights, interests, privileges, and responsibilities relating to its right-of-way north of the county line separating the Counties of Mendocino and Sonoma at or near mile post 89, including any associated real property, rail easements, branch or spur lines, leases, contracts, licenses and certificates of public convenience and necessity, common carrier obligations held by the authority, or an associated freight operator, and railroad assets the authority owns to its successor agency, the Great Redwood Trail Agency established pursuant to Chapter 14 (commencing with Section 5880) of Division 5 of the Public Resources Code.
(b) The transfers made pursuant to subdivision (a) shall not affect or negate any rights under Memorandum of Agreement 1991-2324, which was filed on January 31, 1991, with the county clerk-recorder’s office for the County of Humboldt.

93032.
 In making the transfers pursuant to Sections 93030 and 93031, and upon a majority of the Great Redwood Trail Agency’s board of directors being appointed pursuant to Section 5882 of the Public Resources Code, the authority shall have no rights, privileges, and responsibilities relating to any right-of-way.

93033.
 Upon making the transfers pursuant to Section 93030 and 93031, and a majority of the Great Redwood Trail Agency’s board of directors being appointed pursuant to Section 5882 of the Public Resources Code, the authority’s board of directors shall dissolve.

SEC. 2.

 Chapter 14 (commencing with Section 5880) is added to Division 5 of the Public Resources Code, to read:
CHAPTER  14. Great Redwood Trail Agency

5880.
 (a) On or before July 1, 2022, the North Coast Railroad Authority shall be renamed the Great Redwood Trail Agency. If a majority of the agency’s board of directors are not appointed on or before July 1, 2022, the North Coast Railroad Authority’s board of directors shall oversee the agency’s operations under this chapter until a majority of the agency’s board of directors are appointed.
(b) (1) The goal of this chapter is for the agency to use the existing right-of-way, or paths parallel to the right-of-way, to plan, design, construct, operate, and maintain the northern portion of the Great Redwood Trail in, or parallel to, the right-of-way.
(2) The agency shall assume, own, and manage all aspects of the rail operations from the North Coast Railroad Authority north of the county line separating the Counties of Mendocino and Sonoma at or near mile post 89, including, but not limited to, the common carrier license, and rail easements, licenses, and contracts.

5881.
 As used in this chapter, unless the context requires otherwise, the following definitions apply:
(a) “Agency” means the Great Redwood Trail Agency.
(b) “Board” means the agency’s board of directors described in Section 5882.
(c) “Northern portion of the Great Redwood Trail” means the trail planned, designed, constructed, operated, and maintained in, or parallel to, the right-of-way pursuant to paragraph (4) of subdivision (a) of Section 5883.
(d) “Right-of-way” means the entire length of the right-of-way transferred to the agency pursuant to Section 93031 of the Government Code.

5882.
 (a)  The agency shall be governed by a board of directors, composed as follows:
(1) The Governor shall appoint, subject to Senate confirmation, three board members, one representing the Department of Transportation, one representing the Natural Resources Agency, and one appointed at the Governor’s discretion, who are knowledgeable about trails, parks, or rivers.
(2) The Senate Committee on Rules shall appoint one board member who is knowledgeable about trails, parks, or rivers.
(3) The Speaker of the Assembly shall appoint one board member who is knowledgeable about trails, parks, or rivers.
(b) (1) Each member of the board shall serve a term of four years.
(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), each member shall serve on the board until the member’s successor has been appointed.
(c) The board shall elect a chair from among its board members who shall serve a term of one year. The chair may serve successive terms.
(d) The initial board members shall be appointed on or before July 1, 2022.

5883.
 Upon receiving the North Coast Railroad Authority’s rights, privileges, and responsibilities, including any associated branch or spur lines, north of the county line separating the Counties of Mendocino and Sonoma at or near mile post 89, both of the following subdivisions shall apply:
(a) To the extent funding is available, the agency shall do all of the following:
(1) Initiate or complete, or initiate and complete, the federal Surface Transportation Board’s railbanking process north of the county line separating the Counties of Mendocino and Sonoma at or near mile post 89.
(2)  Inventory any parcel, easement, or contract related to the right-of-way.
(3) Complete an environmental assessment of the conditions of the right-of-way for purposes of trail development.
(4) Plan, design, construct, operate, and maintain a trail in, or parallel to, the right-of-way.
(5) Conduct a thorough community engagement process that includes landowners, trail advocates, environmental groups, and the community at large. Items to be discussed during this process include, but are not limited to, trail configurations in, and parallel to, the right-of-way, including those on public lands, connecting the Great Redwood Trail to existing trails, and rail-crossing access and fees.
(6) Honor existing trail licenses and work with local and state governments and community groups to expeditiously provide new trail license agreements that meet the goal of this chapter.
(7) Use the services of the California Conservation Corps, wherever feasible, for projects related to trails, environmental enhancements, and restoration, and other improvement projects.
(8) Use the services of conservation organizations, wherever feasible, for projects related to trails, fishing access, fish passage barrier restoration, and other environmental enhancement, restoration, and improvement projects.
(9) Prepare a master plan for the northern portion of the Great Redwood Trail, including any environmental analysis required pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (Division 13 (commencing with Section 21000)).
(10) Before January 1, 2024, and annually thereafter, submit a report to the Legislature, in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code, describing the agency’s progress towards fulfilling the requirements and goal relating to the right-of-way.
(11) Regulate public access to each segment of the right-of-way until the construction of the trail segment is completed, as determined by the agency.
(b) To the extent funding is available, the agency may do any of the following:
(1) Contract with a trail manager or organization to meet the requirements of this section.
(2) Contract with an operator to operate excursion rail service except that the service shall not interfere with or harm the northern portion of the Great Redwood Trail.
(3) Work with landowners, fishing organizations, and others to locate and provide fishing and river access along the right-of-way. In doing so, the agency shall seek to discourage and prevent trespassing on private property.

5884.
 The agency may transfer the responsibility of performing the acts described in this chapter to an appropriate state agency.

5885.
 (a) The Great Redwood Trail Program Fund is hereby created. Moneys in the fund shall accrue interest and be available, upon appropriation by the Legislature, for purposes of this chapter.
(b) All revenue, including fee revenue, received pursuant to this chapter shall be deposited in the fund.

5886.
 The agency shall have and may exercise all rights and powers, expressed or implied, necessary to carry out the purposes and intent of this chapter, including, but not limited to, all of the following:
(a) To enter into and perform all necessary contracts pursuant to Article 53.5 (commencing with Section 20815) of Chapter 1 of Part 3 of Division 2 of the Public Contract Code.
(b) To fix and collect fees for the use of any land owned or controlled, or for any service provided, by the agency.
(c) To make grants.
(d) To acquire interests in real property.
(e) To lease, rent, sell, exchange, or transfer interests in real property.
(f) To undertake or fund projects and programs implementing this chapter or relating to the northern portion of the Great Redwood Trail.
(g) To provide for the management of the right-of-way and the northern portion of the Great Redwood Trail.
(h) To apply for and accept grants, gifts, donations of money and property, subventions, rents, royalties, or other assistance from public or private sources.
(i) To recruit and coordinate volunteers and experts to conduct interpretive and recreational programs, and to assist with construction projects and the maintenance of facilities.
(j) To enter into contracts and joint powers agreements.
(k) To sue and be sued.
(l) To contract with the State Coastal Conservancy, a state agency, or another organization to staff the agency.

5887.
 The agency shall be subject to the Ralph M. Brown Act (Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 54950) of Part 1 of Division 2 of Title 5 of the Government Code) and the California Public Records Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 6250) of Division 7 of Title 1 of the Government Code).

SEC. 3.

 Section 105001 of the Public Utilities Code is amended to read:

105001.
 It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this part to provide for a unified, comprehensive institutional structure for the ownership and governance of a passenger and freight rail system within the Counties of Sonoma and Marin that shall operate in harmony with existing freight service that operates upon the same rail line and serves the Counties of Humboldt, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, and Sonoma. It is the further intent of the Legislature that the district established by this act may succeed to the powers, duties, obligations, liabilities, immunities, and exemptions of both the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit Commission and the Northwestern Pacific Railroad Authority upon their dissolution. Because there is no general law under which this district could be formed, the adoption of a special act and the formation of a special district is required. Marin, Napa, Solano, and Sonoma, and any other counties immediately adjacent to those counties.

SEC. 4.

 Section 105003 of the Public Utilities Code is amended to read:

105003.
 As used in this part, the following terms have the following meanings:
(a) “District” means the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District.
(b) “Rail transit” means the transportation of passengers and their incidental baggage by rail and provision of freight service by rail.
(c) “Rail transit works” or “rail transit facilities” means any or all real and personal property, equipment, rights rights, or interests owned or to be acquired by the district for rail transit service purposes, including ancillary bicycle and pedestrian pathways that provide connections between and access to station sites.
(d) “Board of directors,” “board,” or “directors” means the board of directors of the district.
(e) “Public agency” includes the state, and any county, city and county, city, district, or other political subdivision or public entity of, or organized under the laws of, this state, or any department, instrumentality, or agency thereof.

SEC. 5.

 Section 105032 of the Public Utilities Code is amended to read:

105032.
 It shall be the duty of the board and it shall have the power to:
(a) Own, operate, manage, and maintain a passenger and freight rail system within the territory of the district.
(b) Determine the rail transit and freight facilities, including ancillary bicycle and pedestrian pathways, to be acquired and constructed by the district, the manner of operation, and the means to finance them.
(c) Adopt an annual budget for the district that provides for the compensation of its officers and employees.
(d) Fix rates, rentals, charges, and classifications of rail transit and freight service operated by the district.
(e) Adopt an administrative code that prescribes the powers and duties of district officers, the method of appointment of district employees, and the methods, procedures, and systems for the operation and management of the district.
(f) Adopt rules and regulations governing the use of rail transit and freight facilities owned or operated by the district.
(g) Cause a postaudit of the financial transactions and records of the district to be made at least annually by a certified public accountant.
(h) Adopt rules and regulations providing for the administration of employer-employee relations.
(i) Consider potential alternatives to help address the housing needs of current and future employees.

(i)

(j) Do any and all things necessary to carry out the purposes of this part.

SEC. 6.

 Section 105088 is added to the Public Resources Code, to read:

105088.
 (a) Upon receiving the North Coast Railroad Authority’s rights, privileges, and interests relating to the authority’s rail right-of-way south of the county line separating the Counties of Mendocino and Sonoma at or near mile post 89 pursuant to Section 93030 of the Government Code, and upon receiving funding from nonlocal sources, the district shall do both of the following:
(1) Create and maintain a bicycle and pedestrian pathway that begins at the county line separating the Counties of Mendocino and Sonoma at or near mile post 89, runs in, or parallel to, the right-of-way, as appropriate, and connects to the district’s bicycle and pedestrian pathway to the extent feasible. The entire pathway shall function as the southern portion of the Great Redwood Trail.
(2) Designate a single point of contact for the Great Redwood Trail.
(b) The district may partner or contract with trail agencies, including the Great Redwood Trail Agency, on creation and maintenance of the bicycle and pedestrian pathway under the district’s jurisdiction.

SEC. 7.

 Section 105180 of the Public Utilities Code is repealed.
105180.

The district shall obtain coverage for the district and its employees under Title II of the federal Social Security Act, as amended, (42 U.S.C. Sec. 401 et seq.) and the related provisions of the Federal Contributions Act, as amended (26 U.S.C. Sec. 3101 et seq.).

SEC. 8.

 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.