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AB-1260 California Environmental Quality Act: exemptions: transportation-related projects.(2021-2022)



Current Version: 07/06/21 - Amended Senate         Compare Versions information image


AB1260:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  July 06, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1260


Introduced by Assembly Member Chen

February 19, 2021


An act to amend Section 21080.25 of the Public Resources Code, relating to environmental quality.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1260, as amended, Chen. California Environmental Quality Act: exemptions: transportation-related projects.
The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires a lead agency, as defined, to prepare, or cause to be prepared, and certify the completion of an environmental impact report on a project that it proposes to carry out or approve that may have a significant effect on the environment or to adopt a negative declaration if it finds that the project will not have that effect. CEQA also requires a lead agency to prepare a mitigated negative declaration for a project that may have a significant effect on the environment if revisions in the project would avoid or mitigate that effect and there is no substantial evidence that the project, as revised, would have a significant effect on the environment.
CEQA includes exemptions from its environmental review requirements for numerous categories of projects, including, among others, projects for the institution or increase of passenger or commuter services on rail or highway rights-of-way already in use and projects by a public transit agency to construct or maintain infrastructure to charge or refuel zero-emission transit buses.
This will bill would further exempt from the requirements of CEQA projects by a public transit agency to construct or maintain infrastructure to charge or refuel zero-emission trains. trains, provided certain requirements are met, including giving prior notice to the public and holding a noticed public meeting, as provided.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 21080.25 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

21080.25.
 (a) For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:
(1) “Affordable housing” means any of the following:
(A) Housing that is subject to a recorded covenant, ordinance, or law that restricts rents or sales prices to levels affordable, as defined in Section 50052.5 or 50053 of the Health and Safety Code, to persons and families of moderate, lower, or very low income, as defined in Section 50079.5, 50093, or 50105 of the Health and Safety Code, respectively.
(B) Housing that is subject to any form of rent or price control through a public entity’s valid exercise of its police power.
(C) Housing that had been occupied by tenants within five years from the date of approval of the development agreement by a primary tenant who was low income and did not leave voluntarily.
(2)  “Highway” means a way or place of whatever nature, publicly maintained and open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel. “Highway” includes a street.
(3)  “New automobile capacity” means any new lane mileage of any kind other than sidewalks or bike lanes.
(4)  “Project labor agreement” has the same meaning as defined in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 2500 of the Public Contract Code.
(5)  “Skilled and trained workforce” has the same meaning as provided in Chapter 2.9 (commencing with Section 2600) of Part 1 of Division 2 of the Public Contract Code.
(6) “Transit lanes” means street design elements that delineate space within the roadbed as exclusive to transit use, either full or part time.
(7) “Transit prioritization projects” means any of the following transit project types on highways:
(A) Signal coordination.
(B) Signal timing modifications.
(C) Signal phasing modifications.
(D) The installation of wayside technology and onboard technology.
(E) The installation of ramp meters.
(F) The installation of dedicated transit or very high occupancy vehicle lanes, and shared turning lanes.
(8) “Very high occupancy vehicle” means a vehicle with six or more occupants.
(b) This division does not apply to any of the following projects:
(1) Pedestrian and bicycle facilities, including new facilities. For purposes of this paragraph, “bicycle facilities” include, but are not limited to, bicycle parking, bicycle sharing facilities, and bikeways as defined in Section 890.4 of the Streets and Highways Code.
(2) Projects that improve customer information and wayfinding for transit riders, bicyclists, or pedestrians.
(3) Transit prioritization projects.
(4) On highways with existing public transit service or that will be implementing public transit service within six months of the conversion, a project for the designation and conversion of general purpose lanes or highway shoulders to bus-only lanes, for use either during peak congestion hours or all day.
(5) A project for the institution or increase of new bus rapid transit, bus, or light rail service, including the construction of stations, on existing public rights-of-way or existing highway rights-of-way, whether or not the right-of-way is in use for public mass transit.
(6) A project to construct or maintain infrastructure to charge or refuel zero-emission transit buses, provided the project is carried out by a public transit agency that is subject to, and in compliance with, the State Air Resources Board’s Innovative Clean Transit regulations (Article 4.3 (commencing with Section 2023) of Chapter 1 of Division 3 of Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations) and the project is located on property owned by the transit agency or within an existing public right-of-way.
(7) A project to construct or maintain infrastructure to charge or refuel zero-emission trains, provided the that all of the following are met:
(A) The project is carried out by a public transit agency and the agency.
(B) The project is located on property owned by a transit agency or within an existing public right-of-way.
(C) Notice of the project is given to the public at least 45 days before the public transit agency takes an action, either discretionary or nondiscretionary, on the project in all of the following ways:
(i) Publication by the public transit agency in a newspaper of general circulation in the area affected by the project. If more than one area will be affected, the notice shall be published in the newspaper of largest circulation from among the newspapers of general circulation in those areas.
(ii) Posting of notice by the public transit agency onsite and offsite in the area where the project is to be located.
(iii) Direct mailing or door hangers to the owners and occupants of contiguous property shown on the latest equalized assessment roll.
(iv) Direct mailing or door hangers to the owners and occupants of property within one-fourth of one mile of any parcel or parcels on which the project is located.
(D) At least 30 days before the public transit agency takes an action, either discretionary or nondiscretionary, on the project, the public transit agency provides for a noticed public meeting on the project. The public transit agency shall take into account any concerns that are discussed at the meeting.
(8) The maintenance, repair, relocation, replacement, or removal of any utility infrastructure associated with a project identified in paragraphs (1) to (7), inclusive.
(9) A project that consists exclusively of a combination of any of the components of a project identified in paragraphs (1) to (8), inclusive.
(10) A project carried out by a city or county to reduce minimum parking requirements.
(c) Except as provided in subdivision (e), a project exempt from this division under this section shall meet all of the following criteria:
(1) A public agency is carrying out the project and is the lead agency for the project.
(2) The project is located in an urbanized area.
(3) The project is located on or within an existing public right-of-way.
(4) The project shall not add physical infrastructure that increases new automobile capacity on existing rights-of-way except for minor modifications needed for the efficient and safe movement of transit vehicles, such as extended merging lanes. The project shall not include the addition of any auxiliary lanes.
(5) The construction of the project shall not require the demolition of affordable housing units.
(6) For a project exceeding one hundred million dollars ($100,000,000) in 2020 United States dollars, a project exempt from this division under this section shall also meet all of the following:
(A) The project is incorporated in a regional transportation plan, sustainable communities strategy, general plan, or other plan that has undergone a programmatic-level environmental review pursuant to this division within 10 years of the approval of the project.
(B) The project’s construction impacts are fully mitigated consistent with applicable law.
(C) (i) The lead agency shall complete and consider the results of a project business case and a racial equity analysis. The Office of Planning and Research may set standards for the project business case and the racial equity analysis or delegate that authority to metropolitan planning organizations.
(ii) The project business case required under this subparagraph shall set forth the rationale for why the project should be implemented to solve a problem or address an opportunity, outline strategic goals and objectives of the project, evaluate other options to achieve the project’s objectives, describe the economic costs and benefits of the project, describe the financial implications of the project, and establish what is required to deliver and operate the project.
(iii) The racial equity analysis required under this subparagraph shall identify the racial equity impacts of the project, identify who will benefit from and be burdened by the project, and, where significant or disproportionate impacts exist, suggest strategies, designs, or actions to mitigate those impacts.
(D) The lead agency shall hold noticed public meetings as follows:
(i) Before determining that a project is exempt pursuant to this section, the lead agency shall hold at least three noticed public meetings in the project area to hear and respond to public comments.
(ii) At least one of the three public meetings shall review the project business case and the racial equity analysis. The review of these documents does not inhibit or preclude application of this section.
(iii) The lead agency shall conduct at least two noticed public meetings annually during project construction for the public to provide comments.
(iv) The public meetings held pursuant to clauses (i) to (iii), inclusive, shall be in the form of either a public community planning meeting held in the project area or in the form of a regularly scheduled meeting of the governing body of the lead agency.
(E) The lead agency shall give public notice of the meetings in subparagraph (D) to the last known name and address of all the organizations and individuals that have previously requested notice and shall also give the general public notice using at least one of the following procedures:
(i) Publication of the notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the area affected by the project. If more than one area will be affected, the notice shall be published in the newspaper of largest circulation from among the newspapers of general circulation in those areas.
(ii) Posting of the notice onsite and offsite in the area where the project is located.
(iii) Posting of the notice on the lead agency’s internet website and social media accounts.
(d) (1) Except as provided in subdivision (e), in addition to the requirements of subdivision (c), before granting an exemption under this section, the lead agency shall certify that the project will be completed by a skilled and trained workforce.
(2) (A) Except as provided in subparagraph (B), for a project that is exempted under this section, the lead agency shall not enter into a construction contract with any entity unless the entity provides to the lead agency an enforceable commitment that the entity and its subcontractors at every tier will use a skilled and trained workforce to perform all work on the project or a contract that falls within an apprenticeship occupation in the building and construction trades in accordance with Chapter 2.9 (commencing with Section 2600) of Part 1 of Division 2 of the Public Contract Code.
(B) Subparagraph (A) does not apply if any of the following requirements are met:
(i) The lead agency has entered into a project labor agreement that will bind all contractors and subcontractors performing work on the project or the lead agency has contracted to use a skilled and trained workforce and the entity has agreed to be bound by that project labor agreement.
(ii) The project or contract is being performed under the extension or renewal of a project labor agreement that was entered into by the lead agency before January 1, 2021.
(iii) The lead agency has entered into a project labor agreement that will bind the lead agency and all its subcontractors at every tier performing the project or the lead agency has contracted to use a skilled and trained workforce.
(e) Subdivisions (c) and (d) do not apply to a project described in paragraph (10) of subdivision (b).
(f) If the lead agency determines that a project is not subject to this division pursuant to this section, and the lead agency determines to carry out that project, the lead agency shall file a notice of exemption with the Office of Planning and Research and the county clerk of the county in which the project is located in the manner specified in subdivisions (b) and (c) of Section 21152.
(g) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2023, and as of that date is repealed.