Beall's Proposal to Save Time and Money on Mass Transit Construction Becomes Law

October 09, 2015

SACRAMENTO – Mass transit rail projects with the potential to greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions will be completed faster and save more taxpayer dollars under legislation introduced by Senator Jim Beall and signed today by the Governor.

“California’s big innovative mass transit projects, such as the BART extension to San Jose, will have less red tape to deal with and be able to shave years off their completion dates because of SB 9,’’ said Beall, chairman of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee. “This bill will get these projects off the drawing boards and make them a reality faster so we can get more cars off the roads.’’

Senate Bill 9 authorizes multi-year grant funding under the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program for qualifying commuter and urban rail projects that reduce greenhouse gases.
 
The guaranteed multi-year funding provides a new level of financial certainty for long-term projects, allowing them to submit engineering and planning studies for the entire undertaking just once while applying for state funding. The guaranteed funding eliminates the repetitive practice of seeking funding in stages as well as submitting planning studies for each phase of construction.

The bill also allows projects to advance with local funding that is reimbursed when state dollars become available, a routine procedure used at the federal level and by other states.

The bill was supported by numerous organizations, including the  Orange County Transportation Authority; San Diego MTS, Bay Area Rapid Transit; the Silicon Valley Leadership Group; the Transportation Agency for Monterey County; and the LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency, which oversees the coastal rail line between San Diego, Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo.

Senate Bill 9 passed through the legislature with bipartisan support. Only one dissenting vote was cast against it during its final floors votes before the Assembly and the Senate. The bill becomes effective on Jan. 1.