Sacramento - After considerable discussion at the capitol today, the state assembly passed Senate Bill 1, a bill that would enable cities and counties in California to finance regional smart growth plans and sustainable transportation improvements through the creation of Sustainable Communities Investment Authorities.
Passed in late May by the Senate, the legislation was crafted by Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and was a second attempt at generating legislation that works to create infill rather than sprawling development throughout the state. Last year, Governor Brown vetoed Senate Bill 1156, essentially an earlier version of the same legislation.
If signed into law by the Governor, Senate Bill 1, known as the Sustainable Communities Investment Authority Bill, would allow communities to have local control over transit oriented development. According to a fact sheet by LAANE, an organization promoting equitable development and green jobs, the legislation would generate an atmosphere where "the places we live, work, and play can be sustainably built for all, both environmentally and economically..."
An excerpt from the bill:
"The bill would establish prequalification requirements for entities that will receive more than $1,000,000 from the Sustainable Communities Investment Authority and would require the Department of Industrial Relations to monitor and enforce compliance with prevailing wage requirements for specified projects within a Sustainable Communities Investment Area. The bill would deposit moneys received by the department from developer charges related to the costs of monitoring and enforcement in the State Public Works Enforcement Fund."
The legislation also creates financing to meet climate change and greenhouse gas emission reductions in connection to Senate Bill 375, which was passed in California in 2008. SB 375 laid the foundation to generate strategies for growth in cities like Sacramento and Los Angeles that are based on the idea of "smart growth." The legislation generated requirements for these "sustainable communities strategies," and, according to a Natural Resource Defense Council's report on the implementation of the legislation, the Sacramento area helped generate the blueprint for the legislation. According to the report:
"Southern California and Sacramento have created plans that meet the greenhouse gas reduction goals of SB 375, while delivering important co-benefits, such as saving residents and local governments money, and encouraging the creation of communities that can improve public health."
The report goes on to point out the importance of this type of legislation. "Local governments need local economic development tools and it is fitting that Senator Steinberg should focus his efforts on updating and modernizing redevelopment to meet the needs of the 21st Century."
The next step will be for the Governor to sign the legislation into law. While the Governor's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment, according to one blog the Governor's office refuses to comment until the bill reaches his desk.