California Legislation AB 1905: The Road to Construction without Environmental Roadblocks
Proposed Assembly Bill (“AB”) 1905 by Assemblyman Tim Grayson aims to make it harder for lawsuits filed under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) to stop construction of roads and public transit. This legislation is specifically aimed at the road or transit projects that are included in state-approved regional growth plans. These projects have already faced scrutiny from state climate regulators, and according to Assemblyman Grayson, these projects shouldn’t face multiple threats of environmental litigation.
Regional governments have been drawing up plans to accommodate population growth and reduce greenhouse gases since 2008. To accomplish these goals, the plans focus on new housing and transportation in already developed areas. The problem is that actual growth does not always follow the plan. Individual projects may be stalled and environmental litigation is a large reason for these stalls. Under Assemblyman Grayson’s bill, any road, transit, or other transportation project included in an approved regional climate plan would receive relief in potential CEQA lawsuits.
This bill would preclude courts from stopping construction if the required CEQA analysis failed to account for all effects on the environment. Under the bill, a court could only stop construction if the project was found to have serious life or safety risks. This standard has already been adopted in various projects, including the Sacramento Kings basketball arena.
Evidence that the bill will have the desired effect, i.e. speeding up road and transit permitting, it has been attracting opposition from several environmental groups.
Introduced on January 22, 2018, AB 1905 will need to undergo multiple legislative reviews before it may be enacted. But this could be a step toward speeding up construction that may help reduce impacts of high traffic congestion all around California.
Full article from the L.A. Times HERE.