Capping National Infrastructure Week, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a raft of bills aimed at streamlining infrastructure projects across sectors. He also signed an executive order tasking agencies with accelerating clean energy projects.
One of the trailer bills would expedite court reviews to avoid delays brought by environmental lawsuits. The administration’s description of the upcoming bill strikes a similar tone to one by Republican Sen. Brian Dahle of Bieber, who also proposed limiting reviews to nine months. But Dahle’s measure gained Sierra Club opposition and Senate Democratic leaders quietly killed it on Thursday.
Another bill among the 11 in Newsom’s package would streamline permitting. The governor last year tasked Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot with overseeing this effort on seven Prop. 1 water projects. The governor said the Sites Reservoir Project specifically will benefit from the new actions.
In a press conference, Newsom said the coming building boom will eclipse that of the ‘50s and ‘60s—a time when the state built its largest dams. He added that the high-speed rail project could have benefited from his actions. Newsom also promised the effort will trim the processing time for broadband projects from 33 months down to just six.
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Remember: Newsom has preferred trailer bills rather than the standard policy committee process for controversial legislation, such as the card check bill he signed on May 15. Newsom reasoned that “delays become denials” and “people want to see results,” since trailer bills allow for immediate action.
Despite fast tracking the bills, he stressed that he still supports environmental groups. Yet one of those groups, Restore the Delta, immediately blasted the actions as gutting environmental review for the Delta tunnel.
Applause: The Sites Project Authority, the Association of California Water Agencies and State Water Contractors (SWC) cheered the news. “California needs to stop talking and start building,” said SWC General Manager Jennifer Pierre.
Keep in mind: According to an economic development report released Thursday, transportation and water represent more than 90% of the identified funding needed to meet California’s demand for infrastructure projects.