CEQA–Exemption: Schwarzenegger’s Bargaining Chip

Gov. Schwarzenegger wants the California Environmental Quality Act- a requirement for major transportation projects- waived if he is to sign the $18 billion Democratic package that balances the budget and is crafted to circumvent Republican approval.

"The Republican governor last week rejected an $18 billion Democratic plan that would have partially solved the state's anticipated $40 billion shortfall through June 2010." [See "Governor vows to veto lawmakers' budget"]

On Dec. 17, the California Pooled Money Investment Board stopped all state construction projects funded by bonds because the state may soon run out of cash.

"Schwarzenegger says that if he is to approve new taxes – something just two years ago he said he would never do – then he must also relax regulations" so as to make these projects qualify as 'shovel-ready' for the Obama stimulus plan.

"It's come down to three key issues that pit business interests against labor unions and environmentalists:
• rollback of environmental review for construction projects,
• greater use of private investment and contractors,
• and deeper spending cuts, including those affecting the state work force.

While Democrats exempted eight projects from California Environmental Quality Act review, their bill requires Caltrans to conduct its own environmental assessments in those cases. Schwarzenegger said those assessments leave projects at risk for CEQA-like lawsuits and do nothing to expedite construction."

Thanks to Roundup

Full Story: Governor presses to expedite transportation projects

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