California Governor's Proposal Would Streamline Infrastructure Projects

Governor Newsom hopes his proposed changes to state laws would help speed up infrastructure projects before federal funding is put in jeopardy.

1 minute read

May 24, 2023, 12:00 PM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Dos Amigos pumping plant on the California aqueduct in Los Banos, California

Dos Amigos pumping plant on the California aqueduct in Los Banos, California. | Sundry Photography / Dos Amigos pumping plant in Los Banos, California

California Governor Gavin Newsom plans to issue an executive order and propose a package of legislation aimed at streamlining the contracting and permitting processes for transportation, energy, water, and other infrastructure projects so the state can take full advantage of federal funding brought in by the Inflation Reduction Act and other laws.

As Liam Dillon and Hannah Wiley report in the Los Angeles Times, “Altogether, administration officials hope the package could speed up project construction by more than three years and reduce costs by hundreds of millions of dollars — efforts they say are necessary to achieve the state’s aggressive climate goals.”

Newsom’s proposal takes aim at the state’s controversial California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by attempting to limit the length of time CEQA lawsuits can take. “The proposal aims to prevent any lawsuit against certain water, transportation, clean energy, semiconductor and microelectronics projects from lasting longer than nine months.”

The plan also includes the creation of a cross-agency “infrastructure strike team” that will decide how to best target projects for completion, simpler contracting models for California’s departments of transportation and water resources, and expedited timelines for three new wildlife crossings. “The final part of Newsom’s plan would streamline Caltrans’ environmental mitigation efforts and permitting for projects that affect endangered species or are within the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.”

Friday, May 19, 2023 in Los Angeles Times

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