This week, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a slate of bills to accelerate critical infrastructure projects across California that upgrade the electric grid, ensure safe drinking water and improve the state’s water supply, and modernize the transportation system.
The legislation culminates an urgent push by Governor Newsom to take full advantage of an unprecedented $180 billion in state, local, and federal infrastructure funds over the next 10 years — critical to achieving California’s ambitious climate and clean energy goals and underpinning future economic growth in the state.
California Chamber of Commerce Jennifer Barrera said in a statement that the infrastructure package is an important step forward in helping California achieve the state’s ambitious climate goals.
“This legislation will help reduce litigation and unnecessary delays in much of California’s infrastructure development,” she said.
By streamlining permitting, cutting red tape, and allowing state agencies to use new modern project delivery methods, the legislation will accelerate timelines of projects and reduce unnecessary and wasteful bureaucratic activity and litigation, while ensuring appropriate environmental review and community engagement.
Governor Newsom also signed components of the 2023–24 state budget agreement, which includes $37.8 billion in total budgetary reserves, and no general tax increases.
The bills the Governor signed on July 10:
- Speed Construction: Current construction procurement processes drive delays and increase project costs. The legislation includes methods to offer a streamlined process for project delivery to reduce project timeframes and costs.
- Expedite Court Review: Legal challenges often tie up projects even after they’ve successfully gone through environmental review. The legislation speeds up judicial review to avoid long delays and advance projects without reducing the environmental and government transparency benefits of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
- Streamline Permitting: Make changes to California law to accelerate permitting for certain projects, reducing delays and project costs.
- Address Cumbersome CEQA Processes: Streamline procedures around document collection and assembly in litigation after projects have already been approved.
- Maximize Federal Dollars: Establish a Green Bank Financing Program within the Climate Catalyst Fund so that the state can leverage federal dollars for climate projects that cut pollution, with an emphasis on projects that benefit low-income and disadvantaged communities.
The infrastructure package bills are SB 145 (Newman; D-Fullerton), SB 146 (Gonzalez; D-Long Beach), SB 147 (Ashby; D-Sacramento), SB 149 (Caballero; D-Merced), SB 150 (Durazo; D-Los Angeles).
Also signed was AB 102 (Ting; D-San Francisco), the budget trailer bill that includes funding to re-start the Industrial Welfare Commission, which updates and adopts regulations on wages, hours of work and other workplace conditions.