Legal Alerts Sep 11, 2017

Legislature May Expedite CEQA Review for Transportation Projects Connected to 2028 Olympic Games

Bill Introduced in Advance of Los Angeles Being Awarded the Games This Week

Legislature May Expedite CEQA Review for Transportation Projects Connected to 2028 Olympic Games

In a move that could have significant implications for Los Angeles’ efforts to prepare for the 2028 Olympics, California lawmakers recently introduced key legislation that would expedite California Environmental Quality Act review for transportation-related projects connected to the event.
Under Senate Bill 789 — recently introduced by Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) — any “activities or approvals” related to the construction of “transportation facilities or activities” necessary to enhance the accessibility of the Olympic games would be statutorily exempt from CEQA review so long as the lead agency considering the project determines: 1.) that the project is in furtherance of bidding, hosting, funding or carrying out the Olympic games; and 2.) the Olympic games are reasonably expected to occur within 10 years of the approval of the project.
For purposes of the bill, “transportation facilities or activities” are defined to include: 1.) new or renovated fixed guideway local transportation system projects, such as rail, busway, airport ground access, and similar projects; 2.) ancillary parking facilities that incentivize a “park once” strategy; and 3.) projects that ease access to transportation facilities.
SB 789 also provides major CEQA relief to Los Angeles’ professional sports stadium projects. For example, the bill includes an exemption for a new transit link between a light-rail stop and the proposed Los Angeles Clippers arena in the City of Inglewood. The new transit link would also connect to the NFL stadium under construction for the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers.
While SB 789 faces substantial opposition from environmental groups and recently failed to obtain enough votes to make it out of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee, Los Angeles-area agencies should continue to track the bill’s progress to determine whether potential transportation projects could fall within the scope of its proposed exemptions.
For more information about this legislation or its implications for your agency, contact the authors of this Legal Alert listed at right in the Environmental Law & Natural Resources practice group, or your BB&K attorney.
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Disclaimer: BB&K Legal Alerts are not intended as legal advice. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained herein. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this communiqué.

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