An extension to Assemblymember Kristin Olsen’s (R-Modesto) 2012 legislation to streamline the process for roadway improvement projects in rural California counties was recently signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown after receiving the full support of the Senate.
The primary purpose of the extension through AB 323 is to streamline the process for cities and counties to make minor, and potentially vital roadway safety improvements, potentially saving time and money.
“Oftentimes, small communities come across minor or emergency roadway repairs that need to be made quickly,” said Olsen. “California has four times as many traffic fatalities on rural non-interstate roads compared to all other roads. To delay or halt repairs on those roads is to put public safety at risk.”
The legislation mirrors a bill signed into law in 2012, AB 890, which was set to expire on January 1, 2016, exempting projects from the California Environmental Quality Act so long as the purpose of that project, meeting certain requirements, was to repair, maintain, or make minor alterations to an existing roadway, as defined, if the project or activity is carried out by a city or county to improve public safety.
“AB 323 will give those communities the green light to make the repairs necessary to keep their roads accessible and safe,” said Olsen.
The Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) is an outside group that has 34 member counties, and has expressed strong support for the legislation.
“AB 323 will streamline the process for roadway improvement projects in California’s rural counties, ensuring a more cost effective and efficient process for improving public safety and meeting specific requirements,” said Justin Caporusso, RCRC’s Director of Public Affairs.
The legislation will take effect January 1, 2016.