Is This Proposed Law Really Needed?

Passed by the Assembly and pending in the Senate is legislation that asks the state Department of General Services to “consider” some additional factors in their siting of state buildings.

The four-paragraph measure, AB 324 by Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, a San Ramon Democrat,, does not “direct” or say the department “shall,” it just seeks consideration of the availability of transit areas where the building’s employees live and the location of those who would be served by the building’s offices.

Specifically, the bill reads:

“Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Department of General Services, in selecting a location for the lease, lease with the option to purchase, construction or purchase of a state building in excess of 10,000 square feet, shall consider all of the following factors:

“The location of the community or population served by the state building.

“The residential location of the workforce to be housed in the building. Priority may be given to the areas that can demonstrate the highest reduction of miles traveled by its workforce. (Emphasis added.)

“The availability and proximity of high-quality and frequent transit service, including regularly operated bus lines, that are operational at the time a state agency occupies the building.”

Sponsor of the bill is the City of Elk Grove, the second largest city in Sacramento County. Elk Grove, which Buchanan represents, apparently wants a state office building located there.

“One out of every 10 Elk Grove residents is a state government employee that travels 30.4 minutes to work or more, depending on traffic congestion. This travel creates 90,836,875 annual commute vehicle miles traveled which contributes to poor air quality in the region,” the city wrote in defense of its bill.

Buchanan says her measure is needed because the department doesn’t factor into its decision-making the location of the people who will work in a new state building.

Actually, that already appears to be part of the department’s decision-making.

Among the various statutes and mandates the department must comply with in selecting a state building location is Executive Order D-46-01, penned by then Gov. Gray Davis, which says the department should follow “smart growth” practices.

The order reads in part:

“This policy is designed to support sound growth patterns in California’s cities and towns, by using existing state-owned assets, reducing costs to the state and its taxpayers in leases and operating expenses, ensuring accessibility to state services and facilities for both customers and employees, reducing traffic congestion, and improving air quality.?

Davis then orders the department “to give priority to the needs of public entities and the populations they serve consistent with the cost-effective use of state revenues.”

Additionally, the order directs the department to site buildings close to public transit and affordable and available housing.

And the department is further instructed to confer with local officials and their staff about any incentives the local government might offer to have the state locate a building there.

All these required actions appear to accomplish the stated goals of Buchanan’s permissive measure which passed the 80-member Assembly on a 49 to 22 vote .





No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment