Governor signs AB 481 to streamline land management for High Speed Rail Authority

Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 481 by Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) into law on Aug. 26, streamlining property-management practices for the landmark high-speed rail project, according to Lowenthal’s office.
“I want our high-speed rail system to run as efficiently as possible,” said Lowenthal, chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee. “By reducing red tape and bureaucracy, we’ll save precious resources and build a better, more responsive system.”
For almost all of California’s state agencies, the Department of General Services is responsible for property management. However, in contrast to most state agencies whose property portfolio is limited, Caltrans, as the owner of the state highway system, owns thousands of parcels of property. Given their expansive responsibility, the Legislature has vested Caltrans with the ability to direct its own property-management functions, according to a press release from Lowenthal’s office.
AB 481 grants the High Speed Rail Authority similar responsibilities, enabling it to effectively manage property acquired for the project and better plan for short- and long-term needs. Under the bill, the Authority will have the ability to negotiate directly with impacted landowners, exchange or lease property, mitigate impacts and sell excess property no longer required for the project.
The High Speed Rail Authority is responsible for planning, designing, building, and operating California’s multi-billion dollar high-speed rail system. By 2029, the system will run from San Francisco to the Los Angeles Basin. In addition to the high-speed rail lines, the Authority is working with regional partners to implement a statewide rail-modernization plan that will invest billions of dollars in local and regional rail lines.

Source: Bonnie Lowenthal’s office

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