Assembly Appropriations Committee Puts SB 517 On Ice
Today the Assembly Appropriations Committee heard a number of bills sent to them by the State Senate, including Senator Alan Lowenthal’s SB 517. The bill is Lowenthal’s attack on the HSR project, and would fire the current California High Speed Rail Authority board while replacing it with a board that would likely be less supportive of the project. Earlier today I indicated that Governor Jerry Brown’s recent appointments to the CHSRA board meant it was very unlikely that he would sign SB 517 if it reached his desk.
SB 517 probably won’t even get that far. The bill was “held” by the Assembly Appropriations Committee today, a move that, as Sacramento observers note, essentially kills it.
The committee’s analysis hadn’t been favorable to the bill and warned “The abrupt elimination of the entire board, and replacement with all new appointees could disrupt the project and cause delays.” That, combined with Sen. Lowenthal’s prominent record of opposition to this project and Gov. Brown’s recent statements of support for HSR (and his recent appointments) combined to convince the Assembly that blowing up the board was not a wise move.
The Assembly had previously approved Assemblymember Cathleen Galgiani’s compromise bill, AB 145. Presumably that bill is the most likely one to move forward of the proposals to change the way the CHSRA operates.