Thursday, 13 June 2024

Governor vetoes two Wiggins bills

SACRAMENTO – Late last week Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed two bills authored by Sen. Patricia Wiggins (D-Santa Rosa).

The first bill, Senate Bill 735, would have required Caltrans (and all entities contracting with Caltrans) to track the type, amount and percentage, city, county, Caltrans district and completion date of the project in which of recycled and/or virgin materials were used for sub-base, base and lean concrete base for all highway and street construction and repair projects.

Caltrans would also be required to submit that information in a report to the Legislature every two years beginning on April 1, 2010.

A state auditor’s report in 2006 determined that although Caltrans is encouraging the use of recycled materials in its highway projects, its collection of data is scant with regard to the department’s recycling and solid waste diversions efforts.

Aggregate is used by Caltrans and other builders of roadways to provide a solid foundation for asphalt and other paving materials and to bear the weight of millions of cars and trucks. Recycled aggregate base (RAB) is produced by crushing concrete, and sometimes asphalt, to reclaim the aggregate.

This past June, the California Integrated Waste Management Board released a waste characterization study of construction and demolition material in four major metropolitan areas of California. That study found that the largest recoverable category of disposed material was recyclable aggregates, which made up about 27 percent of disposed construction and demolition material.

“While I appreciate the fact that Gov. Schwarzenegger has been supportive of much of my legislation to date, I am nevertheless disappointed that he chose to veto SB 735,” Wiggins said. “The use of recycled aggregates saves contractors the expense of landfill fees, decreases disposal costs, and extends diminishing natural aggregate resources, and my bill would have helped promote the use of recycled materials while reducing landfill waste.”

The second bill, Senate Bill 861 would have enabled the North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA) to reallocate $5.5 million in reserves toward other purposes, including environmental cleanup and remediation as well as the establishment of “quiet zones” in the city of Novato and additional locations.

Specifically, SB 861 would have allowed the NCRA to utilize the $5.5 million, previously reserved for repayment of a loan which has since been forgiven, for environmental cleanup ($3.5 million), administrative expenses related to environmental remediation and remediation of hazardous and dangerous conditions along the NCRA right-of-way ($1 million) and to establish “quiet zones” and associated upgraded rail-highway crossings in the City of Novato and other locations ($1 million).

“It is critical to restore freight and passenger rail service on the North Coast, which would serve as a major boost for the regional economy, lessen the burden of traffic on Highway 101, and provide new opportunities for the Port of Humboldt Bay,” Wiggins said. “I am disappointed that the Governor opted to veto SB 861, which would have enabled the NCRA to continue its progress.”

The governor has signed six of Wiggins' bills so far. Six of her bills are still on his desk, and he must make a decision to veto or sign them by midnight, Oct. 14.


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