Just a few of the bills we are currently watching
AB 649 – Clean Energy Jobs Act
The Clean Energy Jobs ACT (CEJA) that embodies the recommendations of the Governor Global Warming Task Force was introduced as SB/450AB 649 in January. Executive Director Steve Hiniker has been testifying at the hearings, focusing on the transportation issues found in the bill.
The bill calls for:
- Metropolitan Planning Organization reform
Currently, major metropolitan areas must plan to meet the transportation needs for new development in the region. The existing system essentially informs communities when they must expand roads to service new development. The Clean Energy Jobs legislation changes that planning requirement to include an analysis of ways to reduce the need for roads servicing new development. The legislation also includes a requirement to develop a target for lower emissions as well as a good faith effort to implement strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation sources. These requirements will lead to better decisions on where development occurs and what kinds of transportation services will be needed for it. This legislation could lead to the development of lower cost transit options servicing new development, in turn significantly reducing the need to build and maintain new and wider highways.
- Planning grants for compact development
Communities rely on up to 20% of local property taxes to help pay for transportation costs such as road maintenance and construction. Compact development offers the opportunity to reduce those costs by locating residential properties closer to destinations such as schools, work and recreational areas. Compact development also reduces the need to drive to all destinations, thus lowering commuting costs for residents. Less driving also means lower greenhouse gas emissions as well as less time lost in traffic.
- Development of a market-based pricing model for parking
Many communities currently rely on taxpayers to subsidize automobile driving by offering parking for commuters that is below the market price. The Clean Energy Jobs legislation calls for a model ordinance to be developed in order to help communities remove this subsidy from the property tax and have users pay the full cost of parking.
The bill also creates new renewable fuel standards, lifts Wisconsin’s ban on nuclear power plants and calls for new vehicle emission standards to match California’s. Under the plan, 25 percent of Wisconsin’s energy must come from renewable sources by 2025.
The package would modify the state’s moratorium on new nuclear plants if developers can come up with a plan to dispose of radioactive waste It would adopt the California car standards and mandate the use of gas with lower carbon content if a Midwest Governors Association advisory group recommends standards.
Other provisions include limits on engine idling, greenhouse gas assessments for transportation projects and more energy efficient buildings.
For a complete synopsis of this bill and all other bills click on the bill number.
AB 282 – RTAs
This bill was prepared for the Joint Legislative Council’s Special Committee on Regional Transportation Authority. This bill allows most cities, towns, villages, and counties to create regional transit authorities. Generally, the governing bodies of two or more political subdivisions may join together to jointly create an RTA by adopting identical resolutions. The bill also permits a county, under certain circumstances, to unilaterally create an RTA.
Requires the sellers of residential real property to disclose whether the property is subject to a shoreland zoning mitigation plan required by the county.
This bill allows for delaying the implementation date of the comprehensive planning statute for certain local governmental units. The “Smart Growth” Comprehensive Planning Law required local units of government to have a comprehensive plan implemented by January 1, 2010. AB 243 moves the implementation requirement date to January 1, 2012.