SACRAMENTO – Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) Director Sam Assefa today issued the following statement after Governor Gavin Newsom signed the infrastructure streamlining package on July 10 as part of the 2023-24 state budget:
“As we work to build a California for All, we applaud Governor Newsom and legislative leaders for this year’s budget which makes critical investments in community-serving infrastructure despite the challenging budget environment we face today. The Governor’s infrastructure permitting and project review reforms enacted several days ago will help us achieve key goals, including creating good-paying jobs, accelerating the transition to a clean economy, building a more climate resilient California, and helping us leverage millions of dollars in federal funding. We look forward to supporting our partners in building more, faster and equitably.”
Among the highlights of the 2023-24 state budget:
- Speeds Up Construction: Current construction procurement processes drive delays and increase project costs. The legislation includes methods to offer a streamlined process for project delivery to reduce project timeframes and costs.
- Expedites Court Review: Legal challenges often tie up projects even after they’ve successfully gone through environmental review. This legislation speeds up judicial review to avoid long delays and advance projects without reducing the environmental and government transparency benefits of CEQA.
- Streamlines Permitting: Makes changes to California law to accelerate permitting for certain projects, reducing delays and project costs.
- Addresses Cumbersome CEQA Processes: Streamlines procedures around document collection and assembly in litigation after projects have already been approved.
- Maximizes Federal Dollars: Establishes a Green Bank Financing Program within the Climate Catalyst Fund so that the state can leverage federal dollars for climate projects that cut pollution, with an emphasis on projects that benefit low-income and disadvantaged communities.