Asm. Joaquin Arambula (D–Fresno) has hit a roadblock in his attempt to reform the Fresno County Transportation Committee.
Arambula’s bill saw its consideration before the Assembly Committee on Local Government postponed on Tuesday.
The backstory: In February, Arambula introduced Assembly Bill 558 to the Assembly, which would add four new members to the board of the Fresno County Transportation Authority (FCTA) by appointment.
- The new members would be appointed in an effort to diversify the board, and the bill states that the board would be transformed to have more “inclusive agendas” and focus on restorative environmental justice and climate policy.
The big picture: On Monday, however, the Assembly Committee on Local Government postponed AB 558, handing Arambula an early loss on the bill.
- The committee has not revealed when, or if, it will hold a hearing on Arambula’s bill.
- AB 558 was not on the agenda for Wednesday’s committee hearing nor the hearing scheduled for May 3.
What we’re watching: The FCTA is the organization responsible for drafting Measure C, Fresno County’s half-cent sales tax that has funded transportation projects throughout the county since 1986.
- Last year’s effort to extend Measure C for 30 years was denied by the voters, yet another attempt could be placed on the ballot next year.
- With Arambula’s bill in legislative limbo, the FCTA could move forward with business as usual without adding the proposed four unelected members to its body.
What they’re saying: The decision by the committee to postpone the bill’s hearing came after Tony Boren, the Executive Director of the Fresno Council of Governments, penned a letter to Arambula and the Assembly Committee on Local Government Chair Asm. Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D–Winters) in opposition.
- Boren argued that the FCTA already does a good job representing the region, negating the need for additional members.
- “These proposed changes rest on the assumption that these additional members are necessary because the constitution of the existing Board does not adequately represent people in underserved communities,” Boren wrote. “Fresno COG strongly disagrees with this perspective… Fresno COG believes that adding an additional four unelected positions to the FCTA Board would decrease the responsibility, accountability and influence of the duly elected officials who are accountable to the voters.”