What They’re Saying: Governor Newsom’s Proposals to Build More, Faster

SACRAMENTO – Last month, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the state’s most ambitious permitting and project review reforms in a half-century to build California’s clean energy future while creating thousands of good jobs. Now, the proposals are gaining steam with leaders across the state echoing their support as the Governor seeks to get them passed as part of the May Revision of the state budget.

“With California set to invest $180 billion on infrastructure projects over the next 10 years, thousands of good-paying union jobs are on the line,” said Joel Barton, California Association of Electrical Workers. “The Governor’s proposals will maximize historic federal funding while delivering projects that generate clean electricity, boost water supply and rebuild our roads. Infrastructure, climate action and good jobs go hand in hand – we’re eager to see these proposals passed.”

“LiUNA supports Governor Newsom’s efforts unequivocally,” said Oscar De La Torre, Business Manager, Northern CA District Council of Laborers. “Improving infrastructure project delivery in California will help us knock down roadblocks and better prepare for the future while also creating and sustaining hundreds of thousands of good paying union construction careers.”

“With record federal and state infrastructure funding on the table, we’re on the precipice of a building boom that will create hundreds of thousands good jobs while achieving California’s ambitious climate goals,” said Tim Cremins, Director of California-Nevada Conference of Operating Engineers. “But this progress can’t happen unless our state passes the reforms Governor Newsom is proposing. The International Union of Operating Engineers stands in strong support of the Governor’s infrastructure agenda. It’s what we need to build more, faster.”

“California needs to build a staggering amount of transmission and clean energy projects over the next decade to support our electricity needs and meet the state’s climate goals. To succeed, the state must expedite the deployment of energy infrastructure projects that will ensure our grid can deliver fully decarbonized power reliably and affordably,” said Alex Breckel, Director of Clean Energy Infrastructure Deployment, Clean Air Task Force. “Bold policies included in Governor Newsom’s infrastructure package—specifically the Infrastructure Strike Team, CEQA judicial streamlining for clean energy, and green bank financing—will help keep California on track toward building a clean energy future.”

“California’s existing infrastructure is ill-equipped to meet the needs of today, let alone the challenges of tomorrow. Governor Newsom is placing this debate front and center by introducing a comprehensive package to help ensure that California is ready and adaptable for future generations,” said Lance Hastings, President and CEO of the California Manufacturers & Technology Association (CMTA). “While the physical infrastructure of water, roads, broadband and energy are priorities, let’s not forget the human infrastructure of a trained workforce that fuels the manufacturing sector and economy. CMTA stands ready to engage and advance this meaningful effort.”

“Accelerating clean infrastructure projects through thoughtful reforms to environmental review and permitting processes will create living-wage jobs and economic growth in the Golden State,” said Kiana Valentine, Executive Director, Transportation California. “California has made significant progress to improve the safety and quality of our multimodal transportation system in recent years, but much more work remains. The Governor’s package of reforms will advance important projects, put people to work, and leverage federal dollars all while maintaining meaningful environmental review and community engagement.”

“ACWA applauds the Governor’s leadership in announcing actions aimed at streamlining the delivery of infrastructure projects – actions which will help ensure critical water infrastructure projects are built at the pace and scale needed to respond to the growing impacts of climate change,” said Dave Eggerton, Executive Director, Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA). “ACWA members have been on the front lines of preparing for a changing climate through continued investments in critical water infrastructure. That’s why ACWA has made permit streamlining a priority issue. Permit decisions can and must be made more efficiently, while protecting the environment.”

“To capture one-time federal funding and deliver the infrastructure of tomorrow, the state must streamline project approvals and accelerate project delivery while maintaining our hard-fought environmental leadership,” said Michael Pimentel, Executive Director of the California Transit Association. “With the release of a series of thoughtful legislative proposals, Governor Newsom has outlined a path for doing exactly that. We applaud the Governor for his commitment to pursuing common sense, progressive solutions to known challenges that have slowed the construction of infrastructure projects in California – including clean transit projects – and undermined job creation for decades. We look forward to working with Governor Newsom and the Legislature to move these proposals forward in the FY 2023-24 budget.”

“Progress toward converting the state’s biggest public ferry fleet to zero emissions will be faster thanks to reforms included in the Governor’s infrastructure package,” said Seamus Murphy, Executive Director of San Francisco Bay Ferry. “As we work with waterfront communities to expand ferry service while cutting air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, it’s imperative that we are able to set predictable timelines and accelerate permitting processes to deliver for the people of California. San Francisco Bay Ferry has earned nearly $100 million in grants to decarbonize our ferry system, and streamlined infrastructure permitting will allow us to electrify our terminals much more quickly.”

“As an agency that is in the middle of modernizing a nearly 160 year old rail corridor, we have firsthand experience of the hard work and dedication it takes to move a big infrastructure project forward,” said Michelle Bouchard, Executive Director of Caltrain. “We appreciate the Governor’s efforts to create a streamlined process for building large capital projects in the future.”

“Governor Newsom’s new proposal to build California’s clean future faster will help LA Metro reach our climate goals as quickly and efficiently as possible. We look forward to working with the Governor and Legislature to prepare the region and the State for a transformative mobility and green future,” said Stephanie Wiggins, Chief Executive Office of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro). “This is particularly important to LA Metro as we prepare to highlight the State when we host a number of global events in Los Angeles in the coming years, including the 2026 World Cup and 2028 Olympics and Paralympic Games.”

“The Bay Area Council applauds the Governor for putting this bold proposal forward and will strongly support the passage of these provisions,” said Jim Wunderman, President & CEO of the Bay Area Council. “This proposal is critical to helping meet California’s infrastructure needs for the future in water, transportation, clean energy and more. This package sets the stage for economic growth and vitality for decades to come in the Golden State.”

“California’s economy will benefit from the reforms and permit streamlining the Governor has proposed.  Infrastructure improvements and housing mean jobs and economic growth, without sacrificing California’s strong tradition of environmental protection,” said Jennifer Barrera, President and Chief Executive Officer of the California Chamber of Commerce. “We look forward to a productive partnership working together to get so many desperately needed projects over the finish line.”

“We applaud the Governor and his leadership to deliver critical infrastructure,” said Fritz Durst, Reclamation District 108, Chair, Sites Reservoir Board of Directors. “We look forward to engaging with the governor and his team as this works through the legislative process. Any efforts to speed up project construction and reduce costs by millions of dollars are more than welcome by the Sites Project Authority. We look forward to supporting the Governor’s efforts to build more critical infrastructure and create jobs for all Californians.”

“Orange County Business Council has long advocated for reasonable fixes to California’s well-intentioned environmental laws that are unabashedly abused to halt projects critical to our state’s economic resiliency,” said Jeffrey Ball, President and CEO, Orange County Business Council. “We commend Governor Newsom’s proposal to invest in real solutions for streamlining delivery of infrastructure projects, which matches the intensity of California’s need for innovation when it comes to future-proofing our economy and achieving our climate goals.”

“I’m thrilled to see Governor Newsom prioritizing essential infrastructure projects, especially when it comes to water initiatives. This proposal to streamline the environmental impact review process for vital water projects such as Delta Conveyance, storage, water recycling and desalination is a game-changer that will help California address the brunt of climate change,” said Charley Wilson, Executive Director of the Southern California Water Coalition. “We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and work with the administration to make this happen!”

“We welcome Governor’s Newsom focus on streamlining the buildout of infrastructure necessary to accelerate clean energy deployment in California. While California has long been a global leader in renewable energy, reaching our 100% clean ambitions requires that we move with unprecedented speed and scale,” said Alex Jackson, California Director, American Clean Power. “The Governor’s infrastructure package sets us down that path, providing clean energy providers with more certainty to reduce project timelines without shortchanging environmental review. We stand ready to work with the Administration and the Legislature to move these ideas forward and enable all Californians to benefit from a grid powered by clean, affordable, and reliable energy.”

“Keeping our grid affordable while achieving our climate ambition requires California to speed up on all fronts, from in-state clean energy projects to regional electric grid collaboration with our Western neighbors,” said Leah Rubin Shen, Managing Director at Advanced Energy United, the national business association of companies working to achieve 100% clean energy and electrified transportation in America. “With leadership from Gov. Newsom and the state legislature, we can deliver more clean energy in-state and create the Western power grid we need.”

“The Governor’s proposal represents an important step forward in our collective effort to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of infrastructure project delivery in California,” said Mark Kempton, Executive Director, California Infrastructure Delivery Coalition. “By streamlining procurement, improving collaboration, promoting innovation, and reducing time to delivery, the proposed progressive design build authority will provide better value for the public dollar and undoubtedly contribute to the betterment of our state’s infrastructure.”

“Water infrastructure is climate adaptation, and Governor Newsom has placed California on higher ground,” said Jennifer Pierre, General Manager of the State Water Contractors. “Completing the projects that will ensure our ability to responsibly capture, store, release, deliver, recycle and desalinate water throughout California isn’t just smart planning, it is a climate change imperative — one the Governor is tackling head on.”

“Gov. Newsom’s proposal is a smart and timely first step to putting California at the forefront of environmental and economic innovation,” said Tracy Hernandez, Co-Leader, New California Coalition. “CEQA modernization is necessary to maximize federal funds so water and transportation systems can be upgraded to improve livability for everyday Californians.”.

“The Orange County Transportation Authority has long been an advocate for advancing innovative solutions that reduce red tape and allow agencies like ours to focus on the important work of delivering balanced, sustainable and equitable transportation projects as quickly and efficiently as possible,” said Darrell E. Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of the Orange County Transportation Authority. “Governor Newsom and Infrastructure Advisor former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa should be commended for developing these common-sense approaches to speed up construction for the benefit of all Californians.”

“For a number of years, SVLG has advocated for commonsense CEQA reforms as key to unlocking further business, social, and climate progress for the innovation economy while safeguarding California’s natural resources. We applaud the comprehensive package of measures unveiled by Governor Newsom that are intended to accelerate critically important infrastructure projects, enhancing California’s ability to compete for federal infrastructure and CHIPS funding,” said Ahmad Thomas, CEO, Silicon Valley Leadership Group. “During this time of economic volatility, it’s critical that we strengthen the regulatory and policy framework foundation that enables our businesses to thrive and continue investing in the clean energy and technology infrastructure and expansions — in turn supporting the creation of good-paying jobs, generating shared economic value, and promoting greater equity. We look forward to working with Governor Newsom, Go-Biz, Legislative leaders and other stakeholders to bring these essential changes to fruition.”