On Tuesday, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 203 by Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, which gives smaller cities in Ventura County flexibility in spending transportation funds.
The legislation allows cities of 100,000 people or fewer in Ventura County to spend state Transportation Development Act funds on local roads, provided they meet their public transit needs. Such flexibility has already been given to similar cities in California, but Ventura County was excluded while it developed a countywide transportation plan. The plan was approved by the Ventura County Transportation Commission in September.
SB 203 is sponsored by the Ventura County Transportation Commission and supported by the Ventura Council of Governments and the cities of Thousand Oaks, Moorpark and Camarillo.
The bill is part of a series of actions to implement the Ventura County Comprehensive Transportation Plan.
“Senate Bill 203 ensures that Ventura County's smaller cities are treated like all those in all other newly urban California counties,” Pavley said. “I commend Darren Kettle’s leadership in finalizing the Ventura County Comprehensive Transportation Plan this year and ensuring that the transit needs of the county and its individual cities are addressed.”
The key elements include greater inter-city and inter-county regional transit service, creation of the Gold Coast Transit District (enabled by Assembly Bill 664 by Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara), greater transit service to the East County and Heritage Valley area, treatment of Transportation Development Act funds consistent with other parts of the state (SB 203), and a revamping of the county’s process for addressing unmet transit needs.
“Senator Pavley has long been a champion of public transit and SB 203 ensures that bus transit systems in Ventura County continue to address transit needs of Ventura County residents while providing some flexibility to use surplus funding to maintain city streets," said Darren Kettle, executive director of the Ventura County Transportation Commission.