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Steinberg backs exemption for L.A. stadium proposal

September 7, 2011 |  5:45 pm

Darrell Steinberg
In an interview with The Times, state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) said he supported a bill approved by the Assembly that would fast-track legal challenges to a downtown Los Angeles football stadium, and he plans to introduce a companion measure extending the benefit to other large developments.

"We are working very closely with the Assembly and governor to put forward a companion bill," Steinberg said. "The goal of the bill is simply to get people back to work sooner rather than later. "

Steinberg declined to discuss details of his bill, but legislative sources involved in the talks say it could apply to big-ticket projects that have a price tag in the hundreds of millions of dollars and also meet strict environmental standards. The governor would be empowered to choose which of those projects merited streamlined legal review.

The Senate leader said his bill would be modeled on SB292, the Los Angeles stadium bill, which passed the lower house hours earlier. "The structure of that agreement is sound," Steinberg said.

The existing bill requires challenges to the stadium to be filed in the court of appeal and be decided in 175 days. Proponents of the stadium argue that would give investors and the NFL confidence that the project won't be mired down in years of litigation. They contend the stadium will be carbon neutral and create tens of thousands of jobs.

Many developers would love to get such an exception and get faster resolution to time-consuming environmental lawsuits.

"We want to help get those complaints addressed and adjudicated faster. The goal is to respond assertively to the recession," Steinberg said, adding that he hopes to introduce the new bill Thursday. 

-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

Photo: State Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) talks to reporters during the budget debate this spring.

Credit: Associated Press