President’s Message

Dana Remington, Sierra Chapter President

Another month has gone by and my term is nearing its end. It’s hard to believe that the year is almost over. I have a theory on that subject. For a five year kid a year is 1/5th (20%) of his/her lifetime and they have no memory of the first couple of years and for somebody who is 40 years old (another kid) a year is 1/40th (2.5%) of their lifetime. So the older we all get the smaller percent of our life is a year. Sorry for the squirrel moment. Back to my message, this month has been the most difficult edition to find something semi interesting to write about.

This past week I participated in my Legislative Visit Day (LVD) at the State Capitol. In discussions with fellow Chapter members, who have attended previous LVD, I learned that we don’t always meet directly with the Senate or Assembly members. More often than not you would meet with a staff member who may have the ability to communicate our message to the legislative member better than we might be able to.

Marco Palilla is the Sierra Chapter grass roots chair and has been to numerous D’s.His organization and leadership skills were very apparent to this rookie and I was paired with other members who have previous experience.

The ACEC CA staff had created a list of talking points for each of our scheduled visits. It’s amazing how much effort and preparation that Kelly and her staff have done prior to LVD. They all need a nice round of applause and a big Thank You from the membership.

As most of you may have heard and if you haven’t, you must have been climbing Mt Everest or someplace similar. Governor Brown last week signed SB1 the 10 year $52 billion dollar transportation funding bill. I’m certain that most of

our member firms will see some of this work and will benefit from the improved transportation facilities around the state with these new funding dollars. Time will tell though. There was another bill signing at the same time, SB 496, this is our “Duty to Defend” bill that ACEC CA has been working on for a number of years. Let’s have a toast to the ACEC CA staff for all of their hard work on this issue.

Our next Chapter meeting on May 17th and will be a lunch meeting at Sacramento Hilton. The featured speaker will be Jose Ramirez, Senior Civil Engineer with Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District. He will be discussing the South County AG program. This is a reclaimed water program supplying water to agricultural interests and others in the southern part of the County.

Next ACEC State event will be the annual State Conference in Incline Village, Lake Tahoe on October 8 – 11, 2017. I hope to see everybody in May at the Sierra Chapter ACEC lunch meeting.

Cheers!

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Jose Ramirez, SRCSD—Speaker, May 17, 2017

Debanik Chaudhuri, Director

José Ramirez is a Senior Civil Engineer with the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District (Regional San). He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Sacramento State University and is a registered Civil Engineer in the State of California. He has over 20 years of experience in the planning, design, and construction of water supply and wastewater facilities. He is currently managing the Water Recycling Program for Regional San. His work focuses on expanding the capacity of this program to achieve a goal of reusing 30­40 MGD of recycled water over the next two decades in Regional San’s area. His presentation will focus on South County Ag Program. The South County Ag Program proposes to use tertiary ­treated recycled water to irrigate allowed crops (e.g. alfalfa, irrigated pastures, etc.) on permanent agriculture lands and habitat mitigation lands through new recycled water transmission and distribution systems.

At our May meeting Matt Machado, the Public Works Director for Stanislaus County, gave a talk about transportation funding and upcoming projects. His talk included a detailed overview of the structure and funding of Measure L, the transportation funding measure passed by Stanislaus County voters last year. He also discussed his preferred solutions for public transportation funding moving forward.

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ACEC-CA 2017 Legislative Visit Day Recap

Marco Palilla, Sierra Chapter Director

On May 2, 2017, the Sierra Chapter joined nearly 100 members from around the state for our 2017 Legislative Visit Day. This is our annual occasion to meet with our legislators and their staff to explain our views on various issues that impact our industry. In my opinion, this is one of the most important activities for ACEC since it provides direct access to the people that have such impact on our businesses. It is also a great opportunity to remind legislators how important the engineering and surveying industry is to the daily lives of every Californian.

Sierra Chapter members who attended Legislative Visit Day included Bob Lokteff, Dana Remington, Ted Hopkins, Marco Palilla, Harvey Oslick, Debanik Chaudhuri, and Eddie Kho. Not pictured: Matt Brogan and Steve Greenfield.

The day kicked off at The Citizens Hotel with an Issues Breakfast that focused on our recent successes with Senate Bill 1 (Transportation Funding) and Senate Bill 496 (Duty to Defend). We then walked over to the Capitol for our morning meetings with Assemblymembers (or their staff) Cooley, Dahle, Aguiar-Curry and Flora; plus Senate members (or their staff) Pan, Gaines, and Nielsen. We also promoted our amazing scholarship program and the ACEC Engineering Excellence Award winners in our area.

Sierra Chapter members Bob Lokteff, Marco Palilla and Ted Hopkins with legislator Richard Pan’s Senate Fellow, Tyler Aguilar during Legislative Visit Day.

 

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President’s Message

Another month has gone by and March Madness is almost over, thank goodness. Since I’m not much of a basketball fan, at least college basketball, the madness seems a bit over rated, but that doesn’t mean it’s a waste of time. With April arriving I’m looking forward to the Masters and my trip to attend a practice round on Wednesday. I know it’s a long trip for one day of watching a practice round with spoiled millionaire golfers, but it’s not very often I get a chance to cross off another item from the list.

This past week Governor Brown and the State Legislature proposed $5 Billion dollars annually in new taxes for Road Repair and Transportation investments for the next 10 years. The new bill will raise the gas tax 12¢ a gallon, add another fee to your annual vehicle registration and also add a fee to owners of zero emission vehicles. That part is my favorite as they are currently freeloaders who use the roads within the state but since they purchase no gasoline they do not pay for their share of transportation repairs or improvements. I think they forgot another group that use roadways but pay no road taxes, bicycles. Bike riders want more bike lanes and trails which I agree are needed, but they should be contributing to the effort. They could contribute money for purposes of improving said bike lanes with a small tax on all items related to their activity. Sportsmen have a small tax added to all fishing and hunting related items that fund conservation efforts that benefit the environment as well as fishing and hunting. It would be a win-win for all parties involved.

I do have a question regarding the ten year time frame for these new taxes, what will happen to our transportation maintenance funding when the provisions expire?

Another question I have is how much of the current gas tax money will continue to be redirected toward the general fund with this new funding source instead of funding transportation projects?

Our next Chapter meeting will be a lunch meeting at Sacramento Hilton. The featured speaker will be Matt Machado, Stanislaus County Public Works Director discussing their new Transportation Funding sales tax that passed last November and the upcoming projects related to the new funding source.

Next ACEC State event will be the ACEC Legislative visit day on May 2, 2017 in Sacramento. I hope to see everybody in April at the ACEC lunch meeting.

Cheers!

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