Lawmakers approve bill boosting NFL stadium in LA

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He said the development will let his company focus its efforts on bringing a team to Los Angeles. The company hopes to break ground on the project in June.

“This will be an economic and environmental showpiece, not just for Southern California but for our state and our nation,” he said.

Brown spokesman Evan Westrup said the governor had not taken a position on the bill.

The Senate and Assembly also approved and sent the governor a second, broader bill backed by Steinberg that could aid construction of arenas, stadiums or other large projects in other areas of the state.

AB900 would allow a similar accelerated review of other major construction projects that meet higher standards than required in state environmental law. The governor would have to approve such $100 million-plus “environmental leadership development projects” for expedited handling, which Steinberg said could cut as much as three years off the construction timetable of projects that create thousands of jobs.

As with the stadium bill, backers argued that it keeps strong state environmental protections in place and encourages developers to exceed the minimum standards while jump-starting hiring.

“We all agree that we have an obligation to do everything in our power to try to put Californians back to work,” Steinberg said on the Senate floor.

Some environmental groups questioned whether expedited review would create problems and high costs for Californians who lack the resources of big developers to quickly mount a court challenge. Several joined in the criticism of the last-minute bill with little time for analysis.

Jena Price, legislative director for the Planning and Conservation League, also objected to letting the governor decide which projects should qualify for speedy review under AB900.

“The governor is basically playing God,” she said.

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Associated Press writer Adam Weintraub contributed to this story.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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