Steinberg announced last-minute legislation Friday that would streamline the environmental review process for a new downtown arena. It’s similar to other legislation in recent years that sped up the legal process for a potential Los Angeles football stadium and other large development projects.
The measure would also give more narrow help to the ownership group’s development projects immediately surrounding the arena site.
“It maintains the full requirements for environmental review, the full requirements for mitigation of whatever the environmental impacts are, but it prohibits anybody from delaying the project unduly,” Steinberg says, adding that he believes it's fair and strikes the right balance.
The Kings must start construction on the arena next year in order to meet the NBA’s Opening Day 2016 deadline.
The bill must be voted on before lawmakers leave town in two weeks. It could face some hurdles in the Assembly, which is pushing a separate bill for a new Golden State Warriors arena on the San Francisco waterfront that’s drawn some opposition in the Senate.