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Republicans Propose Bills They Say Will Improve Public Works

Sacramento, CA — Assembly Republicans are proposing legislation that they say will streamline public works projects.

But Democrats are criticizing the measures, which is raising new doubts about whether lawmakers can agree on an infrastructure package this year.

The GOP legislation includes a bill that would allow the Department of Transportation to use so-called design-built contracts under which the same contractor would design and build a highway or rail project.

The package also includes bills that would remove restrictions on school districts hiring private companies to provide bus, maintenance and cafeteria services, allow flood-control projects that result in the loss of wildlife habitat and exempt levee maintenance projects from environmental review.

Republicans are also pushing constitutional amendments that would bar the state from using motor vehicle sales tax revenue for non-transportation programs and earmark a portion of the state´s annual budget for public works projects.