Holden’s Bill (AB 359) To Streamline Airport Rental Car Agreements Is Approved In The Senate

Monday, September 9, 2013

Sacramento - The State Senate has passed Assembly Member Chris R. Holden’s AB 359 with overwhelming bi-partisan support.

AB 359 is a consumer protection bill that will increase public transparency of airport infrastructure financing while streamlining state regulations in order to save local taxpayers thousands of dollars.

Under existing law, California airports seeking to finance the construction of large rental car facilities with a customer surcharge must submit to an independent financial audit to determine the reasonableness of the fee. This audit must be conducted prior to initial authorization and repeated every three years until the construction bonds are fully paid.

Assembly Bill 359 will permit California Airports to substitute the independent audit with an “Annual Audit of Airport Finances,” a yearly audit of all airport activity, including the rental car fee, required by local and federal regulators.

“As a former Airport Commissioner for Burbank’s Bob Hope Airport, I know firsthand how strictly regulated airports are by the federal government. This bill will save local taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars by simply allowing airports to submit audits they already perform to satisfy California law,” explained Assemblymember Holden.

Assembly Bill 359 will also enhance existing consumer protections. The bill clarifies the audit standards and criteria used to audit airport fees, ensuring that all audits are uniform and easier to understand.

Assemblymember Holden praised the bill’s internet disclosure requirements noting, “It makes no sense to spend taxpayer money to audit local airports, only to send the audit to the State Legislature without letting the fee paying public see the results. AB 359’s public disclosure provisions will ensure every Californian is able to easily see how their fee money is being spent.”

The measure goes back to the Assembly for brief approval of amendments before heading to the Governor for his signature.