California Gov. BrownSACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Responding swiftly to the federal government’s denial of grant money to a California public transit provider, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today proposed legislation to ensure that $1.6 billion in federal grants continue to flow to transit districts while he pursues litigation to defend California’s bipartisan pension reforms.

“Federal transit money creates jobs and this legislation keeps those funds flowing while allowing the state to defend in court our landmark pension reforms,” said Governor Brown.

This morning, the U.S. Department of Labor notified the Sacramento Regional Transit District that it is refusing to certify millions of dollars in transit grants to the district because it asserts that the provisions of the California Public Employee Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA) are incompatible with federal labor law.

The proposed legislation will temporarily exempt local agencies’ transit workers from PEPRA, but preserves the state’s ability to fight for the pension reform law in court. The legislation also creates a $26 million state loan program to assist transit operators, like Sacramento Regional Transit, that are at risk of losing federal transit grants.

The legislation, Assembly Bill 1222, will be authored by Assemblymembers Richard H. Bloom (D-Santa Monica) and Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento). Assemblymember Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova) will serve as a co-author.

Earlier this year, Governor Brown sent a letter to acting U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Seth Harris on this issue.