BILL ANALYSIS Ó SENATE TRANSPORTATION & HOUSING COMMITTEE BILL NO: AB 539 SENATOR MARK DESAULNIER, CHAIRMAN AUTHOR: williams VERSION: 6/27/12 Analysis by: Eric Thronson FISCAL: no Hearing date: July 3, 2012 SUBJECT: Electronic toll collection systems: privacy concerns DESCRIPTION: This bill permits transportation agencies to share some information with toll collection agencies in other states in order to participate in a nationwide interoperability program. ANALYSIS: Toll agencies may employ an automatic vehicle identification system to facilitate toll operations, such as the FasTrak transponder that is commonly used in California. These systems allow subscribers to prepay tolls thereby eliminating the need to stop at the toll plaza. Existing law requires that the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and toll operators develop functional specifications and standards for these systems to ensure interoperability. In 2010, the Legislature passed SB 1268 (Simitian) Chapter 489, which established privacy protections for subscribers to electronic toll collection systems and anyone else using toll facilities. Specifically, SB 1268 prohibited transportation agencies from selling or otherwise providing personally identifiable information about their subscribers, with some minor exceptions such as for law enforcement purposes or to comply with the state's interoperability efforts. This bill explicitly permits transportation agencies to share some information with toll collection agencies in other states in order to participate in a nationwide interoperability program. This bill permits a transportation agency to share only the license plate number, transponder identification number, and date and time of a vehicle's use of the toll facility. Finally, this bill clarifies that current law does not prohibit a transportation agency from performing certain AB 539 (WILLIAMS) Page 2 functions, such as billing, toll collection, and violation enforcement, whether or not the toll facility use occurs in California. COMMENTS: 1.Purpose . According to the author, this bill enables California toll facility operators to participate in a national toll interoperability pilot program, opening the door for motorists with one toll transponder to travel non-stop across the nation on any toll facility. While existing law allows toll agencies to share information for interoperability purposes, it limits this sharing to in-state agencies. This bill enables these agencies to share certain information with any toll collection agency within or outside the state. 2.Background . As toll facilities across the nation move toward all-electronic tolling and away from cash collection and toll booth infrastructure, interoperability is becoming increasingly important. Currently, the country's toll facilities are a patchwork of different technological groups using proprietary systems inherently incapable of working together. This can be challenging for fleets that operate throughout the country, road-tripping motorists, and others who are currently required to carry multiple transponders in order to navigate through different toll systems. Over the long term, the best solution is for all toll collection agencies to adopt a uniform, standard, automatic vehicle identification technology. Changing out technologies can present significant financial challenges to toll operators, however, and therefore this solution may take time to implement. In the short-term, toll operators are seeking an interim solution by establishing nationwide interoperability standards such that the varied technologies can communicate with each other and allow travelers to use one transponder and be charged against one toll account. The Alliance for Toll Interoperability is conducting a national toll interoperability program for their member toll agencies to be able to provide nationwide interoperability to those agencies' active account holders. This bill enables California transportation agencies to participate in this national program. 3.Privacy concerns . SB 1268 instituted privacy protections for AB 539 (WILLIAMS) Page 3 individuals with toll facility accounts due to concerns that information originally collected for the purposes of electronic toll collection could be provided to other companies or organizations for marketing purposes. This bill allows the state's toll facilities to share some limited information with organizations or other toll operators outside the state. Some have raised concerns that those organizations may not comply with the state's privacy laws, undoing the protections contained in SB 1268. Therefore, the committee may wish to consider an amendment requiring that toll operators in the state only provide information to organizations or entities that comply with requirements of applicable state and federal privacy laws. Assembly Votes: Previous votes are not relevant. POSITIONS: (Communicated to the committee before noon on Wednesday, June 27, 2012) SUPPORT: None received. OPPOSED: None received.