Rep. Mike Thompson joined with two House Republicans Wednesday in introducing legislation to protect the government-financed home and business energy retrofit programs that have run afoul of federal housing regulators.
Sonoma County has been a pioneer among the dozens of local and state governments offering Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE programs. Since its inception more than two year ago, the county program has handed out about $48 million in retrofit financing, which property owners repay through their property tax bills.
Federal housing regulators have said such funding arrangements pose a risk to the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the event of defaults. Last year they ordered tighter lending standards for both individual PACE participants and entire jurisdictions offering the programs, a move that forced many programs to close.
Sonoma County sued the Federal Housing Finance Agency last July over the new rules. The case is pending before a U.S. District Court judge in Oakland. Meanwhile, the county's program has continued to operate, although at lower level of funding activity.
Thompson, D—St. Helena, carried legislation last year that also sought to protect the PACE programs.
The new bill, co-sponsored by Reps. Nan Hayworth, R-NY, and Dan Lungren, R—Gold River, would block Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from interfering with financing connected with PACE programs. It also proposes stricter equity requirements and borrowing limits for property owners participating in the retrofit programs.
No companion legislation currently exists in the U.S. Senate, a Thompson aide said.
County roads scheduled for improvements this summer
Dutcher Creek Road from Dry Creek Road to Cloverdale city limit
Geysers Road from Highway 128 to Red Winery Road
Ludwig Avenue from Llano Road to South Wright Road
Lytton Springs Road from Dry Creek Road to Healdsburg Avenue
Mill Station Road from Occidental Road to Highway 116
Watertrough Road from Pleasant Hill Road to Bodega Highway
Adobe Road from East Washington Street to Frates Road
D Street from previously overlay to Petaluma city limit
Napa Road from Eighth Street East to Highway 12/121
Old Redwood Highway from Windsor town limit to Healdsburg city limit
Porter Creek Road between Cresta Road and Wilson Road
Adobe Road from Corona Road to East Washington Street
Lakeville Road from Highway 37 to Old Lakeville Road #2
Mark West Springs Road from Ursuline Road east for 3.5 miles
Occidental Road from Highway 116 to Santa Rosa city limits
Petaluma Boulevard North from Petaluma city limit to Petaluma River bridge
River Road from Rio Nido Bridge to Trenton Road
5th Street West from Leveroni Road to Sonoma city limit
Arnold Drive from Leveroni Road to Craig Avenue
Cazadero Highway from Highway 116 to near Austin Creek Road
Boyes Boulevard from Arnold Drive to Highway 12
Lovall Valley Road from Fourth Street East to Lovall Valley Road
Adobe Road from Frates Road to Highway 116
Brooks Avenue from Bucks Road to East Robles Road
Bucks Road from Santa Rosa Avenue to Brooks Avenue
Crocker Road from River Road to Cloverdale city limit
El Dorado Drive from Los Banos to Riverside Drive
Healdsburg Avenue from Healdsburg city limit to Alexander Valley Road
River Road from Big Sulphur Creek Bridge to Geysers Road
River Road from Crocker Road to Big Sulphur Creek Bridge
Stony Point Road from Petaluma city limit to Rainsville Road