ABOUT TPA
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Meet the Team

Eric Thronson

Deputy Director

Eric brings over a decade of legislative and public policy experience to Townsend Public Affairs. Eric develops and implements legislative strategies for local public agency clients throughout California. Eric maintains relationships with key members and staff of the State Legislature, the Administration, and select state agencies.

 Areas of policy expertise:

  • Transportation and Transit
  • Local Governance
  • Public Safety
  • Water Resources

Previous experience:

  • Chief Consultant, Assembly Transportation Committee
  • Deputy Director of Legislation and Finance, California Transportation Commission
  • Principal Committee Consultant, Senate Transportation and Housing Committee
  • Fiscal and Policy Analyst, Transportation, Housing, and High-Speed Rail, California Legislative Analyst’s Office

Transportation:

In 2014, Eric led the effort with his Committee Chairman, Senator DeSaulnier, to author Senate Bill 1077, which established the California Road Charge Technical Advisory Committee. SB 1077 created the California Road Charge Pilot Program and tasked the Chair of the California Transportation Commission to convene a fifteen-member Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) to study alternatives to the gas tax, gather public comment, and make recommendations for the design of a road charge pilot program.

In 2014, Eric developed and staffed SB 486 (DeSaulnier), a bill that made several important changes to the state’s transportation planning and project programming process, including instituting a logical process for the state’s planning process to flow from the overarching California Transportation Plan to the Interregional Transportation Strategic Plan to the 5-year Interregional Transportation Improvement Plan. It also changed the way the state selected state highway maintenance and repair projects by requiring the development of an asset management plan to prioritize projects based on an approved set of metrics.

As Deputy Director of Legislation and Finance at the California Transportation Commission, Eric was responsible for drafting the guidelines that implemented  AB 194 (Frazier, 2015), delegating to the California Transportation Commission the responsibility to approve the tolling of an unlimited number of transportation facilities in California.  Eric was also responsible for overseeing the first successful application for tolling authority under the new law.

In 2016, Eric oversaw an effort bringing together legislative staff, Department of Transportation (Caltrans) staff, Transportation Agency staff, and Department of Finance staff, as well as regional transportation agency representatives, to review and restructure Caltrans’ methodology and legislative reporting of its Capital Outlay Support (COS) budget. Through this effort, Eric was able to build a consensus with everyone in the group around a particular solution that accomplished both aims of appropriate oversight and sufficient flexibility.

In 2017, Eric was integral in the drafting and passage of the largest transportation funding legislation in California State history. The California State Legislature passed SB1 (Beall, 2017), also known as the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, increasing transportation funding and instituting much-needed reforms. SB 1 provides the first significant, stable, and ongoing increase in state transportation funding in more than two decades.

The University of Texas at Austin, Master of Public Affairs

Tulane University, New Orleans, Bachelor of Arts, English, Minor in Classics

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