FAIRFIELD — Solano County would like some of California’s cap-and-trade money flowing to such local transportation projects as replacing buses and renovating the westbound Interstate 80 truck scales.
Local and regional leaders would have to convince Gov. Jerry Brown and the state Legislature. Brown proposes to give the $850 million expected in cap-and-trade money for the 2014-15 fiscal year that starts July 1 to various state agencies and departments.
It’s one more way that the state’s efforts to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions could hit home.
The Solano City County Coordinating Council on Thursday recommended that $500 million of cap-and-trade funds go to regional and local agencies in the state. The council’s members are the Solano County Board of Supervisors and the county’s mayors.
This is the first round of funding from California’s new cap-and-trade program.
“If we don’t get in round one, it won’t be any easier to get in round two,” Solano Transportation Authority Executive Director Daryl Halls told the coordinating council on Thursday.
Cap-and-trade is a state effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The state sets overall limits on greenhouse gas emissions each year. Industries that exceed emission caps can buy credits in state auctions.
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission in December 2013 released a spending framework it would use if it gets cap-and-trade money. The commission is a regional transportation agency for the nine Bay Area counties. Solano County and other Bay Area counties would be eligible to get money under this framework.
But Brown’s budget proposal released in January spends the money in other ways. Brown wants $250 million going to the state’s high-speed rail project. Agencies such as the Department of Water Resources and California Air Resources Board would be in charge of other blocks of money.
In essence, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission is arguing that cutting greenhouse gas emissions starts at home. The commission in a letter says a bottom-up approach is better than the Brown administration’s top-down approach.
Under the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s approach, money could flow to Solano County for projects that aid development near mass transit hubs, for buses, for bike trails and for local streets and roads. The county could try to get money for projects that ease congestion that leaves stalled traffic creating greenhouse gases.
That sounded good to the Solano City County Coordinating Council. Its vote Thursday echoed earlier votes by the Solano Transportation Authority board and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.
In addition, the Capitol Corridor train system would like to see $500 million of cap-and-trade money going to modernize intercity and urban rail lines. The Capitol Corridor system links the Sacramento area and Bay Area, with a Solano County stop at the Suisun City train station.
What happens next will unfold as the state readies its budget for 2014-15.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.