Sunday, January 25, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Long-term money a big boost for high-speed rail

Darrell Steinberg

In this photo taken Sunday, June 15, 2014, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, calls for passage of a state budget trailer bill that would provide a funding source for the proposed high-speed rail project, at the Capitol in Sacramento. The plan, which provides $250 million this year from the state's cap-and-trade greenhouse gas emissions fund, and the promise of 25 percent of all future cap-and-trade revenue each year, an amount that could total $3 billion to $5 billion a year in coming years, was approved and sent to the governor. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

By
June 18, 2014 |

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown scored a big win for California’s $68 billion high-speed rail project by persuading fellow Democrats to dedicate a steady future funding source for it in the state budget.

The $108 billion 2014-15 general fund budget approved Sunday includes $250 million this year from the state’s cap-and-trade greenhouse gas emissions fund. More important to rail supporters is the promise of 25 percent of all future cap-and-trade revenue each year, which could eventually total $3 billion to $5 billion a year.

The money is a fraction of the state’s overall spending plan. But to high-speed rail officials and the governor, it signals the state’s investment in the beleaguered project, which has been saddled by delays and court challenges that have left it with little operating cash and uncertain political support.

Rail officials believe the ongoing revenue will be enough to leverage bond borrowing and start work on new parts of the project, such as a segment connecting northern Los Angeles County to Burbank. Building that section of the rail line could help generate goodwill from the politically critical Los Angeles area and blunt criticism over the decision to start construction in the less-populated Central Valley.

The renewed attention to high-speed rail funding also is a reminder of its most pressing problem: Where will the rest of the money come from?

A Sacramento County Superior Court ruling last year, which is on appeal, has essentially blocked the state from selling $8.6 billion in voter-approved bonds that are supposed to be the primary source of construction funds for the first 130-mile segment from Merced to Bakersfield.

The state also owes the federal government a $180 million matching payment due July 1 as part of the $3.5 billion in federal grants awarded to California.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, a Bakersfield Republican who is on the verge of becoming House majority leader, vowed in a statement to “do whatever I can to ensure that not one dollar of federal funds is directed to this project,” as long as he is in Congress.

Four congressional California Democrats last week joined Republicans to block federal funds for the project as part of an amendment to the federal transportation bill by Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock. The vote was mostly symbolic because no federal money was proposed this year, and it will likely be reversed in the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate.

Jeff Morales, CEO of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, said the dedicated funding allows project officials to do work on several sections simultaneously “which delivers benefits sooner to travelers statewide, yields costs saving and creates an opportunity for potential private sector investment earlier.”

The agency also provided letters from nine major engineering and construction firms supporting a dedicated state funding source. Some firms indicated they might consider private financing if the funding were approved.

AECOM, a Los Angeles-based engineering firm, wrote that multi-year funding “sufficient to move the project forward on a more aggressive timeline, would attract our firm and private sector competitors from around the world.” The letter addressed to legislative leaders and Brown also said the money should be “sufficient to complete the project, in combination with funds from the state.” The revenue included in this year’s budget falls short of that.

Brown’s plan to fund the project with cap-and-trade revenue has been a sore spot for Democrats and environmentalists, partly because program’s mission to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to help the state meet its air quality improvement goals by 2020.

Critics believe the high-speed rail line will create more pollution than it reduces during its 15-year construction timeline.

Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, author of the state’s landmark greenhouse gas law, AB32, abstained from voting on it Sunday night. She said the money should go to projects that can be completed most quickly.

“Using such a large percentage of continuously appropriated money for a project that, in the short term, will get minimal, if none, no greenhouse gas reductions, gives me pause,” she said in an interview later.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, characterized the cap-and-trade financing plan as part of a holistic approach to infrastructure that will better integrate communities with public transportation. The plan also allocates 40 percent of future revenue for water and energy efficiency, natural resources and clean transportation and 35 percent for public transit and affordable housing.

Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, R-Camarillo, said the financing could be unconstitutional because the investments will not directly help meet California’s air quality targets.

“They barely put a dent in the emissions reduction goals this state has set as a priority,” he said.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 4 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • CD BrooksJune 17, 2014 - 5:55 am

    This is such a waste. The good this money could do for local infrastructure would be far more valuable.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Tax PayerJune 17, 2014 - 7:09 am

    Agreed CD, but you need to understand they are only interested in furthering the Agenda 21 plan. Once the train is built they will go after your vehicle's emissions. It will become a crime to drive it.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CD BrooksJune 17, 2014 - 7:13 am

    Tax Payer, I'll forego the usual Agenda 21 BS. But for most people driving is all ready criminal.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JimboJune 17, 2014 - 4:03 pm

    I wonder how many of the people posting here bothered at all to check how high speed trains being constructed in Japan changed the 'local infrastructures that it served. Had they done so they would have seen that they fundamentally changed a lot and improved the local economies dramatically.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Nursing students take next step in higher education

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
Friend seeks justice for 1982 Vacaville homicide victim

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Solano GOP welcomes address from King niece

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Scientists think Earth doomed: I disagree

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

 
Biggest Little Car Show returns for 31st year

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Solano Safety Net Summit set in Fairfield downtown

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3

Wine, chocolate pairing comes to downtown Benicia

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Local gas prices dip below $2 a gallon

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Be heart smart all year long

By Gerald Bourne, MD | From Page: C4

Kindergarten Readiness Roundup enlightens parents

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Weather for Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

Crews respond to residential fire

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
CHP seeks witnesses to I-80 crash

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A5

Saudi monarchy transition a real economic concern

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B7

 
City seeks input on downtown plan

By Brian Miller and Karl Dumas | From Page: B7

Suisun City police log: Jan. 23, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Suisun City police log: Jan. 22, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Privatized housing tenants to feel BAH pinch

By Tom Philpott | From Page: B10

 
Fairfield police log: Jan. 23, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Airman with Fairfield tie completes training

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B10

 
.

US / World

Abe ‘speechless’ after video claims IS hostage dead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
It’s a hoot hanging out with owls at this Tokyo cafe

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2 | Gallery

School: Sea otter conceived in wild is 1st born in captivity

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Man searching by plane finds body of missing son off Mexico

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Kia recalling nearly 87,000 Fortes because of fire risk

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Elon Musk’s SpaceX drops lawsuit against Air Force

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

California’s public-worker payroll increased post-recession

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Avian flu confirmed in commercial turkey flock in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Boy, 13, arrested in fatal stabbing near Los Angeles school

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Abortion opponents express renewed hope at SF rally

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Company seeks rights to names of iconic Grand Canyon lodges

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Police: Man shot his family, killing 3, then killed himself

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Tens of thousands protest after president resigns in Yemen

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Thousands march against socialist president in Venezuela

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Expert says King Tut mask can be restored after epoxy used

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Obama to cut short India trip to pay call on Saudi Arabia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

GOP presses state bills limiting gay rights before ruling

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
1st attempt to lift fuselage of crashed AirAsia plane fails

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Rockets kill 30 in Ukrainian city as rebels launch offensive

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
.

Opinion

Plea for return of stolen statue

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Not all police are bad

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

Editorial Cartoon: Jan. 25, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Here’s the case for improved downtown

By Gary Walker | From Page: A8

Sound off for Jan. 25, 2015

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
 
.

Living

Today in History: Jan. 25, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Jan. 25, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

The gift of a new beginning

By Dalia Adams | From Page: C3

 
Mennonite group to build houses in tornado-damaged town

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

Yearbooks bring Jewish, Catholic groups together

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Horoscope Jan. 25, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

My dad can’t get over the bad first impression of my boyfriend

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

 
.

Entertainment

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
Mariel Hemingway working on memoir and young adult novel

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

Jonathan Franzen to appear at BookExpo America

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

2 Williams sisters, 2 Madisons into 4th round at Aussie Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Hall of Famer Ernie Banks mourned in sports world and beyond

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Thompson’s record 3rd quarter leads Warriors past Kings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Belichick on deflated balls: ‘We try to do everything right’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

25 years of trying to get it right

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Sharapova, Bouchard into quarterfinals at Australian Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Abdullah leads North to 34-13 win over South in Senior Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
As Brady, Gronk know, pre-Super Bowl injury talk always big

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

AP Interview: Selig says MLB could expand internationally

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Could Super Bowl be Lynch’s finale in Seattle?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Sherman, Seahawks take the trash-talk lead over Patriots

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki’s surgically repaired hip on mend

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Buckeyes celebrate their title at Ohio Stadium

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Carroll, Belichick excelled after failing the first time

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Luck-led Team Carter vs. Romo-lead Team Irvin in Pro Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
AP Explains: The Pro Bowl, unlike any other All-Star game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Matt Kuchar stumbles in, gives away Humana Challenge lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
For streaking Atlanta Hawks, it’s all about the balance

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Upstart wins $400,000 Holy Bull at Gulfstream

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Mischief Clem wins California Cup Derby in photo finish

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

World Cup of Hockey tournament set for 2016

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Hometown report: Bowling

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B3

Ashley Wagner wins 3rd US title with record-setting scores

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Weber’s 108.5-mph blast gives him hardest shot at NHL skills

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Jimenez, Mediate share lead in Champions Tour opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Grace wins Qatar Masters by 1 stroke

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Sports on TV for Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B5

 
This date in sports history for Jan. 25, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Business

Anheuser-Busch to buy craft beer company

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Higher standard deduction, other breaks for older taxpayers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Booking a trip to the ER on your smartphone? It’s a breeze

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Recalls this week: cleaners, fitness machines

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Tiny Cokes: Less guilt means more money for makers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
First Look: Apple’s HomeKit could help smarten up your home

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

.

Obituaries

Thomas Clark

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Sheila Margery (Smith) Luxenberg

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Don Johnson

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics