The leader of California’s Senate is issuing words of caution on Governor Jerry Brown’s plan to use money from the state’s cap-and-trade program to help pay for construction of high speed rail.
Speaking with Valley Public Radio, Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg says he’s concerned about the rail authority’s plan to finance construction of the next stage of the bullet train, which would go from Bakersfield over the Tehachapi Mountains to Palmdale in Southern California.
Steinberg: “That’s what the administration I think has to answer, if the cap and trade revenue fits into an overall credible funding plan I’m open to considering it. But standing alone, it doesn’t make sense to me, unless we understand how we’re actually going to get from the southern part of the valley to Southern California.”
Brown’s budget which was released last week, calls for using $300 million from the cap-and-trade fund for high speed rail, saying it will reduce CO2 emissions from other transportation sources. The money comes from the sale of carbon credits and it’s intended to be used to help fund clean energy and other
But critics of the proposal say that the bullet train wouldn’t realize those emissions reductions until after 2020, the year lawmakers set as the deadline for the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels.
Steinberg also says his proposal to bring back a new version of the state’s now shuttered redevelopment agencies could benefit the rail project.
Steinberg: “That bill, if the governor were to sign it, would provide the ability to invest billions of dollars into the high speed rail stations and surrounding developments, which would come right off the bottom-line costs of the project itself.”