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Funding Water Storage Projects with High Speed Rail Money

Brian German Agri-Business, Legislative

Two different bills were recently introduced for the purpose of funding water storage projects using existing money currently assigned to the high-speed rail project.  Previous attempts to redirect high-speed rail money for other purposes have failed, but the continual problems with the project and increasing need to address California’s water infrastructure issues may garner adequate support for the legislation.

Funding Water Storage ProjectsAssembly Bill 435, introduced to the state legislature by Assemblyman Vince Fong looks to prevent any further bonds for the high-speed rail to be sold.  The bill also calls for redirecting unspent funding from the $9 million in bonds already sold to be used for water projects in the Central Valley.  “It is abundantly clear that this High Speed Rail project is not going to be delivered as promised to voters in 2008,” Assemblyman Fong said in a news release.  “It’s time we redirect the funds to critical water storage projects in the Central Valley, which will help everyone in the state.”

House Resolution 1600, the Repurposing Assets to Increase Long-term Water Availability and Yield (RAILWAY) Act was introduced by U.S. Representative Kevin McCarthy.  The bill would repurpose $3.5 million intended for the high-speed rail to be used on the projects that were highlighted in the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act.  “The RAILWAY Act builds on the success of the WIIN Act by continuing to increase California’s drought resiliency and helping ensure our communities, families and farmers have access to life-sustaining water,” McCarthy said in a news release.

The issue of funding water storage projects and addressing other infrastructure needs is becoming a more prominent concern in Sacramento as the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act comes into action.  California’s water concerns are also gaining more attention in Washington, as even President Donald Trump has made several comments in relation to building water infrastructure.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West