Gov. Brown Wants Cap-and-Trade Tax Funds for Costly Bullet Train

Image: Gov. Brown Wants Cap-and-Trade Tax Funds for Costly Bullet Train

Wednesday, 08 Jan 2014 09:04 AM

By Courtney Coren

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Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown of California wants to use cap-and-trade funds to pay for the bullet train project in the Golden Gate state, a proposal that is gaining opposition from environmental groups that are typically the governor's allies.

"The high-speed rail board is trying to make the best of a troubled situation, but I don't think raiding cap-and-trade is the right direction to go," Bruce Reznik, executive director of the Planning and Conservation League told the Los Angeles Times.

In November, a Sacramento County Superior Court judge blocked almost $9 million in bonds from being used for the train project, which was considered a major blow to the high-speed rail system.

According to the Times, Brown is expected to announce a proposal on Friday to the state legislature that would allow the state to use $250 million of cap-and-trade revenue to put toward the train project.

Democratic Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said that the proposal would be subject to "a very robust legal analysis" to see if what the governor is proposing legally possible.

Dave Clegern, spokesman for the Air Resources Board, said that he's not worried about potential legal problems.

"We have a pretty good legal department, and they vet these things very carefully," Clegern said.

Environmental groups have largely been supporters of the high-speed rail project. They see it as a means to possibly reducing highway construction and to reduce the public's dependance on fossil fuel. However, they have expressed concerns about the effect the route could have on sensitive environments, especially since the governor has suggested exempting the project from parts of some environmental laws.

The idea of using cap-and-trade funds for the train project is not new, according to a spokeswoman for the California High-Speed Rail Authority, saying that it has been on a list of a possible source of funding put together by the Air Sources Board for a while.


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