Briefly last week supporters of California’s high-speed train project had something to cheer about. The state legislature, in approving a budget for 2014-15, voted to divert $250 million of expected cap-and-trade funds to the project, and subsequently allocating 25 percent of such funds during each year of construction.
Governor Jerry Brown initially called this his “legacy” project. He doesn’t use that term any more, but he nevertheless worked assiduously with legislative leaders to come up with the funds that go into effect July 1. Why the urgency?
Typically, an infrastructure project involving federal matching funds must begin with the state putting its own money down first. Under the rules here, California must spend those federal funds by September 2017. Project planners feared that wouldn’t happen if they didn’t get a move on now.