Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration has released its list of California priorities for a potential federal infrastructure funding package backed by President Trump. The list is noteworthy not only for the projects it includes but for the ones left off.
On the list? Highway projects throughout the state, including new carpool and toll-charging express lanes. California’s earthquake early warning system. And, of course, Brown’s legacy projects: high-speed rail and the Delta tunnels.
“Mostly, the projects that we have submitted all have a request of $100 million or more,“ says the governor's transportation secretary, Brian Kelly. “So we really did focus on larger projects with clear, long-term and short-term benefits to the state.”
Notably absent? Two prominent water storage projects backed strongly by California Republicans: Sites Reservoir northeast of Sacramento and Temperance Flat Dam northeast of Fresno.
The Brown administration did include the expansion of San Luis Reservoir, in the Central Valley. It says the state isn’t ready to recommend Sites or Temperance Flat yet, because it’s still working through how it will release the billions of dollars in 2014 state water bond funding for storage projects.
Local projects on the governor’s list include the Sacramento streetcar system; improving Regional Transit’s vehicle fleet; expanding carpool lanes on I-5 between Sacramento and Elk Grove; and a host of flood control projects, such as raising Folsom Dam.
With President Trump and the Republican Congress expected to set the agenda in Washington, it’s unclear whether Brown’s list will attract GOP support. It’s also not clear how much resistance there might be to funding California’s priority projects, given how strongly the state’s leading Democrats – with the exception of the governor – have slammed Trump’s executive actions.
Meanwhile, the governor’s office says Brown and Democratic legislative leaders have agreed to set an early April deadline for a state transportation funding package – a deal that’s been elusive over the last two years.