Negotiations over more than $ 4.2 billion in high-speed train funds approved by voters were halted last week, meaning a number of independent programs that were to receive some of the money. general fund surplus will not get this funding.
This means that there is no increase of $ 500 million for the active transportation program, where staff were prepared to allocate additional funds to projects that have already applied, achieved good results and did not receive money because there was not enough in the program.
It also means that an offer to add around $ 1 billion to transportation improvement projects in Los Angeles for the 2028 Olympics is not on the table.
These were part of the $ 3.3 billion investments proposed as part of Governor Newsom’s $ 11 billion return to California plan. These were marked with a provision inserted into the budget bill that required new legislation before the end of the session – which, due to legislative delays, effectively means today, even if the legislature does not close. not until Friday – or their funding would go to the general fund. The new legislation was supposed to include an agreement on the $ 4.2 billion high-speed rail bond fund the High-Speed Rail Authority requested earlier this year.
These negotiations ended last week, effectively cutting programs. Today, the new budget invoices – which would have been the way out of the deadlock – include language acknowledging that funding for these programs will now revert to the general fund. See the Assembly’s report on the budget here, in particular on pages 7 and 15.
Opposition from legislative leaders – particularly Assembly Transport Speaker Laura Friedman, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Senate Speaker Toni Atkins – to releasing funds for the high-speed rail program has grown more important than ATP and the other transit programs they claim to be. in support of.
The money donated to the general fund includes:
- $ 500 million for the active transportation program
- $ 2.5 billion for the Transit and Intercity Capital Rail Program. Inside of that, there is roughly $ 1 billion for transportation upgrades for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.
- $ 200 million for climate adaptation planning grants, under Caltrans local assistance program
- $ 100 million for climate adaptation projects under the State’s Highway Operation and Protection Program
While it is possible that in January these funds will be revived, it is unclear whether the state will continue to enjoy a surplus as it did in this unpredictable year. And until about next week, it may not be clear who will be governor, or if there will be a California High-Speed Rail champion in the capital.
See high speed rail angle coverage here.