LOCAL PolitiCal

Lawmakers reach deal on $7.5 billion water bond, Republican leader says

Water bond plan includes $2.7 billion for water storage. Republicans had pushed for $3 billion
$7.5 billion water bond measure replaces a $11.1 billion bond that had been slated for the November ballot
New water bond ballot measure includes funds for ground water cleanup, new reservoirs

State Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff on Wednesday said a deal has been reached on a ballot measure for a $7.5 billion water bond, following a flurry of last minute negotiations over funding for new reservoirs.

Republican lawmakers had pushed for $3 billion for water storage projects, such as reservoirs, and ultimately agreed to a $2.7 billion plan.

The proposal awaits a vote in both the Assembly and Senate, scheduled for this evening, as well as Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature.

Huff (R-Diamond Bar) predicts "huge bipartisan support" for $7.5 billion water bond. Republican votes are required for the bond measure to pass, since it requires a two-thirds vote in both chambers to be placed on the November ballot.

Democratic Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg, of Sacramento, was more coy on pronouncing a deal but said he was “confident it’s going to be a very good day.”

“We hit the sweet spot when it comes to a balance between the various water needs of California -- between storage, groundwater, clean drinking water and the whole host of other investments that are in this bond,” Steinberg said in an interview before the vote.

The measure replaces an $11.1 billion bond written by lawmakers in 2009 that was set to go before voters this November. Legislators had already postponed a statewide vote on the bond twice, fearing criticism over its high price tag would doom it at the polls.

The new plan would authorize $7.12 billion in new borrowing and claims $425 million of previously-approved state bond money that has not been used.

It would put $2.7 billion toward storage projects, such as reservoirs, which was a top priority for agriculture interests in the Central Valley and Republican lawmakers.

Another $800 million would go towards cleanup of groundwater contaminants, which was a top priority for Los Angeles-area lawmakers.   


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