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.