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Big money for clean vehicles in California cap-and-trade spending deal

California Gov. Jerry Brown, left, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) have reached an agreement on cap-and-trade spending. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)
California Gov. Jerry Brown, left, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) have reached an agreement on cap-and-trade spending. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

California will use cap-and-trade revenue for a massive investment in clean trucks, buses, cars and other vehicles, according to details of an agreement obtained by The Times on Monday evening.

The $1.5-billion spending plan comes less than two months after lawmakers extended the state’s cap-and-trade program, which requires companies to buy permits to emit greenhouse gases, until 2030.

The spending negotiations included more money than usual because some was left over from the previous fiscal year, held in reserve by Gov. Jerry Brown until cap and trade’s future was secure.

Here are some highlights on how the $1.5 billion would be spent if it passes the Legislature before it adjourns for the year at the end of the week.

— The biggest-ticket item is $895 million for new vehicles, a priority repeatedly highlighted by Senate Democrats. The money would flow through a variety of programs, including $140 million to the state's ports, $85 million for farm vehicles and $140 million for electric car rebates.

— Brown originally wanted $300 million to help local regulators improve air quality in polluted neighborhoods, a goal that was packaged with the cap-and-trade extension passed by the Legislature in July. That part of the plan was reworked so the money flows through a clean vehicle program, an investment that supporters hope will yield quicker dividends for the same communities.

— Forest management, fire prevention and emergency response would receive $225 million. This was one of the issues pushed by the Assembly Republicans who voted to help Democrats extend the cap-and-trade program.

— A variety of other programs would see more money under the deal, including $18 million for weatherizing low-income homes, $46 million for urban forestry and greening and $15 million for restoring wetlands. 

It's important to remember that the $1.5 billion doesn't include all of the cap-and-trade program’s revenue. 

An additional $900 million wasn't up for debate because it's being automatically distributed according to an annual formula. 

That includes $375 million for building the bullet train from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

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