California Legislature Stalls on High-Speed Rail, Delays Funding for Other Projects

State legislators' refusal to pass HSR funding will return hundreds of millions slated for active transportation and other projects to the state's general fund.

September 20, 2021, 10:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

When negotiations over California High-Speed Rail funding stalled last week, reports Melanie Curry, "a number of unrelated programs that were slated to receive some of the general fund surplus will not get that funding." This includes $500 million for active transportation, $2.5 billion for the Transit and Intercity Capital Rail Program, $200 million for Climate Adaptation Planning Grants, and $100 million for Climate Adaptation Projects in the State Highway Operation and Protection Program.

As we reported earlier this month, "Governor Newsom requested $4.2 billion, the total left from $9.9 billion in bond funding approved by voters in 2008, but 'Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and other Democrats have argued for directing the money to other urban transportation projects.'"

This means that "[t]he California High-Speed Rail Authority likely won’t get access to the rest of the money approved by voters in 2008 until next year at the earliest. Lawmakers trying to get more money for regional projects in their districts will also have to wait." Staff for the Active Transportation Program "were poised to allocate extra funds to projects that have already applied, scored highly, and were not awarded money because there wasn’t enough in the program." 

"While it’s possible that, come January, these funds might be revived, there’s no telling whether the state will continue to enjoy a surplus like it did in this unpredictable year." 

Tuesday, September 7, 2021 in Streetsblog California

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