SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday proposed spending $437 million on flood control and emergency response in the waterlogged state.
The Democratic governor asked state lawmakers to redirect $50 million from the general fund and requested a $387 million appropriation from the voter-approved 2014 Proposition 1 water bond.
“We’ve got to belly up to the bar and start spending money,” Brown said in a news conference at the state Capitol.
Brown also is seeking updates on flood inundation maps and emergency action plans as well as enhanced dam inspections.
Northern California has received more than twice the normal amount of rain and snow this winter, breaking five years of drought.
Full rivers and water surging from dam spillways are pouring water into the Central Valley, a 450-mile-long depression running north and south through the heart of California. The region absorbs runoff from coastal mountains and the Sierra Nevada.
California has $187 billion in unmet needs for water and transportation infrastructure, Brown said. He suggested it can only be addressed with tax increases but said he wasn’t prepared to offer “the full answer” to raising enough money to shore up infrastructure.
“This is not an isolated set of problems,” Brown said. “It’s part of a larger picture of a state with 40 million people having to deal with the impacts of a modern civilization. Despite what you hear from many conservatives, there has to be a very healthy public expenditure based on taxes.”
In letters to officials in President Donald Trump’s administration, Brown asked for an expedited environmental review to speed up what he characterized as the state’s most urgent infrastructure needs.
He identified repairs at the damaged Oroville Dam and nine other projects, including high speed rail, major highway improvements in Southern California and the San Francisco Bay Area, and demolition of the old Bay Bridge.
Brown said he hopes the state will see $12 billion over each of the next 10 years as part of Trump’s proposal to generate $1 trillion in infrastructure spending.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.