Monday, January 30, 2012

Calif. governor: Cap-and-trade to fund HSR

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California Gov. Jerry Brown said Sunday the state’s 700-mile high speed rail project will cost far less than the state's current estimate of nearly $100 billion, and also said that environmental fees paid by carbon producers will be a source of funding.

During a TV interview Sunday in Los Angeles, Brown asserted, "It's not going to be $100 billion.” He added, "That's way off."

The governor remains steadfast in support for the project despite increasingly negative news coverage, coinciding with growing discomfort within the state legislature.

"Phase 1, I'm trying to redesign it in a way that in and of itself will be justified by the state investment," Brown said. "We do have other sources of money: For example, cap-and-trade, which is this measure where you make people who produce greenhouse gasses pay certain fees— that will be a source of funding going forward for the high speed rail."

The annual spending plan released this month by the governor’s office includes $1 billion in cap-and-trade revenue for programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. "Further detail on specific program areas will be developed when there is more certainty of fees received from the Cap and Trade Program,” the plan said.