State water bond talks resume Friday; Wolk remains at the helm

By From page A5 | July 25, 2014

Negotiations on a state water bond were scheduled to resume Friday, 10 days before the Legislature officially reconvenes for its final 2014 session.

A new bond would replace the $11.14 billion option on the November ballot. Many fear that measure, written in 2009, is too big to pass muster with voters.

The water bond would provide funding for restoration, storage, cleanup, recycling and infrastructure projects related to state and local water supply. Before the break, a $10.5 billion version of the bond stalled in the Senate, and Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, along with her co-sponsors, pared it down to $7.5 billion.

The Assembly planned to release an $8.25 billion bond in an Appropriations Committee meeting before the break, but those plans were delayed, and Gov. Jerry Brown has requested a $6 billion bond with $2 billion in water storage.

Before Wolk’s $10.5 billion proposal, the main contention was around water storage and legislative oversight of those projects; it has since turned to delta conservancy funding. Proponents of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan — the twin tunnels project — are urging Republican lawmakers to hold out for pro-tunnel funding. The $7.5 billion plan calls for all state projects in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to have a local partner, and remains tunnel-neutral.

The Senate and Assembly have until Aug. 14 to come up with a bond that can pass with a two-thirds vote in the Legislature. Otherwise, Wolk said she would consider moving to delay the public vote on the water bond a third time, leaving it to the 2016 election season.

Elizabeth Case

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