AM 760 KFMB - Talk Radio Station - San Diego, CA - Gov. Brown allocates $250 million to high-speed rail project

Gov. Brown allocates $250 million to high-speed rail project

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SAN DIEGO (CNS/CBS 8) - While California's new budget earmarks $250 million to the state's controversial high-speed rail project, not everyone is on board with the $68 billion plan that would eventually link San Diego to Sacramento.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed the $156 billion budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year at a ceremony Friday in San Diego.

Along with $250 million allocated for the upcoming fiscal year, Brown has also earmarked 25 percent of California's 'cap-and-trade' revenue, a tax on companies designed to reduce the amount of pollutants they create, to the project. This would generate an additional $250 million annually for the high-speed rail project over the next decade.

It's a tax that critics say will be passed on to consumers at the gas pump.

"I thought it was a bad mistake," said state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier. "Gas prices will go up 12 to 20 cents per gallon, and 25 percent of that goes into something that doesn't reduce green house gases and won't be able to help with congestion at all."

Brown counters it is time the United States has the same type of efficient, high-speed rail service that China, France, Spain, Germany and other countries already have.

"I think we can do it," he said. "this high-speed rail is cheaper than more freeway lanes and more airport runways. It's better for the environment.

Brown's Republican opponent in the November election, former Treasury Department official Neel Kashkari, said the budget is a "giveaway for special interests paid for by working families," despite the "nation's highest poverty rate" and a "failing" education system.

"Higher gas prices for his pet High Speed Rail project, a last minute tax break for a favored industry and micro-managing local school spending from Sacramento -- Brown's budget priorities represent more of the same back-room dealing from Sacramento," Kashkari said. "Unfortunately for the millions of workers struggling to find good jobs, kids stuck in failing schools and families trying to make ends meet, this budget does nothing to provide a better future through economic opportunity for all."

After signing the budget, Brown traveled to Los Angeles for a function with Latino legislators.
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