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Bond Funds Shouldn’t Mitigate Peripheral Tunnels Damage

Bond Funds Shouldn’t Mitigate Peripheral Tunnels Damage,
Would Take Money from Schools, Public Safety;
Unspent Bond Funds should be used for Levee Improvement,
State spending should promote regional water self-sufficiency

SACRAMENTO, CA – Restore the Delta (RTD), a coalition opposed to the Brown Administration’s Peripheral Tunnels, today announced that it opposes using state bond funds to mitigate environmental damage from the tunnels. To do so would take funds from public education and safety to service bond debt. Any state funds should instead promote regional water self-sufficiency. Restore the Delta’s Policy Analyst Jane Wagner-Tyack said, “At least $2 billion from previous water bonds is still unspent on the projects voters intended them for: Delta levees, flood management, and regional multi-benefit projects. The majority of water system spending in California is already local, and any additional state resources should go toward the kind of regional self-sufficiency projects that will reduce reliance on the Delta and lead to water independence for all the taxpayers and ratepayers of California.”

“With almost $93 billion in long-term indebtedness, the State of California cannot afford the proposed $11.14 billion water bond. The California State Treasurer’s Office estimates that the debt service on the bond will top $24 billion and obligate taxpayers until 2051. Earmarking those bond funds for specific projects as the current bond does ties legislators’ hands if priorities change. And bond funds certainly should not go to mitigate environmental damage resulting from a massive infrastructure project like the Peripheral Tunnels. These tunnels will cause more environmental problems than they can even begin to solve, and will drain the water from productive regions to benefit a few large corporate farms on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley that contribute less than .3% to the state’s GDP. Costs for debt service come off the top of the state’s General Fund, so every dollar spent paying down debt is a dollar not available for education, health care, and other programs.”

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