Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to use fees paid by carbon producers to help finance the state's high-speed rail project is expected to amount to $250 million next budget year, a sum that could provide a significant lift to the project but frustrate environmentalists already upset about the diversion of fees.
Brown is expected to include the proposal in the annual budget plan he will release Friday, sources told The Sacramento Bee. The amount is included in about $750 million in total cap-and-trade funds the governor is expected to propose allocating among transportation, green energy and other programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition, Brown is expected to propose paying back part of a $500 million loan from the cap-and-trade program to the state general fund included in this year's budget. The amount of the repayment is expected to be $100 million.
Many environmentalists criticized the loan last year and have bristled at the idea of using cap-and-trade money for high-speed rail, saying other projects could have a more immediate impact on greenhouse gas reduction.
Brown's office has declined to discuss the budget ahead of its release.
PHOTO: A view of the interior of a station in the proposed high speed rail network. Rendering by Newlands and Company Inc., 2008.