Budget includes $14.8 billion for transportation infrastructure projects

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California Construction News staff writer

The state budget passed last week included $14.8 billion for transportation infrastructure projects – transit, climate adaptation, high speed rail and ports. The California legislature has approved an energy plan that gives the state broad authority to approve new proposals and purchase electricity from a group of plants that are scheduled to be retired in the next few years — the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant and a group of high-polluting natural gas-fired plants on the Southern California coast.

The bill authorizes the Department of Water Resources to buy power from fossil fuel plants and Diablo Canyon, the state’s lone remaining nuclear facility, when power supplies are low. It also allows the state to approve construction of new solar, wind and other green-energy facilities without approval from local governments.

“We have to balance those needs (for green energy) with the need to keep our constituents’ lights on,” State Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahn, D-Orinda said.

The state budget passed last week includes $53.9 billion in new “green” investments to better protect Californians from the extreme weather. There are investments in fire protection and drought response and “forging an oil-free future away from big polluters.”

Another $2.2 billion was earmarked for encampment resolutions around the state and new bridge housing to support people going through CARE Court.

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