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Restore the Delta seeks details on Delta Tunnels/CA WaterFix funding

Restore the Delta has sent a detailed request under the California Public Records Act to the California Department of Water Resources and five other public agencies seeking details on the funding plan for the proposed Delta Tunnels (CA WaterFix).

The letter asks the agencies for copies of documents relating to the project, including meeting minutes, presentations, contracts, requests for proposals, and financial records. They also seek answers to several
questions, including sources of planning and design funding for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and the California WaterFix projects, including the role of the Department of Water Resources, debt accrued as part of the planning, and an assurance that “…best practices consistent and compliant with the taxation principles of the California Constitution as amended by Propositions 218 and 26…” are being followed. Proposition 218 requires local governments to get majority voter approval for increased or new taxes and limits how general tax revenue can be used, while Proposition 26 limits the legislature’s ability to raise revenue through imposing or increasing fees.

The letter focuses on the lack of transparency surrounding the financing of the Delta Tunnels project, and the possibility that local tax- and ratepayers will be on the hook for infrastructure designed to export water to large-scale farming operations on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.

According to Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta said, “No finance plan has been made public. … The agencies promoting the project have been very secretive about how interim project costs have been paid to date and how the project will be paid for in the future. The original concept was a project funded by the beneficiaries, which is important since 70 percent of the water will go to big industrial growers.”

Source: http://restorethedelta.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/PRA-Tunnels-Financing.pdf

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