Will Cap-and-Trade Money Fund the High Speed Rail?

Governor Jerry Brown would like to fund a portion of California’s high-speed rail project with proceeds from cap-and-trade fees. Brown plans to propose directing millions of dollars garnered from carbon producers’ fees toward the $68 billion project. The governor would allocate hundreds of millions of dollars in 2014 alone.

California has already acquired $3.4 billion in federal funding to start constructing the rail. Project opponents, however, have challenged complementary state bond funding in court, creating a potential funding gap. In High Speed Rail Authority v. All Persons Interested, the Sacramento Superior Court declined to validate High Speed Rail Authority’s attempt to issue more than eight billion dollars in bonds to start construction. Construction, however, is still slated to begin early this year.

Governor Brown’s proposal will likely be included as part of his annual budget plan that will be released Friday, January 10, 2014.