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Californians to Vote on $7.5 Billion Water Plan

 

Driven to action by the state's historic drought, California lawmakers on Wednesday voted to place a $7.5 billion water plan before voters in November.

The measure marks the largest investment in decades in the state's water infrastructure and is designed to build reservoirs, clean up contaminated groundwater and promote water-saving technologies.

It replaces an existing water bond that was approved by a previous Legislature but was widely considered too costly and too bloated with pork-barrel projects to win favor with voters.

After weeks of difficult negotiations, the ballot measure sailed through both houses of the Legislature: 77-2 in the Assembly and 37-0 in the Senate. Republican Tim Donnelly of Twin Peaks and Democrat Wesley Chesbro of Arcata cast the dissenting votes in the Assembly.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed the legislation, AB1471, shortly after the Legislature acted. Citing the overwhelming bipartisan support, the Democratic governor said he probably had never seen Democrats and Republicans so united in his lifetime.

"It's about water, it's about our future, it's about Californians coming together," Brown said.

The evening votes in the Assembly and Senate came after the Democratic governor and lawmakers from both parties were finally able to clear their main hurdle, a disagreement about how much money should be spent on new reservoirs and other storage projects.

A state with a population that exceeds 38 million and an agricultural industry that feeds the nation has been struggling to meet the increasing demands for water after three dry winters.

Read more from the Associated Press at ABC News

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