Mid-Valley legislators agree with focus on infrastructure
Mid-Valley legislators agree with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that California's infrastructure must be fixed, but they want to protect taxpayers from wasteful spending of state bond money.
“California's recent floods have shown our desperate need for levee improvements and a greater capacity to store more water to prevent flooding,” Assemblyman Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale, said in a statement Thursday night after Schwarzenegger's State of the State address.
“The governor clearly understands that we need to make infrastructure a priority,” LaMalfa said. “In order to do this, we must have iron-clad protections for California taxpayers who have had their pockets picked by previous bonds.”
He pledged to work with the governor to create protections for taxpayers.
Sen. Sam Aanestad had a similar
“New roads and improved levees are absolutely necessary, but without real reform, it's all just a mirage,” Aanestad, R-Grass Valley, said in a statement.
“Before I ask taxpayers to support a multi-billion dollar bond, I want to make sure that money goes to build real rock and concrete projects, not environmental concerns and more studies.”
Aanestad is wary of water bonds, such as those approved recently that only put 5 percent of the funds into actual construction work. Most of the funding was spent on mitigation, environmental easements and water assessments.
“I want assurances and guarantees that this multi-billion dollar bond will buy us safe levees and better highways, not new nature preserves, before I ask taxpayers to spend one dime,” Aanestad said. “We can't rebuild California without reform in the environmental review process.”
Assemblyman Rick Keene vowed that he, too will work for cost-effective solutions.
“California's water and highway infrastructure system has long been neglected,” said Keene, R-Chico. “Our levees are at risk, and our roads are congested and crumbling.”
Like the others, he wants to see the details.
“I really want to make sure level repair is part of the discussion,” Keene said. “I will make sure they will be part of the discussion. The question is whether this turns into real results.”
Appeal-Democrat reporter Daniel Witter can be reached at 749-4712. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.