California’s cap-and-trade system continues to hum along, and the state has begun to dole out the revenues:
The biggest beneficiary is the state’s high-speed rail line, which so far has reaped $750 million. Transit agencies in the San Francisco and greater Los Angeles regions each garnered $41 million. A reclamation district in Sacramento County received $10.4 million to build wetlands. Other recipients include cities, water districts, affordable home developers, trash companies, environmental groups, schools, farms and individuals.
HSR is slated to get 25% of annual cap-and-trade revenues, which is a significant sum in the coming years, helping put the project on a more stable financial footing.
Not everyone is happy about that:
“There’s a disproportionate amount going to high-speed rail compared to the other needs,” said Bill Magavern, policy director with the Coalition for Clean Air.
The state instead should accelerate funds to clean up buses and trucks that move freight, he said. That would “not only reduce greenhouse gases but provide quick relief to people who are breathing polluted air.”
California ought to do both, rather than undermine HSR and its significant long-term CO2 reductions just because a few people, like Magavern, do not understand 21st century transportation systems. Giving 25% of the cap-and-trade money to HSR isn’t disproportionate at all, it’s a reasonable sum for a project that will not only help meet the state’s long-term CO2 reduction goals on its own, but will catalyze other CO2 reducing projects as a result.
Sacramento Republicans continue to try and strip the HSR funds and redirect cap-and-trade revenues toward road maintenance, but so far Democrats have wisely refused to agree to that absurd demand.