SB 5 Will Provide Much-Needed Funding for Water and Parks Projects
SACRAMENTO – As the 2017 legislative session came to a close today, the California State Assembly passed a $4 billion water and parks bond today on a 54-19 vote. The measure, SB 5 (De León), authorizes the issuance of general obligation bonds for a variety of water and parks projects, subject to voter approval.
“Our parks add vibrancy to this state and to all of our lives,” said Assemblymember Bloom (D-Santa Monica), who co-authored the bill. “From the forests that sequester carbon to the neighborhood parks that provide children with safe spaces to play, restoring and protecting our parks was made a priority today. Water is also a critical resource to our state and SB 5 will help ensure that it is properly managed, treated, and protected.”
SB 5 provides funding for an array of parks and water projects throughout the state. The parks projects that will receive funding include the creation of local parks in park-poor neighborhoods, investments in trails and greenways, and improvements in existing state park facilities to address a $1.2 billion backlog in deferred maintenance. The water projects to be funded include ocean protection, clean drinking water, drought preparedness, and flood protection. Several of the projects - including coastal protection, access to clean drinking water, and the expansion of wildlife corridors - have been priorities for Assemblymember Bloom, who chairs the Budget Subcommittee on Resources and Transportation. Additionally, Bloom’s District is guaranteed $37.5 million for the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and eligible for up to $1.6 million in per capita funding, $30 million for trails and greenways, $40 million in local bond initiative funding, and $175 million for ocean, bay, and coastal protection projects.
In order to ensure that funds are allocated to the communities that need it most, the measure requires a minimum of 20% of the funds to be allocated for projects serving severely disadvantaged communities. Additionally, it requires the many agencies receiving funds to develop guidelines that encourage efficient use of water supplies, use of recycled water, and recharge of groundwater supplies.
“As Chair of the Budget Subcommittee on Resources & Transportation and as an avid park user, I’ve witnessed the magnificence of our state parks and water resources firsthand, as well as the problems and challenges they currently face. Many of these challenges – droughts, floods, and wildfires– will be exacerbated by climate change. SB 5 will give us the tools to address existing needs and prepare for future challenges.”