Brown Proposes Spending Over $400 Million on Flood Control, Emergency Response

Gov. Brown says, overall, California has $187 billion worth of infrastructure needs that it must start addressing right away.

Gov. Brown says, overall, California has $187 billion worth of infrastructure needs that it must start addressing right away. (David McNew/Getty Images)

Gov. Jerry Brown is calling on the state to invest more than $400 million in flood control and emergency response. The governor’s move on Friday comes after heavy storms damaged a spillway at Oroville Dam earlier this month, forcing the evacuation of more than 100,000 people.

By the end of this fiscal year, $50 million for immediate flood prevention will be redirected to the general fund. Brown is also requesting the Legislature approve spending more than $380 million from the water bond voters approved in 2014. That money would go to various flood control projects over the coming two fiscal years.

Brown says, overall, California has $187 billion worth of infrastructure needs that it must start addressing right away.

“When the roof is leaking, if you don’t fix it, it will cost more later. So yeah, it’s serious, but I wouldn’t panic,” he said.

The damaged main Oroville Dam spillway next to the resultant severely eroded hillside.
The damaged main Oroville Dam spillway next to the resultant severely eroded hillside. (William Croyle/California Dept. of Water Resources)

Brown has sent a letter to President Trump listing 10 high-priority infrastructure projects he hopes the White House can assist with. But Brown acknowledges the state’s currently tense relationship with the administration presents some challenges.

“We have to, I think, walk a very thoughtful line here seeking help that we need, but also calling attention to those things that we object to and fighting vigorously when required,” Brown said.

California may have recently gotten a glimpse of what its contentious relationship with the federal government could cost the state. Last week, federal transportation officials said they’re delaying a $647 million grant that would have helped electrify Caltrain between San Jose and San Francisco. Brown called the project a no-brainer and questioned the motives behind the delay.

“If you’re not for that, you’re really not for infrastructure,” he said. “The only thing you can say for that is it’s scoring political points by politicians that know better and should do better.”

In addition to more spending for flood prevention, Brown also wants more detailed inspections of dam structures and legislation requiring emergency action plans for state-regulated dams.

The administration’s Department of Finance estimates that damages from storms throughout the state in January and February, including the Oroville Dam, will cost California more than $1 billion.

  • gbtmpgb

    CA is in top 5 of all states in tax rates(income tax, sales tax). Where is all this money going? Anybody has any idea?

    • Gary

      Ask Gov Brown about his (legacy) Bullet Train to nowhere.

Author

Katie Orr

Katie Orr is a Sacramento-based reporter for KQED's Politics and Government  Desk, covering the state Capitol and a variety of issues including women in politics, voting and elections and legislation. Prior to joining KQED in 2016, Katie was state government reporter for Capital Public Radio in Sacramento. She's also worked for KPBS in San Diego, where she covered City Hall.

Katie received her masters degree in political science from San Diego State University and holds a Bachelors degree in broadcast journalism from Arizona State University.

In 2015 Katie won a national Clarion Award for a series of stories she did on women in California politics. She's been honored by the Society for Professional Journalists and, in 2013, was named by The Washington Post as one of the country's top state Capitol reporters.   She's also reported for the award-winning documentary series The View from Here and was part of the team that won  national PRNDI and  Gabriel Awards in 2015. She lives in Sacramento with her husband. Twitter: @1KatieOrr

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