Wilk bill to repurpose high-speed rail funds for water projects fails in committee

SACRAMENTO –Yesterday afternoon, Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, presented Assembly Bill 1866, which would give California voters the chance in November of 2016 to repurpose up to $8 billion in high-speed rail bonds to fund desperately needed water infrastructure projects. The measure failed on a party line vote with the majority party voting down the measure in the Assembly Transportation Committee.

“The high-speed rail project has proven to be an epic failure,” Wilk said. “From the onset, expected travel times, cost projections, and construction timelines have all been either unacceptable or nonexistent. In the midst of our severe drought, AB 1866 would take the $8 billion in taxpayer dollars and use it in a rational, responsible way that would benefit all Californians: water infrastructure.”

In 2008, voters narrowly approved Proposition 1A providing $9 billion in general obligation bonds for high-speed rail purposes and $950 million for other related rail purposes. AB 1866 is a chance for voters to repurpose high-speed rail tax dollars wisely, capitalize on rainfall, and invest in water infrastructure for the future. The proposed water projects included the building of desalination plants and reservoirs, wastewater treatment and recycling facilities, water delivery infrastructure, and aquifer recharge.