Governor Jerry Brown will release a proposed budget on Friday that will prominently feature revenues from the cap-and-trade auction held last year. Part of the budget calls for spending $250 million this year on high-speed rail, irking some environmentalists and pundits. This is despite the fact that the $250 million represents only 17% of the cap-and-trade funds. The rest will be spent on initiatives that would combat climate change such as forest management and home improvements.
The new year will prove pivotal for the HSR project, as Brown will most likely run again for office amidst a wave of support from prospective voters. Whoever challenges Brown to the governorship is bound to use his support of the controversial project as an expression of his perceived lack of fiscal control. Opponents will cite declining support among voters as a means to undermine his potential campaign. Additionally, the authority in charge of overseeing construction has yet to make a definitive decision as to when the project will break ground, frustrating project observers.