OPEN WITH SOUND OF BULLDOZER……
A bulldozer dumps loads of dirt on a damaged West Sacramento levee deemed a critical site by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
It’s just one of dozens of damaged levees in California.
Les Harder, with the State Department of Water Resources, says many are located in the Central Valley and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta:
A lot of the levees in the Delta were originally built 140 years ago. They are fragile. There’s been over 160 levee failures in the Delta over the last 100 years.
Right now, there are also flood control projects underway or planned around the state – in the Bay Area and Wine Country, Los Angeles and San Diego Counties, and other parts of Southern California.
The state doesn’t have the money to pay for all the work, so the legislature voted to put Prop 1E on the November ballot.
Harder says the bond would raise nearly 4 point 1 billion dollars to rebuild flood control structures:
We’ve seen from Hurricane Katrina, over a thousand lives lost just in one city, a hundred fifty billion dollars worth of damage – you know, a few billion dollars would have prevented a lot of the failures.
But there is another cost. The state’s non-partisan legislative analyst says tax payers will be hit with a collective 8 million dollars to pay off principal and interest over the 30 year length of the bond.
That cost is why Carole Goldberg with the California Taxpayer Protection Committee is opposed to the measure. She says the state should ask the federal government to pay for levee repairs:
Is it easier for them to just come to the taxpayers with their hand open, or go to a little extra trouble to go to the feds and figure out a way to get those funds?
Prop 1E is part of the five bond infrastructure package approved by the legislature, which also includes Propositions 1A through 1D.