Assemblymember Garcia’s $4 Billion CA Park Bond Heads to Governor’s Desk

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Funding for 10 yr. Salton Sea Management Plan, clean drinking water, and disadvantaged community parks grants secured in SB 5

Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia and Senate pro Temp de Leon at SB 5 park bond rally

(SACRAMENTO, CA)— Early this morning, SB 5, California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access For All Act of 2018 (De León/E. Garcia) was met with legislative success and will now advance to the Governor’s desk for signature. 


 “Californian families can rejoice at today’s legislative victory! SB 5 is an exemplary depiction of legislative cooperation between both houses that will bring $4 billion in long overdue investments into our state’s water, parks and recreational infrastructure. I truly, commend the leadership of Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León and Speaker Anthony Rendon for nurturing this bill to completion; ensuring that it equitably and accurately reflects the needs of all California, from coast to coast,” exclaimed Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, (D-Coachella) Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks, and Wildlife.


“Investments in parks are not solely about recreation, they are also about public safety, education, health, wellness and creating infinite opportunities for our communities to succeed and thrive.”


“This measure also appropriates money for safe, clean, reliable drinking water; programs critical for those living in rural, ill equipped places, application technical assistance and will prioritize 20% of its funding for parks projects in our state’s most disadvantaged areas, that lack adequate or in some cases any outdoor recreational infrastructure. Uniquely, this will level the playing field for rural communities, such as those in my district, to competitively pursue state park grant funding.”  


SB 5, California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access For All Act of 2018 highlights:  


  • Allocates $218 million to help address the state's severe deferred maintenance backlog to help improve state park facilities.


  • Designates per capita allocations for local parks, providing $200 million for grants to local communities with a minimum grant of $200,000 to a city or district, and $400,000 to counties depending on the granting area, among other funding allocations.


  • Provides $725 million for park-poor and disadvantaged communities competitive grant program to promote safer neighborhoods for this purpose; specifically setting aside $48 million for central valley, rural, gateway and desert communities. 


  • Contains multiple definitions to distinguish between disadvantaged and severely disadvantaged communities.


  • Provides $80 million competitive grants for treatment and remediation activities that reduce contamination of groundwater that serves as a source of drinking water.


  • Per capita grants geared for rural communities; funding for projects such as:
  1. $30 million for farm and ranch working land improvements
  2. $20 million for farmland conservancy programs
  3. $20 million for the Statewide Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program
  4. $10 million for healthy soils programs


  • The bill provides $25 million in rural investments, for competitive grants to communities including counties with populations of less than 500,000 people and low population densities per square mile.


  •  Allocates $550 million for flood management projects including those that would cover damages within the Central Valley.


  • State Obligations – measure begins to address the state's obligation to fund the adopted 10-year Salton Sea Management plan by setting aside $200 million to this mitigation project.  Additionally provides funding for levee improvements and to conservancies to continue the state's investments including within the State Plan of Flood Control.

For Garcia, perhaps the most significant provision in this measure is the funding allocation for the Salton Sea Authority and the California Natural Resources Agency to commence with mitigation projects outlined in the 10-year plan. 


“It was paramount for Senator Hueso and me to lock in substantial mitigation funds for the Salton Sea; a looming statewide environmental and public health threat, located within our districts,” explained Assemblymember Garcia.


“I am grateful that following negotiations and the continued advocacy of our regional stakeholders, we were able to acquire $200 million to fund the 10-Year Salton Sea Management Plan. The infusion of these state dollars is imperative to mitigating this imminent environmental, ecological, public health and economic disaster.”     


Just a few weeks ago, a delegation, comprised of both Imperial and Coachella Valley Salton Sea Authority members traveled to Sacramento to entreat Governor Brown to prioritize this measure as means to fund the 10-year plan.  


Provided the Governor signs this legislative proposal, this bond will next make its way onto the 2018 ballot. The fate of the Salton Sea and wellbeing of our communities will then rest upon the California electorate.