Capitol Alert

Lawmakers likely to put off spending cap-and-trade money

Gov. Jerry Brown discusses the scaling back of proposal to address climate change that he supported during a news conference, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015, in Sacramento, Calif.
Gov. Jerry Brown discusses the scaling back of proposal to address climate change that he supported during a news conference, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015, in Sacramento, Calif. AP

With negotiations on transportation funding faltering, Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers are likely to again put off a dispute over how to spend more than $1 billion in in cap-and-trade revenue, money polluters pay to offset carbon emissions, sources said.

Brown and legislative leaders agreed in May to defer cap-and-trade negotiations until after the annual budget was adopted, but it appears now that money will remain unallocated until after the legislative session ends this week. The money can be spent on programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as transit systems.

The administration estimates about $1.2 billion in cap-and-trade money is available, with another $500 million in reserve. Brown had offered to put up $500 million annually in cap-and-trade revenue as part of a transportation deal, but lawmakers said Wednesday they do not expect to reach a deal on road funding before the regular session ends.

The dispute affects less than half of the cap-and-trade fund. The rest has already had been set aside for high-speed rail, transit and other programs.

Legislation extending the cap-and-trade program beyond a 2020 sunset date was also likely to stall, sources said. Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, authored Assembly Bill 1288 to ensure the carbon emissions reduction program, which has spurred lawsuits and regular political fights even as it reaps billions for the state, can continue indefinitely.

David Siders: 916-321-1215, @davidsiders

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