Capitol Alert

California lawmakers headed to Panama for canal launch

A Panama Canal Authority crane ship tests the newly expanded Panama Canal locks in Cocoli, Panama on Monday, June 20, 2016.
A Panama Canal Authority crane ship tests the newly expanded Panama Canal locks in Cocoli, Panama on Monday, June 20, 2016. AP

California lawmakers will travel to Central America next week to attend the opening ceremony for a newly widened Panama canal.

A multi-billion dollar project to expand the historic trade route is intended to ease congestion and allow larger ships to pass through. Major changes to maritime shipping are of particular interest to California given the state’s large network of ports.

The author of a 2014 bill to update California’s international trade policy explicitly mentioned preparing for the canal project’s implications, and a 2014 Senate delegation visited Panama to learn about the project.

The California delegation will include Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Paramount, Assembly Speaker Emeritus Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, and Assemblymen Tony Thurmond, D-Richmond, and Jose Medina, D-Riverside.

They’ll be meeting with the mayor of Panama City in addition to attending the opening ceremony, according to Rendon spokesman Kevin Liao, and will pay for the trip out of campaign funds.

Jeremy B. White: 916-326-5543, @CapitolAlert

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