After rains soak California, Gov. Brown seeks $437 million for flooding repairs

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The winter soaking is far from over but Brown says $437 million is needed for the state's most pressing flood control problems. (KFSN)

With California trying to dry out after a series of storms, Governor Jerry Brown urged lawmakers Friday to spend the money needed for urgent repairs.

Crumbling roads and flooding problems could be found all over our water-logged state. The governor sent President Donald Trump a request for federal assistance.

The winter soaking is far from over, but Brown says $437 million is needed for the state's most pressing flood control problems. $50 million would come from the general fund, and he's asking lawmakers to approve $387 million in water bond money.

"The recent storms have had a real impact," Brown said. "We've got dam spillways eroding. We've got roadways crumbling. We have aging infrastructure and it's maxed out."

Brown pegged the state's unmet infrastructure needs at $187 billion and hinted a tax increase may be needed. The governor also called for an enhanced dam inspection program.

"We do inspect all the dams, but the state only owns about three percent of them," he said.

Damage is evident statewide from all the flooding. The Highway 41 entrance into Yosemite remains closed due to a deteriorating road. Levee concerns and flooding issues in Tranquillity led Fresno County to declare an emergency.

"If we're having problems now, early in the year, before the snow pack melts, it's only going to get worse in the next couple of months," Jean Russo with the county said. "So, this is a way to position ourselves if we have to bring in state and federal assistance."

The rainy season isn't over so the problems will continue to mount. Caltrans estimated the cost to repair flood damaged roads at $600 million.

The governor's budget advisor says state costs for responding to the winter storms will likely exceed $1 billion.
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