Assemblyman Jim Patterson proposes new High Speed Rail funding bill

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As the state continues hunting for ways to finance high-speed rail a local assemblyman says he wants to make sure the money is not coming at the expense of highway repairs. (KFSN)

As the state continues hunting for ways to finance high-speed rail a local assemblyman says he wants to make sure the money is not coming at the expense of highway repairs.

You can find battered roads all across California. That's why local Assemblyman, Jim Patterson, says he's working to make sure money meant to repair them stays that way.

"When those funds are collected, they're supposed to go to highways. Here's the basic problem, a railroad is not a highway," Patterson.

Since 2015, hundreds of millions of dollars from the state highway fund, meant to repair roads, have been transferred over to pay for high-speed rail.

Republican lawmakers say as time goes on millions more will be drained.

"That's why this is a bait and switch and quite frankly my bill ends that," Patterson said.

Under a new assembly bill, taxes and fees collected in the state highway account will no longer be used to pay bond debt.

Patterson's office says principal interest payments from bonds will cost taxpayers more than 19-billion dollars over the next 30 years. They are worried some of that money will be funneled from the recently passed gas tax.

"Every dollar you take from the highway fund to pay for the debt of high-speed rail is one dollar less you have to fix roads and deal with construction."

We reached out to the High-Speed Rail Authority for comment but they have not responded.

Patterson says the hearing on his bill is scheduled for Monday afternoon.

Related Topics:
politicsbillshigh speed railhighwaysconstructionpoliticsFresno County
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