Sacramento – In the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Resources, Environmental Protection, Energy and Transportation hearing yesterday, Senator Brian Jones (R-Santee) supported several funding items that would benefit many communities in San Diego County and throughout the state.
- Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Trust Fund - The Governor's budget proposes using $35 million in 2019-20 and 2020-21 from the OHV Trust Fund for local assistance program compliance. The intent of local assistance grants is to make funds available to aid local agencies to acquire, develop, construct, maintain, administer, and conserve the state's trails and areas for the use of off-highway motor vehicles. With Jones’ vote, the subcommittee approved keeping this funding in the proposed budget as it moves forward.
- Prop. 68 - Also known as the California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access Bond, was approved by the voters on June 5, 2018 and provides $4.1 billion for a variety of needs in the areas of natural resources and environmental protection. Jones and others on the subcommittee expressed concerns to the representatives from the Department of Parks & Recreation as well as the Department of Finance that more should be done to ensure that disadvantaged youth could gain access to parks, trails, and forest areas and that funds for access may not be getting distributed as intended. Both departments committed to continue working with the Senators to explore ways to increase access.
- State Emergency Vehicle Fleet – $3.5 million in funds were proposed by the Governor for much needed equipment and facilities at numerous state parks, including for a search & rescue plane covering Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA) as well as emergency trucks and boats for other state parks along the coast. The members of the subcommittee supported this funding request.
- State Park Capital Outlay Projects – The Governor proposed to spend $19 million on a variety of state park needs statewide including $2.5 million for improvements to the Ocotillo Wells SVRA auto and truck shop and upgrades for the nearby Holmes Camp Water system. This funding proposal is being held open for future discussions and eventual placement in the upcoming budget.
Jones commented after the hearing, “I am pleased that these important items moved along in bipartisan manner. I am grateful for the Governor’s input in some of these, and I look forward to discussing them when they make it to the full budget committee.”