On Tuesday, Assemblyman Jim Frazier joined the Kiwanis Club of the Delta-Antioch to discuss issues facing East Contra Costa County and the Delta.
Although the meeting provided several updates, a majority of the 30-minute discussion was spent on the Delta and Governor Jerry Brown’s Plan to build a tunnels to help transport water to Southern California.
Frazier is no fan of the plan and will continue to oppose it.
“I have a huge issue. I am absolutely opposed as a business owner and as an individual with the delta in my backyard to the thoughtless process that they are going forward with on the tunnels,” said Frazier.
Frazier explained how he had a hearing in Sacramento to bring the California Department of Water Resources and other stakeholders together with a focus on Chapter 8 of the EIR/EIS. Frazier pointed out that the purpose of focusing on only Chapter 8 was to discuss the funding mechanism only.
“As a lot of you know there are 30,000 pages in this document (BDCP) and we wanted to not muddy the waters and make sure we had an opportunity to focus on the funding mechanism that the water agencies and the Governor say are going to make this happen.”
Frazier stated his hearing exposed some serious problems in funding—which is all on record.
“We drilled so many holes in this funding mechanism from the Matsui letter to Governor Grown saying that the $4 billion in funding they are counting on from the Federal Government is not coming. That is absolutely not coming to California for this project,” stated Frazier.
He further explained how when they were asked if they fall short on BDCP funding, what happens—because they are taking 140,000 acres of farmlands off the books to restore it to wetlands which effects the tax rolls and the economy which ultimately costs California jobs.
“On public record said they would not continue with the Habitat Conservation Plan. They would do the tunnels and forgo all the other parts of the project,” explained Frazier. “But we have that on record now and so we are utilizing that with their 750-unmitigatable impacts on the environment. They are significant impacts.”
In response, Frazier has introduced AB1671 where it requires Legislative Oversight and approval by the California State Assembly and State Senate. Frazier admits it will not stop the project, but it will increase transparency and allow more people to weigh in on the project.
“It’s not that I do not appreciate my Governor but I think that we should have an opportunity to have a voice for our constituents. If this project goes forward, it is my feeling, and a lot of you have seen a lot of the mega-projects in this state have not been managed well. There is this bridge (Bay Bridge) that went 5-to-6 times over its price it was originally intended,” said Frazier. “This project right now is $24 billion, but the real cost that has come out and they agreed to it is $67 billion.”
It was explained that before the project even begins, they will have spent $256 million on project planning—currently they are just 10% of planning and they will need another $1.2 billion to finish the plans for this project which does not include land acquisitions or anything like that.
“We were hoping the Governor would listen to us on this project because by default if this project has anything like history it will be a quarter of a trillion dollars before it actually done,” explained Frazier. “By default, the state will pay for the whole thing because the cost makes it unaffordable by the intended users.”
Frazier ultimately calls the project a boondoggle which will create havoc among water agencies, ratepayers and the state.
- Freshman Year – Did 600 events within the District with him being in the Capital 8 months. He explained that he enjoys being out with his constituents and trying to solve problems.
- Courts – Spoke about touring Contra Costa County Courts – Courts alone asking $376 million to provide services—lines could be 6-hours long for simple tasks. Governor’s office has offered them $100 million.
- 160-Connector – When he served on the TRANSPLAN committee at a local level, he helped bring $50 million savings through Antioch Bridge to do 160-Connector to ensure both directions to and from the bridge have easier access. They will be breaking ground next month putting 700 people to work and an 18-month project.
“It’s a great thing for everybody in the region so that the bypass can be used as designed. It’s a great project for work and improving efficiencies,” said Frazier.
The Antioch Kiwanis Club meets every Tuesday at Denny’s on Lone Tree Way in Antioch at 7:00 am.
To contact Assemblymember Jim Frazier please visit his website at http://www.asmdc.org/members/a11/ or call his District Offices at 707-399-3011 or 925-778-5790.