Bill to Extend Delta Levee Maintenance and Protection Program Advances in Senate

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SACRAMENTO – A bill by Assemblymember Jim Frazier’s (D–Discovery Bay) to strengthen Delta levees and flood protection efforts has been approved by the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee and is now in the hands of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Frazier’s AB 732 seeks to extend by two years a maintenance funding program that has been in place for more than 20 years and has greatly increased flood protection. Under the program, when a party responsible for maintaining a levee exceeds $1,000 per mile in maintenance costs, the state covers 75 percent of maintenance costs beyond that figure.

“Since the 75 percent state cost share began in 1996, levee failure has been reduced significantly,” said Frazier, who represents the 11th Assembly District, which has more of the Delta than any other Assembly District. “The Delta levees are some of the most important infrastructure investments in the state. The disaster at Oroville Dam this past winter makes it clear how important it is to keep investing in our current water infrastructure.”

Under the Delta Levee Maintenance Subventions Program, the funding formula is set to revert back to having the state cover just 50 percent of the cost of such maintenance on July 1, 2018. AB 732 extends that sunset date until 2020.

“Reverting back to the old formula with the 50 percent state share puts our levees in danger, because the local districts do not have financial means to continue the levels of maintenance that provide the level of safety we have enjoyed for the past 20 years,” Frazier said. “The current program is one of the few Delta programs that has worked really well.”

When established in 1996, the 75 percent state share was to expire after 10 years. The Legislature has extended it three times in 2006, 2010 and 2012.

Frazier’s AB 732 has cleared the Assembly’s Water, Parks and Wildlife and Appropriations committees and been approved by the full Assembly with substantial bipartisan support. In the Senate, the Natural Resources and Water approved the bill 8-0. When AB 732 is released by the Senate Appropriations Committee later this month, it will go to the full Senate for a vote.

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Assemblymember Frazier represents the 11th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Antioch, Bethel Island, Birds Landing, Brentwood, Byron, Collinsville, Discovery Bay, Fairfield, Isleton, Knightsen, Locke, Oakley, Pittsburg (partial), Rio Vista, Suisun City, Travis AFB, Vacaville and Walnut Grove.

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