SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Jim Frazier, D-Discovery Bay, released the following statement Friday after it was revealed a federal audit found the Bureau of Reclamation spent nearly $85 million in taxpayer funds on planning for the Delta tunnels project that should have been paid for by Central Valley water contractors.
“We were told repeatedly that no taxpayer dollars would be used to pay for the Delta tunnels project. We have now learned this is not true. We have been told that the water contractors who will benefit from the tunnels are going to pay for the entire thing. But now we learn they can’t even pay for the planning process without taxpayer subsidies, and that a government agency tried to hide this fact. This revelation alone should stop the project from moving forward. There are too many unanswered questions about the water contractors’ ability to pay for the tunnels. If they need $85 million from taxpayers just for planning, how can we trust their ability to finance a project that is slated to cost at least $17 billion? All Californians – not just those who live in the Delta whose livelihoods and way of life would be devastated by the proposed tunnels – deserve an honest and complete accounting of all the economic and environmental costs before the digging begins. I ask those who represent California in Congress to demand accountability from the Bureau of Reclamation and to seek reimbursement of the unauthorized expenditure of taxpayer funds. In California, I look forward to what the State Auditor finds when she completes her investigation into alleged misappropriation of taxpayer funds in support of the tunnels project by the Department of Water Resources and public water agencies, and am ready to take action.”
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.