Newsom, lawmakers still far apart on Delta tunnel as budget negotiations near close

While Gavin Newsom has tried to shoehorn in the Delta tunnel, state lawmakers have been adamant about not including the project in the state budget.

With the July 27 deadline looming to agree to a finalized budget for California, state lawmakers and Gov. Gavin Newsom appear to still be split on the controversial Delta tunnel. 

KCRA reported that the Delta tunnel is at the center of negotiations as Newsom and lawmakers negotiated through the weekend. 


The backstory: The Delta tunnel has long been a thorn in the side of California’s environmental groups. 

  • First proposed decades ago with a plan for two tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to move water south, Newsom resurrected the idea last year, but this time with just one tunnel. 
  • Proponents of the project argue that the tunnel would modernize the state’s water delivery system and is necessary to ensure a reliable water supply. 
  • On the other side sits environmental groups who argue that the tunnel would destroy farmland and harm species like the Delta smelt and winter-run Chinook salmon. 

The big picture: Asm. Carlos Villapudua (D–Stockton) told KCRA that his colleagues in the Legislature are pushing to keep the Delta tunnel project out of the finalized budget. 

  • Yet the Newsom administration is pushing a plan to expedite the state’s building and permitting process, which includes the Delta tunnel at the center of it. 
  • According to Villapudua, the Newsom administration has placed the Delta tunnel as a top priority in budget talks. 
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