published on August 12, 2016 - 7:43 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

(AP) — Critics and a California lawmaker want more answers from Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration on who’s paying for a proposed giant water project.

That’s after a Southern California water district said Thursday that Brown’s administration is now stating that state or federal funds will be used to finish planning for two $16 billion water tunnels. The 35-mile-long tunnels would carry water from Northern California south, mainly for Central and Southern California. Brown’s administration is pushing to get regulatory approval for the tunnels before he leaves office in two years.

Tunnel opponents say Thursday’s statement from the Metropolitan Water District in Los Angeles could go against longstanding assurances that local water agencies would pay for the tunnels, not the state. Aides to California Assemblywoman Susan Eggman say she has asked officials for an explanation of the water district’s statement Thursday.

Eggman was part of a legislative committee that already had ordered a state audit of the tunnels project earlier this week.

State spokeswoman Nancy Vogel says funding to finish the planning of the tunnels will come from user payments for an existing state water project, and not from the state’s general fund.

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