State budget includes more than $60M for Central Coast projects

SALINAS — More than $60 million for Central Coast projects — including a shelter for homeless women in Monterey, a floodplain and habitat restoration project in Carmel, a bus corridor project in Marina and water infrastructure projects for the region — is part of the $300 billion budget California lawmakers adopted Wednesday.

“All of them were voted on last night and waiting for the governor’s signature,” said state Sen. John Laird, D-Santa Cruz, on Thursday.

The budget includes $15 million to finalize the purchase of the Watsonville Community Hospital and retain it as a not-for-profit health care facility. Along with a $10 million funding request from Assemblyman Robert Rivas, D-Salinas, a total of $25 million is in the state budget to buy the facility from bankruptcy court

“There are a certain number of requests that every senator or assembly member can make,” said Laird. “I got more strategic.”

Laird said the effort to buy the hospital priced at $61.7 million is almost complete with about $10 million left to be raised. Earlier this year, SB 418 was passed by the full Legislature in under three weeks and signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom to create the Pajaro Valley Healthcare District. Millions more have been raised in public and private contributions to complete the purchase within the next two months.

Other funding in the state budget is marked for the city of Monterey, which will be appropriated $2.5 million for building renovations, furnishings and equipment for the Community Human Services’ Shuman HeartHouse. The Big Sur Land Trust will receive $2 million for the Carmel River Floodplain Restoration and Environmental Enhancement project to reduce flood risks and restore habitat, and $2.5 million. The Monterey-Salinas Transit District will receive $2.5 million for the construction of the SURF! Busway and Bus Rapid Transit project linking Marina, Seaside and Sand City.

As California’s historic drought and the impacts of climate change continue to wreak havoc on the state, more than $10 million was allocated for vital Monterey Peninsula water infrastructure upgrade projects including $4.8 million to the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District’s Pure Water Monterey Deep Injection Well No. 6 project and $6.163 million to the Monterey County Water Resources Agency’s Nacimiento Dam Maintenance project.

Laird said he also got $2.5 million appropriated to The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County to permanently preserve the Camatta Ranch, $1.5 million for the Toro Coast Preserve Project, $1 million to renovate the Cayucos Veterans Hall, and $3 million for Paso Robles’ Creston Road Active Transportation and Bike and School Access Improvements.

Additionally, as chair of the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education, Laird said he played a role in securing $20.3 million to support infrastructure and rebuilding efforts at Swanton Pacific Ranch, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Laird’s Senate District 17 encompasses the Central Coast including coastal Monterey Bay areas, part of Santa Clara County and all of Santa Cruz and San Luis Obispo counties.

Further details regarding disbursement will be determined after the governor has signed the budget.

Contributed by local news sources

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