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Why $18 million for a Jurupa parks district is raising eyebrows — and GOP ire — in Sacramento

By in Press Enterprise on May 18, 2017

By Jeff Horseman

A Jurupa Valley-area parks district is getting $18 million in state transportation funds – six times the size of its budget – prompting questions from state budget analysts and criticism from Republicans who smell pork and a political payoff for two Democratic lawmakers.

The money is a line item in Gov. Jerry Brown’s May budget revision released earlier this month. According to a document presented to an Assembly budget subcommittee, the funding comes from a road maintenance and rehabilitation program created by SB 1, a $52.4 billion transportation funding bill that narrowly passed the Legislature in April.

The Assembly’s GOP members, who strongly opposed SB 1, issued a press release Thursday, May 18 decrying the use of transportation money on parks.

“Assembly Republicans believe that any funds collected from the gas tax should be used for improving roads and relieving congestion, not pet projects like parks and bike trails,” the release read.

Assemblywoman Sabrina Cervantes, D-Riverside, speaks at a bill signing ceremony attended by Gov. Jerry Brown in Jurupa Valley on May 12.

SB 1, dubbed the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, raises the state’s gas tax by 12 cents a gallon, hikes diesel taxes and imposes new yearly fees on vehicles to tackle California’s $137 billion road repair backlog and other transportation needs.

“The measure also would generate revenue to support state parks, including off-highway vehicle and boating programs,” according to the budget subcommittee report. The state Department of Park and Recreations would get $54 million, including $18 million specifically for a grant to the Jurupa Area Recreation and Park District.

Formed in 1984, the district, which is independent of the City of Jurupa Valley, oversees 27 parks and recreation facilities in the Jurupa Valley vicinity. It is overseen by an elected board of directors and has an annual budget of roughly $3 […]    

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