regional planning and leadership bodies in our efforts to improve infrastructure supports in island, fringe, and hinterland Communities of Interest?
Since its inception, the Inter-Agency Taskforce for the Economic Development of the San Joaquin Valley has secured $150 million, over and above regular, formula, and state pass- through funds for these initiatives. After conducting listening sessions with economic development leaders in seven counties, the Taskforce adopted a Strategic Plan with four initiatives: 1) Jobs/Business Development, 2) Clean Air/Clean Energy, 3) Asset Development, and 4) Rural Infrastructure. The Taskforce had on its drawing board in 2005 a pilot program to improve funding for water-related infrastructure by organizing rural water districts through joint powers agreements. What are the prospects for full realization of this objective, and how much of the problem would it solve? What would be the best vehicle for the long-term implementation of the Taskforce’s other plans?
Finally, San Joaquin Valley agricultural interests are using regional organizing and advocacy strategies to ensure their water needs are addressed by the State. For example, the California Rural Water Association, the San Joaquin Valley Water Coalition, and several major water districts (e.g., the Westlands Water District) have played key roles in garnering support for the 2006 water bonds and are working with the Governor to secure a new State water policy that will ensure Central Valley agribusiness’s water needs are met. What lessons can infrastructure equity advocates learn from these successful efforts? What new opportunities for forming unusual bedfellows alliances with these water coalitions, given the challenges Central Valley Agricultural interests will face in securing a majority in a Democratically controlled legislature. What role could the Latino Caucus, with strongholds across the state, play in positioning the infrastructure needs of Colonias in the policy deliberations to develop a statewide water policy?
8. Accessing additional state funding for infrastructure and other aspects of capital development. In 2006, voters approved close to $43 Billion worth of bonds to address infrastructure needs ranging from: housing, transportation, school facilities, parks, water and flood protection, and disaster preparedness. What advocacy strategies could be used and what decision-making bodies would we need to target to tap portions of these bond dollars for critically needed infrastructure improvement projects in Communities of Interest? Proposition 84, for example, contains: $10 million for grants to fund emergency grants to provide alternative water supplies where necessary to protect public health, $60 million to make grants and loans for projects to reduce contamination of groundwater that serves as a source for drinking water, and $180 million for grants for small community drinking water infrastructure improvements.