“Hints have been dropped in recent months that to keep the project alive, urban ratepayers in the Southland may wind up paying more than their share, in effect subsidizing San Joaquin Valley agribusiness interests,” the L.A. Times writes here.
In the story, Mark Cowin, director of the state Department of Water Resources, ”said participants continue to assume that they will pay based on their share of the project.”
“But we have to have a project that’s affordable and we have to have enough participants to make it work,” Cowin said. “And ultimately if agricultural water contractors that are questioning the value of the project don’t want to participate, there may be some further negotiation.
“There are lots of different ways to allocate costs,” Cowin said.
Translation: as the cost estimate of the tunnel baloons, and water exporters get cold feet, they will look to shunt more of the cost onto taxpayers. Cowin’s assertion that “participants continue to assume that they will pay based on their share of the project” is disengenuous. Participants will look for ways to fob the cost of the tunnel onto whomever they can. Beware that “further negotiation!”