Gov. Jerry Brown highlighted California’s environmental measures and defended the high speed rail in his State of the State address Thursday morning, Jan. 25, 2018.
It comes as Brown’s 16th and final address after he has served four total terms in office — two terms in 1975 and then another two terms in 2011. After the November elections, Brown, 79, will be termed out of office.
“While [California] faces its share of difficulties, we should never forget the bounty and endless opportunities bestowed upon this special place,” said Brown.
“Despite what is widely believed by some of the most powerful people in Washington, the science of climate change is not in doubt, said Brown. “All nations agree except one and that is solely because of one man: our current president.”
Brown attributed information from top scientists at the University of California, Stanford and Caltech among others as crucial to our state’s recent environmental measures.
“Here in California, we follow a different path,” said Brown.
Brown cited measures that keep California at the forefront of environmental protection despite the president’s denial of climate change. The measures include new building and appliance efficient standards, renewable electricity and initiatives for zero-emission vehicles and policies to reduce short-lived climate pollutants
Additionally, Brown mentioned an upcoming U.N. sponsored climate summit this September in San Francisco and the state having the nation’s only functioning cap-and-trade system.
Brown also mentioned two specific environmental areas that the state has passed that he referred to as “historic” legislation.
“Along with clean air, clean water is a fundamental good that must be protected and made available on a sustainable basis,” said Brown.
When the cap-and-trade legislation took effect in 2012, an air pollution measure that focuses on pollutants disproportionately affecting specific neighborhoods was also passed. Additionally, a water bond that invests in safe drinking water, conservation and storage was passed in 2014 as well as a project in 2017 to improve the water system called California Waterfix.
These water measures have been heavily scrutinized, as well as Brown’s goal to complete America’s first high speed rail.
“Like any big project, there are obstacles,” said Brown. “There were for the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) System, for the Golden Gate Bridge and for the Panama Canal. But build it they did and build it we will.”
Construction began on the first section of the high speed rail, linking San Jose and the Central Valley, in 2015 and is scheduled to be completed by 2025.
The second section of the rail, an electrified Caltrain linking San Jose and San Francisco, is financed and scheduled to be completed by 2029.
“It will be fast, quiet and powered by renewable electricity and last for a hundred years,” said Brown.
The project has already created more than 1,500 construction workers at 17 different job sites.