In the closing hours of the legislative year, lawmakers approved a last-minute deal Wednesday to free up hundreds of millions of dollars from the state’s cap-and-trade program to fund green projects across the state. Under the agreement, which broke a two-year impasse, the state will spend $900 million on programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions — nearly two-thirds of $1.4 billion that has been raised but was tied up unspent in a political stalemate. The money will go toward subsidies for electric cars, new park space and pedestrian-friendly affordable housing. California’s 4-year old cap-and-trade program raises money from businesses that purchase permits to pollute.
The deal was announced on the Legislature’s final day, and was hailed by the governor and legislative leaders. It comes not long after they inked an ambitious plan to combat climate change by extending and expanding California’s targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.