Governor Newsom Proposes Withholding $100 Million from Fresno for Downtown Improvements
Gov. Gavin Newsom intends to postpone $100 million of a $250 million commitment in infrastructure funding for downtown Fresno as part of efforts to address a significant budget deficit. On Wednesday, Governor Newsom unveiled his budget outlook, revealing a staggering shortfall of $38 billion. According to the independent Legislative Analyst’s Office, there was a previous projection of a $68 billion deficit.
In the previous year, the state allocated a significant amount of $250 million towards the development of downtown Fresno. This funding was distributed over three fiscal years, with $50 million designated for Fiscal Year 2024, $100 million for FY 2025, and another $100 million for FY 2026. In a recent announcement, Mayor Jerry Dyer revealed that a significant portion of the funds will be allocated towards crucial infrastructure projects. These projects include the construction of parking structures, sidewalks, as well as the improvement of sewer and water lines in downtown and Chinatown.
The governor’s budget summary states that the Budget proposes General Fund solutions to address the projected budget shortfall and achieve a balanced budget. Some of the things that are included are: The City of Fresno’s Public Infrastructure plan is facing a significant setback with a delay of $100 million in General Fund. In the 2023 Budget Act, downtown Fresno’s development received a significant boost with a $250 million allocation from the General Fund. The Budget allocates $50 million in 2023-24 for this purpose and defers the remaining $200 million General Fund by one year. As a result, $100 million will be accessible in 2025-26 and 2026-27.
Mayor Jerry Dyer was informed of the development on Tuesday night during a conversation with Analea Patterson, Newsom’s cabinet secretary, according to GV Wire. Dyer stated that the Governor remains dedicated to his promise of allocating the full $250 million for Downtown Fresno and assured me that he is not wavering in his commitment.
The Mayor acknowledges the financial difficulties that the State of California is currently facing and understands the necessity of implementing budget cuts and postponing previous financial obligations in order to achieve a balanced state budget. Fresno remains committed to securing the funds promised by the Governor and the Legislature, and will persist in our efforts to obtain them. “There are no expected major disruptions in our downtown and Chinatown revitalization plans due to this delay,” Dyer stated.
Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) has provided a statement to GV Wire regarding the governor’s decision to postpone the allocation of $100 million in state funding.
Arambula commented on Governor Newsom’s proposed State budget during a challenging fiscal year. “I will continue to strongly advocate for the funds to be directed towards Fresno. I am eager to have ongoing discussions with the Governor and his administration as we collaborate on a revised budget in May.”
The Governor’s acknowledgement of the Central Valley’s historical lack of resources and commitment to funding economic development for downtown Fresno is appreciated.
The city’s budget allocation consists of two parking structures, an intermodal transit center, and parks. Assemblyman Vince Fong, a Republican from Bakersfield and the vice chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee, is advocating for the state to prioritize crucial investments in the Central Valley.
“I have consistently advocated for necessary investments in the Central Valley.” The governor’s priorities have been called into question. “He is allocating funds to various issues instead of addressing the essential needs of our region,” Fong expressed. Fresno City Councilman Mike Karbassi expresses optimism.
“As long as the Governor remains committed to deferring the funding rather than completely cutting it, the current amount we have should be sufficient to sustain us,” said the speaker. “We aren’t slowing down,” Karbassi stated. Elliott Balch, the president and CEO of the Downtown Fresno Partnership, shares a positive outlook.