Billions In Benefits Are Seen By State For Delta Tunnels
Building the Bay Delta Conservation Plan’s twin Delta tunnels would cost billions but Governor Brown’s administration contends the water conveyance project’s benefits would be even greater.
An August 5 report presented results of an economic analysis, prepared by UC Berkeley resource economics Professor David Sunding and a group of consultants.
Project beneficiaries are being counted upon by proponents to pay much of the $25 billion in anticipated costs for developing the twin tunnels. There has been no determination as to allocation of costs for specific beneficiaries. Project water would bypass endangered species problems that now impact water supplies exported from the Delta. Habitat restoration is seen as being paid for by state bond issues and federal funds.
According to Sunding, values of project benefits such as reliable water supplies and quality improvements as well as newfound infrastructure stability indicate the tunnels would “clearly pass a cost-benefit test to the tune of something like $5 billion.” Because of the project, the economists said the tunnels would create California business activity of more than $83 billion over a 50-year period. Opponents immediately disagreed, calling the findings overly rosy