L.A. Biz: How many jobs will this tunnel project create?

L.A. Biz
How many jobs will this tunnel project create?
Jun 23, 2014, 12:17pm PDT
By Scott Bridges

California’s drought could translate into jobs, but just how many jobs? That’s a question at the heart of Gov. Jerry Brown’s $25-billion plan to transport more water from Northern to Southern California.

The plan calls for two massive tunnels to be built underneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. The tunnels would deliver water to Los Angeles, among other cities, and Central Valley farmers.

“In the short, medium and long range, the Bay-Delta Conservation would provide economic benefits to California,” Nancy Vogel, spokeswoman for the Department of Water Resources told the Los Angeles Times.

A study by the Brown administration, authored by UC Berkeley agricultural and resource economist Dave Sunding, predicts the Bay-Delta Conservation Project would create an average of about 15,500 jobs a year over a decade of construction and habitat restoration.

Furthermore, after completion, the project to make water supplies more reliable would generate another estimated 19,600 jobs annually over the next half-century.

Not so fast.

While the construction jobs estimate might be plausible, the second figure is “ridiculous,” Jeffrey A. Michael told the Times. Michael is director of the Business Forecasting Center at the University of the Pacific in Stockton. “It’s based on a fictional scenario,” he said.

Opponents are upset by more than just the jobs numbers, as well. Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of the group Restore the Delta, expressed environmental concerns to the newspaper, saying that in addition to being expensive, it was unsustainable and could harm fishing, boating and farming, and that it “ignores the risk that water won’t be available for the massive tunnels.”

Read entire article at L.A. Biz: http://www.bizjournals.com/losangeles/news/2014/06/23/how-many-jobs-will-thistunnel-project-create.html

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