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In Fresno Gov. Brown Talks Drought, High Speed Rail

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Ezra David Romero
/
Valley Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown visited Fresno today to meet with valley farmers and local leaders Monday, less than a week after he unveiled his new budget proposal.

Brown says he heard loud and clear from those he met with that water is a big issue.

“They want a drought declaration, the want some flexibility in the use of water and they have some other interesting ideas that we are going to look at.”

He ensured them that he puts the issue of “water front and center and we are going to need some bond funding, but what that amount is and when -  I am going to reserve judgment on that.”

Brown also touted the development of high speed rail and the impact it would have on the region.

"I'm not sure that the governor realized the magnitude of the challenge here, but we were able to lay out on a map all the poverty areas in Fresno." - Mayor Swearengin

  “There is no doubt that if you have a high speed rail development between Fresno, Bakersfield and Los Angeles it is going to be economically important to the growth and quality of life in the Central Valley" Brown says. "We know millions of people are coming to this area and there is only so much room on Highway 99.”

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin also met with Brown and toured the Fulton Mall. She discussed the region’s high poverty levels, economic development and revitalization in Fresno.

“I’m not sure that the governor realized the magnitude of the challenge here, but we were able to lay out on a map all the poverty areas in Fresno and the extreme poverty areas and make the connection to our growth pattern in the Central San Joaquin Valley and really underscore the emphasis of downtown revitalization,” Swearengin says. “If you look at Fresno and the census tracts in Fresno that have either poverty areas or extreme poverty areas it covers almost two thirds of our city.”

From Fresno Brown will visit Bakersfield and Riverside later Tuesday the day to promote his budget plan.

Ezra David Romero is an award-winning radio reporter and producer. His stories have run on Morning Edition, Morning Edition Saturday, Morning Edition Sunday, All Things Considered, Here & Now, The Salt, Latino USA, KQED, KALW, Harvest Public Radio, etc.