Exhibiting the Art of the Deal, Jerry Brown Gets His Infrastructure Bill Passed

A deal here and a deal there, and California Democrats enacted a major infrastructure package in time for Jerry Brown’s 79th birthday. Photo: Press Office of Governor Jerry Brown

Even as Donald Trump’s proposed infrastructure investment proposal remains, as Matt Yglesias cleverly calls it, mostly “vaporware,” California Democrats led by Governor Jerry Brown just met a tight self-imposed deadline by getting their own $52 billion plan for fixing roads, highways, bridges, and some transit facilities over a two-thirds threshold for revenue increases. And in so doing they may have provided a few lessons for Trump in the “art of the deal.”

Brown and Senate president pro tem Kevin de Leon had a particularly tough time in the legislature’s upper chamber. But they did what to be done, according to the Los Angeles Times:

Democratic Sen. Steve Glazer of Orinda voted against the bill, saying his constituents were against higher taxes as proposed by a 2-1 margin. But Brown and De León persuaded Republican Sen. Anthony Cannella of Ceres to vote in favor of the measure, reaching the two-thirds vote needed for passage.

The governor and legislative leaders ended up giving nearly $1 billion to specific transportation projects in the districts of legislators who had been on the fence before voting for Senate Bill 1. Brown and De León agreed to provide $500 million for projects in Cannella’s district, including the extension of a commuter rail line from the Bay Area to Merced.

“At the end of the day I asked for certain things and they delivered them, so I needed to vote for it,” Cannella told reporters afterward.

In another sign that Brown and company were paying attention to the arguments against their package, it included a call for a 2018 ballot initiative to prohibit the legislature from diverting the new revenues to other uses.

And it all got done before the legislature’s spring recess, and in time for Jerry Brown’s 79th birthday celebration today.

Brown’s record of accomplishment so far this year is a lot better than Trump’s. I’m sure the four-term California governor is confident he would have accomplished a lot more had any of his three presidential campaigns (in 1976, 1980 and 1992) produced a victory.

Jerry Brown Cuts Some Deals, Gets His Infrastructure Bill