Senator fails to secure extra funding for San Mateo County jail

Tony Avelar / The Christian Science Monitor via Getty ImagesPassengers exits a Caltrain commuter train during the morning commute

Tony Avelar / The Christian Science Monitor via Getty ImagesPassengers exits a Caltrain commuter train during the morning commute

A bill that would have allowed San Mateo County to retroactively secure an $80 million state grant to pay for its new jail in Redwood City failed to emerge Thursday from a legislative committee.

The county began construction last year in the hope that the state would reimburse it for roughly half the project, which is expected to cost about $165 million. To secure that money, though, would have required the passage of a piece of legislation sponsored by Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo.

After Thursday's vote, Hill said the Assembly Public Safety Committee didn't go along with his legislation because two other counties were farther ahead of it in line.

“There still is opportunity either this year or in the next year,” Hill said of his quest to secure funding. “We're still working, and there's still possibilities out there in these same funding sources.”

Members of a statewide anti-prison coalition praised Thursday vote, and took credit for mobilizing hundreds of opponents in opposition to the legislation.

“This is just the latest desperate attempt by San Mateo County to finance a jail they can't afford,” said Annie Morgan Banks of Californians United for a Responsible Budget. “Despite the overwhelming opinion of California residents being against jail construction, attempts to fund construction projects are still being whipped up and rushed through the approval process.”

Bay Area NewsJerry HillPeninsulaSan Mateo County Jail

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