California boosts boating access and law enforcement funding

SACRAMENTO – California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is significantly boosting funding for the state’s Department of Boating and Waterways, according to a recent statement from the department.

His 2006-2007 budget includes $83,461,000 in boating-related expenditures, an increase of $11,297,000 over the previous year’s budget.

“The highlight of Governor Schwarzenegger’s budget for Cal Boating is a significant increase in funds for boating law enforcement. With more boats on the water each year, additional law enforcement is needed to provide for public safety,” said Raynor Tsuneyoshi, director of Cal Boating. “This budget will also fund much-needed public access boating facility projects which support tourism and generate revenue for both the public and private sectors.”

This budget provides an additional $2.5 million for boating law enforcement aid for local governments for a total of $10.6 million. The additional funding was a result of a bill signed last year increasing the vessel registration fee from $10 to $20 collected every two years. Another $225,000 in federal funds was added to the boating law enforcement equipment grant program as well, increasing that program to $1.2 million, according to the statement.

Boating and Waterways’ budget includes $24,505,000 for loans to public agencies to construct and improve marinas; $3,500,000 to be made available for loans to private sector marina owners to construct and improve marinas; $9,585,000 for grants to public agencies to construct and improve boat launching facilities; $5,960,000 for infrastructure expenditures to construct and improve boating facilities on state lands and in state parks; $1,500,000 for grants, studies and staff support for coastal beach erosion control and beach restoration projects; $500,000 for abandoned watercraft abatement grants; $10,036,000 in federal funds for a variety of boating safety, education and access programs including vessel sewage pumpout education and grants, and a coastal data information program, the department reported.

Funding for Cal Boating is derived primarily from boating gasoline taxes, vessel registration fees, and loan repayments.

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