Steinberg backs off 'carbon tax'

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - The state Senate leader is backing off a proposal for a so-called carbon tax and instead wants to dedicate billions generated by California's greenhouse gas reduction law to affordable housing, mass transit and high-speed rail.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said Monday that his willingness to pivot from a consumer fuel tax was driven by the need to fund environmentally related infrastructure projects while helping low-income Californians with housing.

The Sacramento Democrat also threw his support behind Gov. Jerry Brown's budget proposal to help finance the $68 billion bullet train.

Steinberg's initial plan was quickly criticized as a direct hit to Californians even though the current cap-and-trade revenue system is expected to raise gasoline prices starting next year. His revised plan has backing from transit, housing and environmental groups.


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