During their work on the budget, California state lawmakers on Thursday approved just slightly more than 60% of the funds Gov. Schwarzenegger had recommended to begin building his Hydrogen Highway.
The administration had recommended spending $10.7 million a year over the next five years; AB 141 specifies spending an initial $6.5 million on the project.
The approved funding will support up to three demonstration hydrogen fueling stations in the state. The hydrogen stations must, according to the bill, use renewable energy to produce and dispense hydrogen, or must combine fuel dispensing with electricity generation to power the station.
According to the Mercury News, resistance to the governor’s full recommendation was bi-partisan.
Some Democrats questioned the expense. They raised concerns about whether the money would be better spent on schools, and whether taxpayers or private companies will own the hydrogen fueling stations the money will help construct. Republicans also questioned whether the technology for hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles is viable.