California prepares all-in-one business recovery and continuity plan

Published 9 August 2006

Hurricane Katrina was a great example of the need for states to have their own continuity plans; California has learned the lesson from the Gulf Coast region and is preparing to secure its own critical infrastructure in an all-in-one plan

For the first time, the state of California has started to map an all-in-one strategy to safeguard an economically vital network of highways, railroads, and energy supply lines crisscrossing the heart of the state. This post-Hurricane Katrina response broadens the state’s initial list of priorities beyond levees and aqueducts to concentrate on overlooked lifelines centered in the Sacramento Delta that are as vital to the state’s fiscal well-being, from San Diego to Silicon Valley.

A natural disaster in the delta could disrupt the delivery of goods and services along roads, rail lines, and deep-water ports. Pacific Gas and Electric Co. facilities there bring energy supplies to millions. “We have ignored the warnings too long,” said Lester Snow, California’s Department of Water Resources director. “Now is the time to come up with a different vision.” That vision could lead to an unprecedented push to relocate highways, railroad tracks, and gas lines to safer ground — potentially costly and politically sensitive moves. Costs could be spread out, officials say. Ideas include assuming more bond debt, imposing special water-connection fees, or collecting tolls to drive on newly raised roads.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, recognizing that such an ambitious undertaking will likely meet with resistance from many quarters, is preparing an aggressive executive order that will put reluctant interests on notice that dramatic policy changes are on the way.

-read more in this report