A state Assembly subcommittee on Thursday approved language that could exempt Fresno County from having to repay the state $5.5 million in transportation funds -- if the county agrees to maintain existing services to the indigent.
The subcommittee of the Assembly Budget Committee approved the exemption, which still has more votes ahead of it. Assembly Member Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, a member of the subcommittee, voted in support of the item.
Fresno County was required to repay the state $5.5 million in Proposition 42 transportation funds after the county failed to maintain its own level of spending on transportation projects from the late 1990s, according to a state Assembly staff report.
The Legislature granted the county an initial repayment extension 2010.
To gain a permanent exemption, Fresno County would have to provide medical services to the indigent. The county has been trying to get out of its indigent care obligation.
The extension endorsed Thursday by the Assembly subcommittee would assist Fresno County in not having to choose between maintaining existing services to the indigent and funding its transportation obligations.