SACRAMENTO – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s massive $222.6 billion public works program is about to undergo some legislative surgery. If it survives, it may not look a whole lot like the initial proposal when it comes out of the operating room.The governor’s plan to sell $68 billion in bonds to help pay for his program faces competition from lawmakers and interest groups looking for money for earthquake safety improvements for hospitals, new parks, affordable housing and high-speed rail.They say their projects shouldn’t be shut out by the governor’s proposal, which would virtually tie up the state’s ability to borrow money by selling bonds for the next 10 years.Schwarzenegger also is likely to run into opposition from lawmakers worried about the amount of money he wants to borrow and about his proposal to place bond measures on ballots as far into the future as 2014.Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, said the governor’s legislation will face alterations “just like any other bill.”“You bring them in the front door,” he said. “They come out the back door – if you’re lucky. And there’s a lot of changes that take place in every room that they’ve gone into. That’s going to be the case here.”Lawmakers waived rules Thursday to speed up consideration of Schwarzenegger’s proposals, but they also cleared the way for a two-house conference committee to consider competing bills as well.Committee hearings are tentatively scheduled to start the week of Jan. 23, Perata’s office said.Schwarzenegger’s program would provide money for highway and transit improvements, school and university facilities, flood control, water supply projects, jails, prison upgrades, courthouses and certain other state facilities.“Different people may come up with a different mix,” said H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for the governor’s Department of Finance. “This is the governor’s determination about what the critical needs are for the state.”The money to pay for the program would come from a combination of existing state revenue and new sources, including the bonds, private investments and anticipated federal funding.The governor also seeks a constitutional amendment that would limit how much the state could sell in bonds by capping debt payments at 6 percent of general fund revenue. That could have the effect of preventing the state from selling bonds to pay for projects not covered by Schwarzenegger’s plan.“It will basically fill up bonding capacity,” Palmer said.That has prompted criticism from advocates for other programs.“The health care infrastructure has to be discussed in this broader question of making infrastructure improvements,” said Assemblyman Dario Frommer, D-Los Angeles.He’s pushing a bill that would authorize the sale of $5 billion in bonds to make seismic safety improvements to public and nonprofit private acute care hospitals.According to the California Hospital Association, about 40 percent of hospital buildings could collapse in a major earthquake.Environmentalists complain that the governor’s package leaves out money to expand parks, preserve open space and pay for other environmental programs, although it does include some money for improvements at existing state parks.“People overwhelmingly support open space and parks. And as land increasingly gets more expensive and more and more people come into California, they will need places to recreate and enjoy the outdoors,” said Jim Metropulos, a lobbyist for the Sierra Club.Assemblywoman Fran Pavley, an Agoura Hills Democrat who has a bill that would authorize an unspecified amount of bonds for a variety of environmental projects, says she will try to “green up all the bonds” with environmentally friendly provisions, such as solar energy systems for schools.“You can put in environmentally friendly measures that are also good for the economy in the long run across all the different bonds,” she said.Perata and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles, have their own infrastructure bond measures that include money for various housing programs, including housing near transit terminals.“We believe that if the overall effort here is to try to address California’s present and future needs, we need to bring housing closer to where people work,” Perata said.He also said he doesn’t like the idea of lawmakers voting this year to put bond proposals on the ballot in elections beyond 2008. Schwarzenegger’s plan includes bond measures for the ballot in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014.“If you push it out too far, I think people are going to say, `I’m not going to do that,”‘ Perata said.High-speed rail supporters want bond funding to begin building a 700-mile system that would link the state’s major cities with trains running at top speeds of more than 200 mph.There’s already a $9.95 billion bond proposal on the November ballot that would help pay for a high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and San Francisco. But Schwarzenegger wants that measure dumped to clear the way for his proposals.Perata’s bond bill would take a step-by-step approach. It would remove the $9.95 billion proposal from the ballot but provide $1 billion that could be used for right-of-way for high-speed rail tracks.Alan Miller, executive director of the Train Riders Association of California, says the state should emulate Mexico, which is building a $12 billion high-speed rail line between its two largest cities, Guadalajara and Mexico City.“If there’s really a vision, a change in the way Californians get around, it’s not to build more roads,” he said. “It’s to spend at least as much Mexico is spending. Otherwise, we’re going to be the one that looks like a third-world nation.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!