ICYMI: Padilla, Mayor Liccardo, Mayor Gloria Highlight Local Investments Included in Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill
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CALIFORNIA – This week, after voting to pass the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) hosted a virtual press conference with San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo to highlight impacts the legislation will have on California. The bill is the largest investment in our nation’s infrastructure in nearly a century and will provide billions in federal funding for communities across the Golden State.
Senator Padilla highlighted the wins for California cities, saying, “For the past few months, I’ve made it a point to visit communities in different regions of the state as part of an Infrastructure Listening Tour. My objective was to make sure that federal infrastructure investments that would be improved reflect California’s priorities. I’m proud to have championed measures in the bill that will strengthen our electrical grid, that will fund water conservation programs, and improve sustainable transportation options—including electrifying the nation’s school bus fleets.
“California stands to receive tens of billions of dollars to upgrade physical infrastructure, improve public transit, and secure safe clean drinking water. Cities will also be able to apply for billions of dollars in additional grants to fund weatherization programs to weatherize essential infrastructure, better prepare for wildfires, and so much more.”
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said, “Certainly we recognize, as so many do, that investments in rail in water infrastructure in grid resilience in climate mean jobs and that’s the pathway for us to an equitable economic recovery. But in concrete terms here in San Jose, that federal investment in rail, for example, ensures that we can get a BART extension built, which could be start construction in just a matter of a few months. That [extension] will ultimately carry more than 100,000 riders from here to downtown San Jose connecting the largest city in the region to San Francisco, Oakland, and the rest of the BART system. [It will] enable us to build out Diridon Station, which will ultimately become the busiest multimodal facility in the region with seven different transit lines including a high-speed rail line that will connect 5 million people of the Central Valley to Silicon Valley.
“… this bill will provide more than $8 billion for western water infrastructure. In particular, Senator Padilla is championing a provision to make recycled water, groundwater recharge projects eligible for new federal funding that is critical. We’ve got an advanced water facility here in San Jose that produces about 8 million gallons a day. We want to quadruple that, and we think groundwater recharge could be a great way for us to recycle water to be able to expand our supply and do it in a way that’s environmentally sensitive.”
San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said, “The funding of this package, to be more specific, will allow us to do a multitude of things, some of which Sam has mentioned. I’m particularly excited about the investments in safer streets, setting us on a path to be more climate-resilient, and upgrades to our airport. The Safe Streets For All grant program will specifically allow local governments to help achieve our Vision Zero goals of eliminating traffic deaths and serious injuries. As my colleague was mentioning, just this year alone, here in San Diego County dozens of cyclists have lost their lives after being struck by cars. These deaths were preventable, and by investing in protected bikeways and safer walkways, we are literally going to be saving lives. That is what the Senate did yesterday and that’s one of the reasons why I’m so grateful to be here today to tell this achievement for all of us.
“This bill is also going to give us the opportunity to have cities like mine reprioritize how we get around, and that’s by investing $121 million in the San Diego International Airport, helping to modernize the airport…our city is dependent upon tourism and while we have a fantastic airport our terminal one does not meet our expectations. This is going to help change that. It’s also going to help us compete for funding that can help us to finally connect our airport to our trolley system through a central mobility hub, again driving that kind of change that we need to meet our climate action goals. I also want to point out the funding for a network of electric vehicle charging stations that can help break down the barriers to adoption for many Californians, when it comes to switching to electric vehicles. This is really exciting, particularly in a city like mine that has a legally binding climate action plan that really views people transitioning to EVs, and more importantly transitioning to biking and walking and using mass transit.”