Padilla, Feinstein Announce Nearly $30 Million to Support Rural Communities Across California

Funding for the Secure Rural Schools program will support public schools, roads, and other municipal services

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Alex Padilla and Dianne Feinstein (both D-Calif.) announced that California will receive $29.9 million to support public schools, roads, and other municipal services through the Secure Rural Schools program. The program was reauthorized for fiscal years 2021 through 2023 by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is creating jobs and improving the resilience of our rural communities,” said Senator Padilla. “With nearly $30 million coming to California, we can support projects that will make it easier for children to get to school, improve the stability of our infrastructure, and better prepare emergency services. This is critical funding when so many of California’s rural communities face an increased threat from wildfires in nearby national forests.”

“More than half of the forests in California are on federal land so it’s imperative that the federal government remains committed to supporting the communities in or near our national forests,” said Senator Feinstein. “The funds we secured in the bipartisan infrastructure law are part of that commitment and will support schools, roads and other public services in California’s rural communities.”

The Forest Service retains a portion of Secure Rural Schools program funds to support projects that improve forest conditions and support jobs in rural communities. Resource advisory committees, made up of residents representing varied interests and areas of expertise, review and recommend projects that meet their local needs.

Since 1908, 25 percent of Forest Service revenues from timber sales, mineral leases, livestock grazing, recreation fees, and other funding sources are shared with states and counties that have national forests. By the 1990s, Forest Service payments from these sources began to decline, largely because of long-term diminished volume in timber sales. The Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 authorized enhanced payments to help states and counties fund local services otherwise at risk because of this decline in revenue.

Over the past 10 years, the Forest Service has distributed $2.6 billion through the Secure Rural Schools program. This year, states will receive $238 million for distribution to counties. Each state’s payment amount is determined by various factors set in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, including the number of counties electing to share in a state’s payment.