Padilla Statement on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Agreement

Deal includes important priorities championed by Senator Padilla on strengthening electric grid, reducing carbon emissions, and improving water resiliency

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), a member of the Senate Budget and Environment and Public Works Committees, issued the following statement after voting to move forward on bipartisan infrastructure legislation:

“This initial package is an important step forward to rebuild America’s infrastructure and create millions of good-paying union jobs. I am proud of the investments I helped secure that will benefit California, including funding to harden electric grids against extreme weather events and natural disasters. In the midst of deadly heat waves and devastating wildfire seasons, California’s power grid is frequently at risk of failure due to stress. Just today, residents in the state were asked to reduce their energy consumption to avoid blackouts. The bipartisan deal also includes a down payment to transition diesel school buses to all-electric ones and reduce carbon pollution, as well as billions of dollars to help ensure that every family in America has access to clean water.

“To succeed in the 21st century, we need to do more than just fix our roads and bridges. We need to invest in our care economy, immigration reform, and transformational programs to combat the climate crisis. My colleagues on the Budget Committee and I are also hard at work on the second track of this infrastructure effort: a reconciliation framework that will deliver on the bold investments included in the American Jobs and Families Plans, and ensure that the jobs created through these investments are good paying union jobs. I’m encouraged by this movement forward, and am committed to delivering results for California and the American people.”

Additional background on Senator Padilla’s efforts included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Agreement:

Grid Resiliency

The bipartisan deal adopts provisions from Padilla’s POWER On Act and would invest $5 billion over five years to help prevent blackouts and utility-caused wildfires by funding projects that enhance the physical resilience of the electric grid in response to extreme weather events and natural disasters. The bill would fund thousands of miles of new, resilient transmission lines to facilitate the expansion of renewable energy and create a new Grid Deployment Authority, invest in research and development for advanced transmission and electricity distribution technologies, and promote smart grid technologies that deliver flexibility and resilience.

Lead Pipes Replacement

Currently, up to 10 million American households and 400,000 schools and child care centers lack safe drinking water. Earlier this year, Senators Padilla and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) introduced the Lead-Free Drinking Water for All Act, an ambitious effort to replace every lead service line and pipe in America over the next 10 years. This bipartisan package includes dedicated funding to begin replacing lead pipes and service lines.

Electric School Buses

The deal will deliver thousands of new electric school buses nationwide, helping school districts across the country buy clean, American-made, zero-emission buses. The deal includes an initial investment of over $2.5 billion for zero-emission buses. Padilla previously introduced the Clean Commute for Kids Act, legislation that would invest $25 billion to replace existing diesel buses with electric buses.

In May, Padilla joined Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Austin Beutner, along with local community leaders, to showcase the school district’s first electrified school bus and discuss the importance of transitioning America’s school bus fleet to electric school buses. On a typical day before the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 25 million American children were exposed to air pollution as they rode over 500,000 predominantly diesel buses to school.

Water Resiliency

This bill also includes funds to protect against droughts and floods, in addition to a major investment in weatherization. The bill is the largest investment in the resilience of physical and natural systems in American history. As the climate crisis exacerbates drought conditions in California and throughout the West, Padilla has taken proactive to strengthen and diversify our water supply while making it more resilient to drought and extreme heat.