California set to receive billions in funding for public transit, drought resiliency, and broadband
Bill includes important priorities championed by Padilla to strengthen the electric grid, improve Tribal health infrastructure, reduce carbon emissions, and improve access to clean water and 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 pass the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the largest investment in our nation’s infrastructure in nearly a century, which will provide billions in federal funding to California:
“After four years of talk, infrastructure week is finally here. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will deliver long overdue, historic investments in rebuilding America’s infrastructure and public transit, while creating millions of good-paying, union jobs. This bill will improve Californians’ lives and start to rebuild our infrastructure in an equitable and sustainable way.
“Now, we are continuing to work towards even bolder investments in the American people. My Democratic colleagues on the Budget Committee and I are well underway on the next step of our infrastructure effort to invest in child and elder care, immigration reform, and transformational programs to combat the climate crisis and address environmental injustice.”
In addition to the priorities Padilla worked to include in the underlying bill, the Senate passed his bipartisan amendment to reverse a long-standing injustice by allowing Urban Indian organizations (UIOs) to spend appropriated funds on construction and renovation projects to improve the safety and quality of health care provided to urban Indians living in California and other urban centers.
California’s infrastructure is currently rated a C- by the American Society of Civil Engineers after suffering from decades of federal underinvestment. The historic Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funding will help to meet the infrastructure needs of California residents, create a generation of good-paying union jobs and grow our state’s economy.
Specifically, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will benefit California by:
Repairing and rebuilding our roads and bridges with a focus on climate change mitigation, resilience, equity, and safety for all users.
- California would receive $25.3 billion for federal-aid highway apportioned programs and $4.2 billion for bridge replacement and repairs over five years.
- California will receive $631 million to reinforce, upgrade, or realign existing transportation infrastructure to better withstand extreme weather and natural disasters, such as wildfires.
Improving healthy, sustainable public transportation options for millions of Americans.
- Delivers approximately $9.5 billion to California to repair and upgrade aging public transit systems, modernize bus and rail fleets, make stations more accessible, and deliver new and more frequent transit service.
- This includes an increase in funding for the Capital Investment Grants program, which supports projects like LA Metro’s Purple Line extension, Caltrain’s electrification project, BART’s Transbay Corridor Core Capacity Project, and San Diego’s Mid-Coast Corridor Transit Project.
- Provides $2.5 billion nationwide specifically for zero-emission school buses and makes them eligible for a further $2.5 billion in grants and reimbursements, an important down payment towards fulfilling the goals of Senator Padilla’s Clean Commute for Kids Act.
Securing and diversifying California’s water supply and infrastructure.
- Provides over $8 billion for western water infrastructure, including funding for California to repair aging infrastructure, restore imperiled ecosystems, and improve water efficiency.
- Helps fund projects to improve water supply across the state, including the large-scale regional water recycling project that the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is pursuing.
- Includes Senator Padilla’s provision to make stormwater reuse and groundwater recharge projects eligible for new federal funding.
Making drinking water safer for all Americans.
- Invests in upgrading critical drinking water and wastewater infrastructure nationwide, including $1.8 billion for California’s Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Loan Funds.
- Allocates $10 billion nationwide to clean up “forever chemicals” including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which has contaminated the drinking water for nearly 20% of California residents.
- Provides $15 billion nationwide for the removal of lead service lines, an important down payment towards fulfilling the goals of Senator Padilla’s Lead-Free Drinking Water for All Act.
Developing more resilient power infrastructure to prevent blackouts and withstand extreme weather and disasters.
- Includes Senator Padilla’s POWER On Act and invests $5 billion in grants across the U.S. to harden the grid in order to prevent shutoffs and better withstand extreme weather events and natural disasters, like wildfires.
- Delivers $2.5 billion nationwide to expand electric power transmission lines — which is necessary for the widespread implementation of renewable energy across the country.
- Invests $3 billion nationwide for Smart Grid grants to upgrade our electrical grid to conserve energy, better manage our consumption, and provide more tools to respond in real time to needs and challenges.
Building greener infrastructure and protecting California’s diverse ecosystems.
- Delivers $2.6 billion for reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality in California.
- Supports the expansion of an electric vehicle charging network across California with $384 million over five years.
- Provides $162 million for Klamath Basin habitat restoration projects that protect young salmon, improve water quality, and support tribal and non-tribal fishermen.
- Provides $24 million to improve water quality, aquatic life, and ecosystem processes in the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
- Invests $17 million to combat aquatic invasive species, promote forest health, and improve water quality in the Lake Tahoe watershed.
Preventing wildfires, managing vegetation, and rehabilitating burned areas.
- Provides $692 million nationally to carry out hazardous fuels reduction projects across the United States, removing vegetation to make wildfires less severe and more easily contained.
- Includes $450 million nationally to carry out Burned Area Rehabilitation programs that repair landscapes and small infrastructure damaged by wildfires, building resilience against future fires.
- This program detected a noxious weed infestation on 128 acres burned in the Chimney Fire on California’s Central Coast.
Helping connect every American to reliable high-speed internet.
- California will receive at least $100 million to help provide broadband coverage across the state, including providing access to the at least 545,000 Californians who currently lack it.
- 10,637,000 or 27% of Californians will be eligible for the Affordability Connectivity Benefit, which will help low-income families afford internet access.
A factsheet with this information can be found here.
Additional background on Senator Padilla’s efforts included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Agreement:
The bipartisan bill includes Padilla’s POWER On Act and would invest $5 billion over five years to help prevent blackouts, shutoffs 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.
Improving Water Resiliency
The bill incorporates the Drought Resiliency Investment Act, cosponsored by Padilla, to combat drought and protect the water supply of millions of Americans living in California and other western states. The bill would create a grant program for large-scale water recycling projects in California and the other sixteen western states and would allow federal funding to be used for an increased range of activities to plan for and mitigate against impacts from drought.
Last month, Padilla traveled throughout California’s Central Valley visiting farms and water infrastructure facilities and met with numerous local and state leaders to discuss the critical water and transportation infrastructure investments needed in the region.
Lead Pipe Replacement
This bipartisan package includes $15 billion to replace lead pipes and service lines across the country. 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. Currently, up to 10 million American households and 400,000 schools and child care centers lack safe, lead-free drinking water.
Lead contamination in drinking water is particularly prevalent in California’s Central Valley: in 2017, approximately 25 percent of schools in Fresno County reported lead in their drinking water, while almost 1 in 5 kids statewide attended a school that served drinking water with lead contamination. California is making headway to ensure lead-free water in schools, and this legislation would help guarantee that kids have access to lead-free water when they go home, too.
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 and makes them eligible for an additional $2.5 billion in school bus replacement funding. 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.
The bill creates a first-ever program to reconnect communities divided by transportation infrastructure. The program is modeled after the Reconnecting Communities Act, cosponsored by Padilla. The program will fund planning, design, demolition, and reconstruction of street grids, parks, or other infrastructure through $1 billion of dedicated funding.
A factsheet with this information can be found here.