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Napolitano Secures Over $37 Billion for CA Highways & Transit, Key Local Priorities, and Critical Improvements to Nation’s Water Infrastructure in House Infrastructure Package

July 1, 2020
Press Release

(WASHINGTON, DC)  Today, Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (D-El Monte) voted for H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act, a more than $1.5 trillion investment to rebuild American infrastructure from roads, bridges, and transit systems, to schools, housing, and broadband access.

“The Moving Forward Act is a comprehensive infrastructure plan for the 21st Century, which will create millions of good-paying jobs and get our economy moving again,” Napolitano said. “The surface transportation section of this bill, which I helped write, will make a significant impact in improving the lives of San Gabriel Valley residents and all Americans by reducing commute times, increasing safety on our highways, bridges, buses and rails, and safeguarding our environment. I am especially thrilled that my Water Recycling Investment and Improvement Act is included in the final legislation, which will give local water agencies the funding needed to increase capacities for existing recycling plants and to create new projects to boost water supplies. I would like to thank the cities, transportation agencies, and water agencies in my district and state which were integral in informing Congress of their concerns and ideas for infrastructure policy. This valued input will help bring federal dollars to our region to put people back to work, while ensuring our long-term infrastructure needs are addressed. It is time to build the infrastructure of the future.”

Napolitano, the highest-ranking California member on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, secured over $37 billion for California in the surface transportation portion of the bill—INVEST in America Act. Since the Committee adopted that bill, Napolitano was able to secure the following additional surface-related provisions:

  • Requires the Department of Transportation when working with local agencies on transit-oriented development projects to address homelessness housing assistance.
    • The expansion of the Gold Line in Napolitano’s district has created important housing opportunities for residents that could be used to also address the homelessness crisis we are facing in the San Gabriel Valley.
  • Creates a Truck Driver Leasing Task Force that is based on a bill Napolitano introduced last Congress, H.R. 4144, the Port Truck Driver Bill of Rights.
    • This will focus federal regulators and policy experts on creating solutions to controversial leasing arrangements in the trucking industry that are especially found at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. These illegal tactics by some trucking companies underpay truck drivers by forcing them into leasing arrangements that require them to work long hours without abiding by minimum wage laws, let alone reasonable pay and benefits. This task force will address these unfair practices against workers.
  • Allows electric vehicle charging stations at park-and-ride lots and rest areas located along the highway. Federal law currently prohibits electric vehicle charging stations at these locations and Napolitano’s provision fixes this. 
    • This is a huge problem at 20 park-and-ride lots in LA County, including the El Monte Bus Station in Napolitano’s district, which is the largest bus transit station on the West coast.
  • Stops the Trump Administration from threatening to withhold $250 million annually in FAA grants to California airports and divert $70 million in CA State and Local general sales taxes away from their intended purpose. This provision was included in Napolitano’s amendment on the House floor and is the same as her bill, H.R. 2939, the State and Local General Sales Tax Protection Act.
    • Restores 29 years of FAA policy that the restriction on aviation fuel sales taxes for aviation purposes is based on excise taxes and not general sales taxes, allowing the State of California, California Counties and California cities to continue to spend their general sales tax revenues on their voter approved purpose.
  • Protects the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan program from being raided by other programs. TIFIA is incredibly important to Southern California as we are able to use this low-cost financing with our Measure R, Measure M, and SB1 money to speed up transportation projects so they are completed now instead of 30 years from now.
    • This means Southern California residents, businesses, and commuters get the benefits of these highway, transit and rail improvements today instead of waiting for future funding cycles, and it also saves money in the long run by shortening the time value of the costs of construction.

As Chairwoman of the Transportation Committee’s Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee and a senior member of the House Natural Resources Committee, Napolitano also successfully included in H.R. 2 the following provisions to deliver federal assistance to clean water projects, water supply projects, and environmental improvements and recreation:

  • Includes Napolitano's bill, H.R. 1162, the Water Recycling Investment and Improvement Act, to increase from $50 million to $500 million the authorization for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Title XVI program, which is the most successful and primary water recycling program of the federal government. Title XVI provides cost-shared funding for water recycling projects that reclaim and reuse municipal, industrial, domestic or agricultural wastewater, and, naturally impaired ground or surface waters across the 17 Western states.
    • Since 1992, Congress has authorized 53 Title XVI recycling projects, producing more than 400,000 acre-feet of drought-resistant water supply. Unfortunately, due to the lack of funding, there is a backlog of almost $1 billion dollars for congressionally authorized Title XVI projects – demonstrating a clear need to continue and expand funding.
  • Reauthorizes the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) at $40 billion over 5 years to construct water treatment systems that address today’s water challenges to clean up our rivers, streams, lakes and ocean for improved drinking water, recreation, and the environment.
  • Authorizes $5.6 billion for clean water act grant programs (including $1 billion for treatment of PFAS chemicals and other emerging contaminants) that can provide direct assistance to local water agencies.
  • Authorizes $3.4 billion to reauthorize various regional water programs over the next five years that the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment recently passed, which include: the National Estuary Program, the San Francisco Bay Program, the Puget Sound Program, the Great Lakes Program, the Chesapeake Bay Program, and the Lake Pontchartrain Program.
  • Appropriates $10 billion to the Army Corps of Engineers for construction projects for flood control, navigation, and environmental restoration.
    • This funding could be used to perform the Whittier Narrows Dam renovation project that will protect Southern California from major flooding events.
  • Appropriates $5 billion for operation and maintenance of Army Corps projects which can be used on the Los Angeles, San Gabriel, and Rio Hondo rivers to improve the river landscape and maintain proper flood control.

H.R. 2 passed the House by a vote of 233 to 188 and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

A fact sheet on the Moving Forward Act is available here.

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