Source: United States House of Representatives – Congresswoman Grace Napolitano (32 D California)
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (D-El Monte) announced she secured $19.975 Million for nine of the Member Designated Projects she submitted to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, in the “Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America (INVEST in America) Act.
“I am very pleased that critical funding and priorities I submitted on behalf of my constituents, commuters, and transit agencies are included in this bill. I thank all of our cities and local stakeholders for their valued input, which will help bring federal dollars to our region to put people back to work, while ensuring our long-term infrastructure needs are addressed. As the senior Californian on the Committee, I am proud that this bill will provide $38 billion in transportation funding for California, including $27 billion for highway projects and $11 billion for transit,” Napolitano said. “The INVEST in America Act will make a significant impact in improving American lives by reducing commute times, increasing safety on our highways, bridges, buses and rails, and safeguarding our environment. I thank Chairs DeFazio, Norton, and Payne for working with me on provisions important to the San Gabriel Valley included in this bill to improve transportation in our region and country.”
The INVEST in America Act, which passed out of committee early this morning, is the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s $547 billion surface transportation reauthorization bill that will create good-paying jobs to rebuild and re-imagine America’s surface transportation infrastructure. This package helps meet President Biden’s vision—as laid out in the American Jobs Plan—by investing in American workers and communities of all sizes, while tackling the climate crisis head-on.
Projects championed by Napolitano include:
Project Name: Parkway Drive and Merced Street Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvements
Project Location: El Monte
Amount Awarded: $2,600,000
Project Name: Francisquito Avenue Metrolink Rail crossing improvements
Project Location: Baldwin Park
Amount Awarded: $2,300,000
Project Name: Donald & Bernice Watson Multi-Use Pathway Improvement Project
Project Location: Duarte
Amount Awarded: $1,225,000
Project Name: Arrow Highway Raised Median Installation Project
Project Location: Azusa
Amount Awarded: $3,000,000
Project Name: Bicycle and Pedestrian Project on Puddingstone Drive
Project Location: La Verne
Amount Awarded: $998,000
Project Name: Arrow Highway road and sidewalk reconstruction
Project Location: San Dimas
Amount Awarded: $1,600,000
Project Name: Amar Road in Unincorporated West Puente Valley
Project Location: Unincoprorated L.A. County
Amount Awarded: $2,250,000
Project Name: Azusa Avenue Pedestrian Handicap Accessibility and Signal Synchronization Improvements Project
Project Location: West Covina
Amount Awarded: $3,000,000
Project Name: Quest Zone and Grade Crossing Safety Improvements throughout City
Project Location: Covina
Amount Awarded: $3,000,000
Napolitano, the highest-ranking California member on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, additionally secured the following provisions on behalf of her district, region, and state:
- Provides $38 billion for California over the 5-year life of the bill
- $27 billion in Highway funding
- $11 billion in Transit funding
- Allowing Electric Vehicle Charging Stations at Park-and-Rides and Rest Areas
- Federal law currently prohibits these stations at these locations as a part of the larger prohibition on commercial activity at these locations This is a problem at 65+ park-and-ride lots in California, including the El Monte Bus Station in the 32nd District, which is the largest bus transit station on the West coast. Provision only allows electric vehicle charging stations and does not allow any other new commercial activity. Electric vehicles owners should be allowed to drive to the metro station and charge their car while taking transit.
- Transit worker protection program, requiring transit agencies to review their individual safety proposals with transit union engagement, and agree to modifications that are necessary for safety improvements.
- Based on Napolitano’s previously introduced bill, the Transit Worker and Pedestrian Protection Act.
- Railway Crossings – Makes changes to federal law to make it easier for local and state governments to implement grade crossing safety projects and remove many of the burdens placed on these projects by private railroads. It requires a minimum private railroad contribution, caps in-kind contributions from railroads so that their contribution is substantive dollars, and makes sure the railroads contribution is based on actual costs of the project and not theoretical costs.
- The ACE grade separation project is the most successful grade crossing separation and safety project in the country having spent over $1.5 Billion on these efforts.
- Provides $2.5 billion for a new highway rail underpass construction program (known as a grade separation grant program). This was created after Napolitano had the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments testify earlier last year regarding the importance of highway rail safety and the aforementioned Alameda Corridor East (ACE) underpass construction program in the region.
- Truck Driver Leasing Task Force – Creates a task force of the Departments of Transportation and Labor to 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.
- Based on Napolitano’s previously introduced bill, the Port Truck Driver Bill of Rights
- Allows states to use federal transportation funds to build suicide barriers on bridges. Studies show that the vast majority of suicides on bridges are because of a sudden impulse, and if a barrier were erected the person would not continue with a suicide attempt.
- Based on the bill Napolitano coauthors, the Barriers to Suicide Act (H.R. 792).
- Oppose Increasing truck size and weight – The bill does not include any language increasing truck size and weight
- Creates a set-aside within the low or no emission transit vehicle grant program for bigger applications for electric buses. This will benefit Foothill Transit, LA Metro, and Proterra bus company in the San Gabriel Valley, who are all leaders on electric vehicle bus implementation.
- Includes a program to provide bigger purchases for electric buses in order to stimulate the electric bus market.
- Updates Infra Grant Program Requirements so that project selection is based on merit. Southern California transportation projects, such as the 57/60 confluence project and the ACE highway Rail grade crossing separation projects, are the highest-ranked projects in the country but consistently get overlooked because of politics.
- Makes the grant requirements more associated with project quality and less by politics.
- Provides over $8.3 Billion in the Transportation Alternatives Program for Bicyclists and Pedestrians, a 60% increase in current funding. Many of our residents and cities in the San Gabriel Valley use this funding to improve bike trails and walkways that get residents to school, work, and the Metro station or bus stop.
- Improve the Transit-Oriented Development Program and address homelessness in housing around transit stations.
- The bill includes Napolitano’s provision to improve housing around transit stations, and take into account housing persons experiencing homelessness at transit-oriented developments.
- Increases Transit Funding to $109 Billion
More information on the INVEST in America Act can be found here.