Carbajal Secures Central Coast Priorities in Infrastructure Package
Santa Barbara, Calif. – Yesterday, Congressman Salud Carbajal (CA-24) secured key priorities for Central Coast workers and families in H.R. 2, the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America (INVEST in America) Act, a key component of the Moving Forward Framework that House Democrats released earlier this year. The bill has passed through Committee and will now head to the House Floor for a vote next week.
“Every dollar we put toward repairing our infrastructure is a sound investment. This bill makes sure the Central Coast can repair our existing infrastructure and ensures new infrastructure is built to withstand the effects of extreme weather due to climate change,” said Rep. Carbajal. “This massive investment to bolster our economy is especially critical right now, as many of our local governments are struggling under the weight of budget shortfalls as a result of COVID-19. I’m glad to serve as an advocate for Central Coast infrastructure projects in Congress and look forward to seeing this bill to the finish line.”
The INVEST in America Act includes several measures Congressman Carbajal has advocated for:
The INVEST in America act nearly doubles the set-aside in the Federal Lands Transportation Program for the U.S. Forest Service, which is based on Carbajal’s bipartisan FOREST Act, introduced in 2019. The total set-aside Carbajal helped secure provides $250 million to the program over the life of the bill.
This crucial increase in funding will go toward reducing deferred maintenance backlog of U.S. Forest Service roads so our first responders are better able to respond to and fight fires. In addition, the Congressman secured an amendment directing the GAO to assess current deferred maintenance of U.S. Forest Service roads, impacts on public safety and wildfire response, and provide recommendations on how Congress can continue to address the backlog.
Financing Central Coast Infrastructure Projects
Carbajal also secured provisions to make fee waivers available for local governments who participate in the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan program and include $750 million in direct allocations to Metropolitan Planning Organizations and local governments.
Carbajal secured an increase in local governments’ share of the Surface Transportation Program.
“The San Luis Obispo region would greatly benefit from an increase in Surface Transportation Program funding, as proposed in the INVEST Act. This is the quickest way to get funding in the hands of local jurisdictions and help their economic recovery efforts,” said Pete Rodgers, Executive Director of the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments and President of the National Association of County Engineers.
Bolsters the existing off-system bridge set-aside, which will yield over $1 billion dollars in investments.
“Local governments own the vast majority of our nation’s transportation infrastructure. I applaud Congressman Carbajal’s continued efforts to ensure the safety of Santa Barbara County’s bridges with increased funding to ensure our residents and local economy will re-emerge from the current pandemic stronger than ever,” said Scott D. McGolpin, Director of Santa Barbara County Public Works Department.
Carbajal advocated for a 3-year phase out, as opposed to a hard stop, for communities which previously qualified for funding through the Small Transit Intensive Cities program.
“On behalf of MTD, we would like to express our appreciation to Congressman Carbajal and his staff for their work ensuring that federal funding for public transit service remains a priority. The phase out funding provision for the Small Transit Intensive Tier program included in the INVEST Act in is an important legislative objective for the district, and its inclusion is a testament to Congressman Carbajal’s commitment to public transportation,” said Jerry Estrada, General Manager, Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District.
The bill will also enact Carbajal’s Railroad Yardmaster Protection Act so yardmasters are protected under federal hours of service requirements.
Carbajal is vice chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and has been a vocal proponent of infrastructure investments on the Central Coast and across the nation. He represents California’s 24th Congressional District, encompassing Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and part of Ventura County.