Federal infrastructure bill brings $45.5B to California, some for Valley

California will see the largest share of Infrastructure and Jobs Act money, but still only about half of Governor Gavin Newsom’s investment in the California Comeback Plan

CALIFORNIA – President Joe Biden signed the long-awaited Infrastructure and Jobs Act into law Nov. 15, giving the green light to a $1.2 trillion investment in America’s future. Many of the state investments in California’s $45.5 billion share of the federal legislation piggyback off of Governor Newsom’s $100 billion California Comeback Plan, which makes significant investments in infrastructure, wildfire and emergency preparedness, EV and climate resiliency, drought response and water resiliency and broadband coverage.

“President Biden understands the need to build a climate-resilient future, and the infrastructure package passed by Congress builds on California’s unprecedented investments to maintain and modernize the state,” Newsom said. “This historic infrastructure package stands to accelerate investments in our clean transportation infrastructure, help mitigate some of the worst impacts of climate change and accelerate new projects that will create thousands of jobs.”

From Biden’s bill, California will see $25.3 billion for federal aid highway programs and $4.2 billion for bridge replacement and repairs over five years. In California, there are 1,536 bridges and over 14,229 miles of highway in poor condition. Since 2011, commute times have increased by 14.6% in California and on average, each driver pays $799 per year in costs due to driving on roads in need of repair, according to the state. California can also compete for the $12.5 billion Bridge Investment Program for economically significant bridges and nearly $16 billion of national funding in the bill dedicated for major projects that will deliver substantial economic benefits to communities.

The state is expected to receive $9.45 billion over five years to improve public transportation options. Californians who take public transportation spend an extra 66.6% of their time commuting for work. 16% of transit vehicles in the state are past their useful life. The state will also receive $1.5 billion for infrastructure development for airports over five years.

President Biden believes the United States needs to make up ground in their market share of electric vehicle (EV) sales, currently only one-third the size of the Chinese EV market. The infrastructure package makes significant investments in the EV economy, with $384 million over five years to support the expansion of an EV charging network in California and the opportunity to apply for $2.5 billion in grant funding dedicated to EV charging.

The Central Valley’s own Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) made the trip to Washington D.C. to join President Joe Biden for the signing of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

“The passage of this bill means much more than the desperate need to modernize our aging infrastructure, it also symbolizes Americans coming together for the betterment of this nation and its people,” Hurtado said. “The infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is an investment in California and our nation, by providing our children a brighter, more sustainable future and a stronger economic outlook.”

The federal infrastructure bill will invest approximately $3.5 billion to help improve water infrastructure throughout California, a problem exacerbated in the Central Valley.

“When the community of Teviston went without water during this year’s heatwave, the last thing on their minds was party politics,” Hurtado said. “They needed water no matter, plain and simple.”

The Friant-Kern Canal is high on the list of water infrastructure repairs in Tulare County, specifically the 33-mile subsidence-induced sag between Lindsay and McFarland that has cut water deliveries by 60%.

In 2021, Senator Hurtado introduced Senate Bill 559—The State Water Resiliency Act of 2021. The failed bill would have allocated $785 million to repair vital water delivery systems that provide drinking water to communities throughout California and water to sustain the state’s leading agricultural economy. The funds would have gone to fixing the Friant-Kern Canal, the Delta-Mendota Canal and major portions of the California Aqueduct, all of which have degraded and are losing water as a result of subsidence—the actual shrinking of land. In the state budget ultimately adopted by the Legislature and signed by Governor Newsom, $100 million was allocated to repairing the canals.

Approximately 27% of Californians currently lack high-speed internet access. Under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a minimum of $100 million will be allocated to provide broadband coverage across the state. The legislation will also invest $40 million to protect California’s infrastructure against cyberattacks.

Start typing and press Enter to search