California State Association of Counties Applauds Passage of House Infrastructure Bill
Legislation Includes Important Wins for California’s Counties
July 2, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Sara Floor, Communications Manager
916-327-7500, ext. 516; email: email@example.com
WASHINGTON, D.C. – California State Association of Counties (CSAC) issues the following statement regarding House passage of the Moving Forward Act.
Yesterday, the House of Representatives took a major step toward reviving the struggling national economy when it voted to approve a $1.5 trillion infrastructure package. The legislation (HR 2) includes important investments in local roads, bridges, transit, rail, housing, broadband, drinking and wastewater systems, energy, health care, and other programs.
“CSAC applauds House lawmakers for passing a comprehensive infrastructure investment bill,” said CSAC Executive Director Graham Knaus. “As local economies struggle to find their footing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, this important legislation would invest much-needed federal dollars for a wide range of infrastructure initiatives while leveraging state and local resources for shovel-ready projects. We urge the Senate to make passage of an infrastructure bill a top priority.”
In addition to providing billions of dollars to help rebuild California’s transportation infrastructure, strengthen rural broadband, and support affordable housing, among other key investments, the Moving Forward Act includes several major transportation policy wins championed by California’s counties, including:
- Language sponsored by Representative John Garamendi (D-CA) that would safeguard federal Emergency Relief (ER) funding for roads and bridges that have been damaged in a major disaster. Specifically, HR 2 includes the text of Representative Garamendi’s Transportation Emergency Relief Funds Availability Act (HR 3193), which would ensure that local transportation agencies have sufficient time under federal law to complete disaster recovery and repair work. The impetus for the provision is a 2019 decision by the Federal Highway Administration to deny ER time-extension requests for a number of local transportation projects in California.
- Provisions designed to protect $250 million in annual federal aviation grants to California airports, as well as language that would prevent the FAA from diverting $70 million in state and local general sales tax revenues away from their intended purposes. These important policy changes were included in a floor amendment spearheaded by Representative Grace Napolitano (D-CA) and reflect the CSAC-endorsed State and Local General Sales Tax Protection Act (HR 2939). If signed into law, the Napolitano language would restore nearly 30 years of federal aviation policy that allowed California’s counties, cities, and the State to spend aviation-related general sales tax revenues on voter-approved purposes.
- Language that would require states to spend 20 percent of their National Highway Performance Program and Surface Transportation Program dollars on desperately needed bridge repair and rehabilitation projects. In addition, HR 2 would increase the amount of dedicated funding for locally owned off-system bridges to over $1 billion annually, up from $775 million under current law.
- Language directing the U.S. Department of Transportation to finalize regulations implementing the FAST Act’s federal-state environmental reciprocity pilot program. Finalizing these regulations would pave the way for California to apply for participation in the pilot program, which would allow Caltrans to use documents completed under the California Environmental Quality Act to satisfy the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act for State transportation projects, as well as for a specified number of local projects.