INVEST in America Act heads to House Floor for vote
U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, secured infrastructure and wildfire funding for the Central Coast last week.
According to a news release, Mr. Carbajal fought for “key priorities” in the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation (INVEST) in America Act, which is a part of H.R. 2 or the Moving Forward Act.
House Democrats unveiled H.R. 2 on Thursday as a step towards rebuilding America’s infrastructure.
The INVEST in America Act passed through the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure on Thursday and will head to the House Floor for a vote. Mr. Carbajal is vice chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
“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. 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,” Mr. Carbajal said in a news release.
The INVEST in America Act enables the completion of critical projects through long-term, sustainable funding according to a House Committee on Transportation report.
The act includes several measures that Mr. Carbajal advocated for such as $250 million in funding for the U.S. Forest service over the life of the act.
The funding will reduce “the deferred maintenance backlog of U.S. Forest Service roads so our first responders are better able to respond to and fight fires,” Mr. Carbajal’s news release said.
He also secured an amendment to H.R. 2 that directed the U.S. Government Accountability Office to study the deferred maintenance in the U.S. Forest Service roads, their effects on public safety and wildfire response, and provide recommendations on how Congress can address the conditions of those roads.
Mr. Carbajal also secured provisions that make fee waivers available to local governments who take part in the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan program and will include $750 million in direct allocations to Metropolitan Planning Organizations and local governments.
He also fought for and won more local government funding from the Surface Transportation Program proposed in the INVEST Act and advocated for a 3-year transition out of the program, for communities that previously qualified for funding through the Small Transit Intensive Cities program, instead of a “hard stop.”
“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,” Scott D. McGolpin, director of Santa Barbara County Public Works Department, said.
The INVEST in America Act will also include Mr. Carbajal’s Railroad Yardmaster Protection Act, which protects yardmaster employees with the on-duty hour limits and the restrictions on work communications during their off-duty hours that apply to other train employees.