Carbajal secures $20 million for Central Coast projects
A major transportation and infrastructure bill is expected to pass in the House this week, inching Congress one step closer to obtaining funding for the improvement of infrastructure across the nation and on the Central Coast.
The bill, titled the INVEST in America Act, would authorize $574 billion in funding to be dispersed over five years to update infrastructure and modernize transportation systems nationwide.
The legislation would fund infrastructure projects like rebuilding aging roads, bridges and rail lines and expanding access to passenger rail and public transit services. It would also address climate concerns by accelerating the shift to electric vehicles and outlines goals to reduce the nation’s fossil fuel consumption.
The bill passed the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee earlier this month and is expected to succeed in the House later this week.
The passage of this bill would also pave the way for $20 million to be allocated for Central Coast projects. Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, sits on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and helped secure this funding.
The funding would allocate $11 million for improvements to Highway 101 between Santa Barbara and Montecito and advancement to the Cabrillo Boulevard Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvement Project. It also sets aside $5 million in funding for the purchase of 11 battery-electric busses in San Luis Obispo and $4 million to build a multi-use path along State Route 1 in San Luis Obispo county.
“The INVEST in America Act will create good paying American jobs that can’t be outsourced by building safe roads and bridges and making sure everyone has access to clean drinking water,” Rep. Carbajal said during a briefing with reporters Tuesday.
The INVEST in America package gives legislative backing to the Biden administration’s American Jobs Plan, which aims to create millions of jobs nationwide through the rebuilding of critical infrastructure. While unemployment rates still remain above pre-pandemic levels according to the latest jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, representatives are optimistic that the bill could help fuel recovery nationwide.
“No doubt what this (bill) will do is continue to put resources into our economy and do that by adding jobs,” Rep. Carbajal said Tuesday. “So this is one of those multiplier effects that anytime you invest in our infrastructure and public works, it has a multiplier effect in lifting up our economy, helping our economy bounce back.”
He continued, “The funding that will go to (the Central Coast) will continue to build on the American Rescue Plan that infused resources into our district to help those on unemployment, local governments, schools and hospitals. It really creates a synergy of economic investment in our community that, in doing so, will lift up our local economy.”
If the bill passes in the House, it will then move to the floor of the Senate for approval before making its way to the president’s desk.