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Climate and Environment

SoCal Could Get Billions For Infrastructure Projects. These Are The Region's Possible Improvements

A complex, multi-layered freeway interchange, seen from above
The Judge Harry Pregerson Interchange near Watts, connecting the 105 and 110 freeways
(Denys Nevozhai
/
Unsplash)
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It's almost there. Nearly $1 trillion in federal infrastructure spending is on track after a landmark bill passed through the US Senate on Tuesday. And given the size of the Golden State, a good chunk of that will come to us here in Southern California.

People often describe the infrastructure as crumbling, and sure, there are roads and bridges that are aging and in poor condition and needing new funding to bring up to snuff.

But this bill goes further, adding less-traditional spending on things like broadband access, replacing lead drinking water pipes, hardening the electric grid against wildfires, and funding measures to reduce the damage expected from climate change.

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If it passes the House and becomes law, it would go down as one of the nation’s great infrastructure spending sprees, right up there with the programs that built the Hoover Dam in Depression-era 1930s, the interstate highway system and moon shot programs in the Cold War 1950s and 60s. And all those left their mark on California while creating many high-quality jobs.

The bill the House sent to the Senate, HR 3684, contained hundreds of specific projects added in by local members of Congress to serve local needs. Things like freeway overpasses, traffic signals, bike paths, and so on.

But the bill the Senate approved instead did not include those projects, also known as "earmarks." It's not clear which, if any, of those local spending priorities might get put back into the bill until House members review and propose further changes to the bill, said Tess Whittlesey, spokeswoman for Sen. Alex Padilla.

The list below describes the amounts and descriptions of spending the Senate version approved. And it also includes the earmarks that were part of the bill that may or may not end up getting into the final version.

Here’s the version that went to the Senate in mid-July, the latest available on the Senate website.

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A member of a roadworks crew wearing a yellow safety jacket and white hard hat works on a road resurfacing project
A roadworks crew work on road resurfacing in Alhambra
(FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images
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AFP)

Roads, Bridges and Active Transportation

The bill has $25.3 billion for highways and $4.2 billion for bridge replacements and repairs over the next five years for California. To put that into perspective, the increase in California’s gas tax and vehicle license fees approved a few years ago with SB1 brought the state an added $5.4 billion a year. So, the new federal money is indeed a significant new chunk of change.

What follows is the wishlist of earmarks submitted by local members of Congress:

Agoura Hills, $5 million for a wildlife crossing bridge over the 101 Freeway at Liberty Canyon

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Arcadia, $1.5 million for the “Emerald Necklace Quarry Clasp” Peck Park Trail.

Azusa, $3 million for median island installation along Arrow Highway

Avalon, $6.7 million for the Cabrillo Mole, a transportation hub for cross-channel passengers

Anaheim, $750,000 for intersection safety

Burbank, $2 million for safety barrier rails at the Olive/Magnolia Bridge

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Camarillo, $6 million for the Leesdale Passing Siding extension and upgrade project.

Camarillo, $4 million to widen Central Ave to add bike lanes near U.S. 101

Castaic L.A. County, $3.7 million for Commerce Center Bridge

Cerritos, $18 million to replace Del Amo Bridge and improve signals

Chino, $5 million, for Pine Ave. extension

Colton, $4.4 million, Reche Canyon Road alignment

Corona, $3 million for I-15 corridor operations project

Corona, $5 million for the El Cerrito segment of the Temescal Canyon Road widening project

Cudahy, $1.7 million for complete streets improvements citywide

Diamond Bar, $18 million to relieve a chokepoint where state Highways 57 and 60 converge.

Duarte, $1.2 million to improve the Watson bike/walking/horse trail along Royal Oaks Blvd.

El Monte, $2.6 million for bike and pedestrian improvements on Parkway Drive and Merced Street.

Fontana, $15 million to improve the Malaga Bridge over Foothill Blvd.

Garden Grove, $6.25 million for Harbor Blvd. street improvements

Garden Grove, $400,000 for a traffic signal on Chapman Ave. at Lamplighter

Glendale, $2 million to rehab Broadway

Glendale, $2.4 million for community beautification

Glendora, $5 million for bike and walking paths, and other mobility improvements

Hawthorne, $950,000 for 120th Street improvement project

Highland, $3 million for the 5th Street interchange at state Route 210

Huntington Park, $1 million to ease Slauson Ave. congestion

Jurupa Valley/Eastvale, $20 million for the I-15 Northern Extension

Indio, $20 million for Monroe Street Interchange project

La Cañada Flintridge, $4.8 million for Flint Canyon Trail repair and restoration

La Puente, $2.25 million for complete streets improvements on Amar Road

La Verne, $998,000 for bike and pedestrian project on Puddingstone Drive

Lawndale, $1 million for a Lawndale-Redondo Beach Blvd. project

Long Beach, $1.45 million for curb ramps and sidewalk improvements to make them accessible to people with disabilities

Long Beach, $12 million for Anaheim Street Corridor improvements

Long Beach, $8 million for improvements to make Artesia a “Great Boulevard.”

Los Angeles, $4 million for improvements near the Florence A Line light rail station

Los Angeles, $400,000 to close a gap in the Chandler Bikeway near Toluca Lake

Los Angeles, $5.2 million for Atlantic Ave. improvements

Los Angeles, $710,000 for new traffic signal at Morrison and Sepulveda

Los Angeles, $710,400 for traffic signal at Plummer and White Oak Ave.

Los Angeles, $1 million for cool neighborhoods projects in Canoga Park

Los Angeles, $800,000 for mobility projects in East Los Angeles

Los Angeles, $480,000 for a project to convert highways to boulevards

Los Angeles, $5 million for I-405 Express Lanes in the Sepulveda Pass

Los Angeles County, $4 million for “mobility wallet” demonstration and research study to allow private contractors to use TAP cards for payments.

Los Angeles and other cities: $5 million for a Rail to Rail/River trail that converts an underused railroad right-of-way into a pedestrian and bike corridor connecting L.A., Inglewood, Huntington Park, Vernon, Maywood and Bell.

Los Angeles, $3.4 million for an initiative to improve freight movement through Southern California.

Menifee, $12 million for Scott Road/Bundy Canyon road widening

Ojai, $440,000 for Ojai Ave. pedestrian crossing and safety lights

Palmdale, $8.7 million for access and safety improvements at Plant 42, where aircraft are manufactured.

Oxnard, $3 million for an interchange on U.S. 101 at Del Norte Blvd.

Redlands, $400,000 for intersection improvements at Highland and Wabash Avenues.

Panorama City, $3.3 million for pedestrian improvements on Woodman Ave.

Pasadena, $1.6 million for protected bike lanes on Union Street.

Redlands, $1.7 million for sustainable mobility expansion project.

Rialto, $2.4 million for improvements at the 210 Freeway and Alder Ave.

San Dimas, $1.6 million for Arrow Highway rehabilitation.

San Pedro, $1.5 million for Garfield Avenue complete streets upgrade.

Santa Ana, $4 million for First Street pedestrian improvements.

Santa Barbara, $11 million for multimodal corridor project from Santa Barbara to Montecito, including Highway 101, bike and pedestrian improvements.

Santa Clarita, $3.7 million for “quick fix” circulation improvements.

San Fernando, $844,800 for sidewalk repairs.

Simi Valley, $4 million for an upgrade to the Sequoia Avenue railroad grade crossing.

Sun Valley and North Hollywood, $594,027 for Bike path phase III along San Fernando Road.

Tarzana, $500,000 for Tarzana Crossing “Great Streets” project.

Torrance, $652,800 to improve Intersection capacity at PCH at Crenshaw.

Van Nuys/North Hollywood, $1.8 million for East San Fernando Valley traffic signals on the “High Injury Network".

Victorville, $5 million to widen National Trail Highway.

West Covina, $3 million for pedestrian and disabled persons accessibility and signal synchronization.

West Hollywood, $3 million for complete street improvements along Beverly and Robertson boulevards.

West Hollywood, $4.9 million for Melrose Avenue complete streets improvements.

Wilmington, $1 million for the waterfront Avalon pedestrian bridge.

Yucaipa, $1 million for an interchange project at I-10 and Wildwood Canyon Road.

metro-bus.jpg
Metro bus
(Frederick Dennstedt via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)

Transit

The bill includes $9.5 billion for California local governments to fix and upgrade public transit systems, modernize buses and rail cars, make stations more accessible and pay for more frequent transit service, and even new routes. Part of this would add funding to the Metro Purple Line extension on L.A.’s west side.

The bill also has $2.5 billion to help school districts transition to zero-emission school buses. There’s the potential for another $2.5 billion in grants and reimbursements toward cleaner school commuting vehicles. Clean Commute for Kids Act

Local members of Congress had asked for these projects to be in the infrastructure bill, but it's unclear if they will make it into the final version:

Anaheim, $650,000 for The Anaheim Way Night Owl Transit Service.

Anaheim, $5 million for a transit security and operations center.

Commerce, $2 million for new transit maintenance center.

Culver City, $3.5 million to electrify buses and upgrade bus yard.

Gardena, $4.4 million for zero-emission buses.

Inglewood, $9.2 million for an automated people mover connecting Metro bus and light rail lines to sports stadiums.

Los Angeles, $2 million to relocate underground power lines along the route of a DTLA street car project.

Los Angeles, $5 million for the Link Union Station project that would allow trains to run through the station where there are now stub ends, also to accommodate high speed rail.

Los Angeles, $10 million for Sepulveda Transit Corridor.

Los Angeles, $17.6 million for Destination Crenshaw streetscape improvements.

Los Angeles, $10 million for Vermont Transit Corridor improvements.

Los Angeles, $5 million for the West Santa Ana Branch Corridor improvements.

Ojai, $440,000 for an electric trolly.

Oxnard, $1.7 million to replace zero emission buses, add charging stations and job training to manage zero emission vehicles.

Pasadena, $2.1 million for zero emissions buses.

San Bernardino, $2 million for rehabilitation of the “I” Street operating maintenance facility.

San Bernardino, $5 million for West Valley Connector bus Rapid Transit, and zero emission buses.

San Fernando, $1.3 million for a trolly line.

San Fernando city to Van Nuys, $10 million for East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor Project.

Santa Ana, $1.28 for a “Next Generation” Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center.

Temple City, $6.2 million for ADA, traffic signal ad pavement improvements along bus routes.

Torrance, $4.4 million for bus service from Torrance to Florence.

Van Nuys, Arleta, Pacoima, $1.2 million for East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor and a transit-oriented community plan.

Wilmington, $5 million for zero emissions buses and charging stations.

metro-fast.jpg
Metro train
(Orbitgal via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)

Railroads

The bill adds significant funding to the federal grant programs to increase safety for trains and to eliminate places where trains cross roads. The bill creates a new grade crossing program to separate train and vehicles around West Coast ports like Long Beach and Los Angeles.

These are some of the earmark projects local members of Congress requested:

Baldwin Park, $2.3 million dollars for at-grade safety improvements at Francisquito Ave.

Covina, $3 million for grade crossing safety projects in Covina along the Metrolink corridor.

Rancho Cucamonga, $2 million for San Bernardino rail line track rehabilitation including Montclair and Upland.

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A valve wheel on a set of water pipes.
(Andrew Cullen/LAist)

Water

California was the first state to declare that clean, affordable and accessible water was a human right. The new infrastructure bill provides more than $8 billion for improving water systems in western states, so California should get some of that.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California might count on some funding to do large-scale regional water recycling, for example. Also, the money could fund stormwater capture and reuse projects, like the ones that filter rainwater into underground aquifers rather than let it flow into the ocean.

The bill also contains :

$1.8 billion in a revolving loan fund for clean water and improved drinking water projects.

$15 billion to replace some drinking water pipes containing lead, which can cause health problems. Sen. Alex Padilla calls it “a down payment” on the nationwide need.

$10 billion to get the so-called “forever chemicals” known as PFAS out out of the water. About one-fifth of Californians receive drinking water that has some contamination from Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl substances. However, it’s unclear how much of the money will be allocated to California.

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Wind power in action near Palm Springs
(Lindsay William-Ross/LAist)

Power Grid

Nationwide, this bill makes $5 billion in grants to harden the power grid, but that’s only a drop in the bucket toward even what California needs.

For example, Southern California Edison has already said it’s spending several hundred million dollars on its grid hardening projects – like replacing bare metal power lines with ones that are covered in a composite material that is less likely to start a fire in high winds.

The bill also provides $2.5 billion dollars nationwide to expand electric power transmission lines. Los Angeles is in line to get $347,200 for a high voltage power line conversion project.

With more Angelenos driving electric vehicles, we need more charging stations. The bill has $384 million to be spent over five years to expand the electric vehicle charging network in the state. Plus there’s another $2.6 billion for reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality in California.

Some projects that local members of Congress wanted included are:

Burbank, $1 million for an electric vehicle DC Fast Charging Network at I-5 and the 134 Freeway.

San Pedro, $120,650 for an electric vehicle car share program.

Duarte wildfire
The sun is seen behind smoke from the Bobcat fire rising above in the Angeles National Forest above Duarte.
(ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images
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AFP)

Wildfire Protection

The bill provides nearly $700 million to chop back trees and plants that can spark fires on power lines or cause fires to spread. It’s unclear how much of that would come to California. And once areas are burned, the bill includes $450 million to repair landscape and important public assets that get damaged in wildfires.

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A person uses a laptop computer.
(Glenn Carstens-Peters/Unsplash)

Broadband and Affordable Internet

California is in line to get at least $100 million to provide broadband coverage across the state. That should bring broadband to more than a half-million residents who don’t have it right now. There’s also money to help people pay for internet service. Nearly 11 million low-income Californians may qualify for subsidized internet access.

Search the Bill for Details

What questions do you have when you look at your water, power, sewer, or other vital systems that help make your life possible in Southern California?
Sharon McNary reveals the often-surprising and important systems that make life possible in and around L.A. Now it's your turn. What questions do you have?

Updated August 14, 2021 at 1:29 PM PDT
This story was updated to more clearly reflect that the inclusion of specific projects proposed by members of the House remains uncertain.