State Gains Funds from Federal Infrastructure Bill

The federal infrastructure bill signed by President Joe Biden this week will provide much-needed funding to help California improve its roads, bridges and ports.

Much of the annual maintenance on California transportation infrastructure has been deferred for the better part of a decade, creating a significant backlog of repairs, modernization and expansion needed to keep pace with technology advances and increases in traffic.

Paying for the transportation network historically has been a partnership between the federal government and the states.

Earlier this year, the California Chamber of Commerce urged the California congressional delegation to support the federal bipartisan infrastructure plan, pointing out that the state’s $3.1 trillion economy depends on the condition of its infrastructure.

Roads, highways, bridges and rail networks are the bloodstream of the California economy, providing passage for delivering agricultural products to state ports, just-in-time components to manufacturers, as well as getting tourists to recreation and entertainment centers and workers to their jobs.

An improved infrastructure network will help keep California goods and services moving and support the state’s vibrant economy.

California Allocation

California’s share of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed on November 15 includes the following:

• $25.3 billion for federal aid highway apportioned programs and $4.2 billion for bridge replacement and repairs over five years.

• $9.45 billion over five years to improve public transportation options across the state.

• $384 million over five years to expand the state’s electric vehicle (EV) charging network. California also will have the chance to apply for $2.5 billion in grant funding dedicated to EV charging.

• At least $100 million to help provide broadband coverage across the state. About 27% of Californians will be eligible for the Affordability Connectivity Benefit, which will help low-income families afford internet access.

• $84 million over five years to protect against wildfires and $40 million to protect against cyberattacks. The White House predicts Californians also will benefit from the bill’s $3.5 billion national investment in weatherization, which will reduce families’ energy costs.

• $3.5 billion over five years to improve water infrastructure across the state and ensure the availability of clean, safe drinking water for California communities.

• $1.5 billion over five years for infrastructure development for airports.

Several years ago, Californians agreed to increase revenues for transportation improvements. The infusion of federal funds will be a welcome investment to help with California’s hundreds of bridges and thousands of miles of roads in poor condition and demands for rail and transit to support economic growth and desperately needed new housing.

Staff Contact: Leah Silverthorn

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Leah B. Silverthorn served as a CalChamber policy advocate from May 2018 to February 2022. She specialized in climate change, air quality, energy, environmental justice, marijuana/cannabis, and transportation and infrastructure issues. She brought to the CalChamber more than a decade of legal experience in environmental, energy, and land use matters. Immediately before coming to CalChamber, she was the principal owner of Silverthorn Legal, based in Seattle, Washington. She focused on environmental litigation, contaminated property redevelopment, and environmental cost recovery and defense. She is an honors graduate of Indiana University-Bloomington, with a B.S. in public affairs and environmental management. She earned her J.D., with honors, at the Indiana University McKinney School of Law, where she was articles editor for the Indiana International and Comparative Law Review and a member of the Moot Court Board.