Updated: Aug 16
If you were one of the many TSB volunteers who called, texted, knocked on doors, and wrote postcards for Josh Harder, Representative of Congress from the 10th district in California, you are part of making the historic Infrastructure Bill that just passed Congress happen. The $1.2 trillion bipartisan bill was signed into law by President Joe Biden on November 15th, 2021, just 10 months into his first term.
So how does the Infrastructure Bill make a difference to the Central Valley counties?
According to Rep. Harder, who belongs to the ‘Problem Solvers Caucus’ in Congress, the bill will bring massive new investments to the Central Valley to repair roads and bridges, build new water infrastructure, and fight and prevent wildfires.
The district that Rep. Harder represents, along with the other adjoining rural counties, tend to trend purple in the blue state of California because of a perception that any federal or state funding tends to get swallowed up by the highly populated and visible areas like San Francisco and Los Angeles, leaving the interior parts of the state neglected.
“Folks in the Valley sent me to Congress to work with Republicans and Democrats alike to deliver new jobs and more funding to our community. That’s exactly what we’ve accomplished today,” says Harder.
Infrastructure Needs in the Central Valley
Bridges: In the 10th congressional district specifically, which covers much of Stanislaus County and parts of San Joaquin County, there are 119 structurally deficient bridges, up from 113 in 2019. An estimated $423.2 million in repairs are needed.
Water Storage and Access: Congressman Jim Costa of the 16th District says the Valley will directly feel the impact of funding for more water storage - and improved water access in rural areas.
"We are going to make a difference now," he said. "$55 billion for clean drinking water for communities that deserve and need it that don't meet state or federal standards."
Broadband: The Central Valley Higher Education Consortium has pushed for broadband equity across the Central Valley for over a year. Now, the group is a step closer to its goal of helping students. "It's no longer something people should or shouldn't have," says Ben Duran, Executive Director of the Central Valley Educational Consortium. "It's like the telephone, it's like electricity, like water, like roads and highways. That's how we see broadband."
The Breakdown of the Bill (New Spending)
Here’s what the Infrastructure Bill delivers for the country in new spending:
· $110 billion for roads and bridges.
· $66 billion for railroads
· $65 billion for the power grid.
· $65 billion for broadband.
· $55 billion for water infrastructure.
· $50+ billion for cybersecurity and climate change.
· $39 billion for public transit.
· $25 billion for airports
· $21 billion for the environment.
· $17 billion for ports.
· $11 billion for safety.
· $8 billion for western water infrastructure.
· $7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging stations.
· $7.5 billion for electric school buses.