Although the Trump Administration has gotten off to a rocky start with the State of California, officials here have set forth an ambitious list of infrastructure projects for federal funding.
State legislators want to rebuild its crumbling roads and bridges and improve transit and water storage, and it will take plenty of money from Washington to make it happen—about $100 billion. Funds are being sought for 51 projects, according to Nancy McFadden, the governor’s executive secretary.
“In the short-term, these projects will benefit businesses up and down the state and put thousands to work — many in communities with the highest rates of unemployment,” McFadden wrote. “Long-term, this investment will have lasting, expansive economic benefits by moving goods and people faster, protecting vulnerable communities from flooding, bolstering emergency response capabilities, saving and storing more water and improving energy reliability.”
The list of priority projects includes roads, levees, bridges, ports, train and public transit systems, water storage and recycling projects, and energy, military, veterans and emergency operations facilities and services.
Immigration advocates in the state have been feuding with Trump over his travel ban of Muslims and promises of mass deportation among other things. Last week, violence erupted at UC Berkeley among protestors who disapprove of Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos being allowed to speak on campus. They say he is affiliated with the alt-right, White Supremacist movement, and is not welcome there. Trump threatened to take away federal funding from the school in a tweet.
Regardless, the state is asking for $100 billion to help defray the $136-billion backlog of necessary repairs on state highways and local roads. Law makers are working on legislation to bring in adding funding sources.
State leaders are encouraged by the president’s pledge to put $1 trillion dollars into infrastructure projects. Brown said “amen” to Trump’s inauguration promise to “build new roads and highways and bridges and airports and tunnels and railways all across our wonderful nation.”
A few priority projects to directly benefit Southern Californians include:
•Widening and replacing interchanges of the 710 Freeway serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach
•Strengthening the Otay Mesa Mexican border security with a new port of entry for efficient crossings
•Constructing 16 miles of express lanes along major commute corridors on the 405 Freeway in Orange County
•Upgrading and replacing the Los Angeles Metro rail fleet
•Building an early-warning earthquake system
State Transportation Agency Secy. Brian Kelly said he plans to meet soon with new Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to discuss the wish list.
Will Trump punish California for its stance against his administration and reduce federal funding?
Kelly described the state’s relationship with federal officials as “very functional and good.” He added, “We are going to work hard towards making that continue.”