Rebuilding Our Infrastructure
In America, both parties have to get back to dreaming big and building big things to invest in our future. Years ago, Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt helped bring us out of the Great Depression with projects like the Hoover Dam. Republican President Eisenhower continued this bipartisan commitment to the future by building our interstate highway system. These projects created jobs and laid the foundation for a modern economy to support a strong middle class.
Unfortunately, our infrastructure today is in dire need of improvement. According to the not-for-profit transportation research organization TRIP, 42 percent of Sacramento area’s roadways are in need of repair, leading to more time on the road that forces the average driver to pay nearly $1,000 more a year to fill up his or her gas tank. Improving our infrastructure is also a matter of public safety - especially with more than 13,000 miles of levees and more than 2,700 structurally deficient bridges in our state.
Poor infrastructure endangers residents, discourages new business, and slows down our economy. To create jobs and build an economy that works for the middle class, we need to get back to the bipartisan American tradition of investing in our future. Improving Sacramento County’s infrastructure will help modernize our economy, help our businesses, and make our communities safer.
Here's how I'm working to rebuild our infrastructure:
- Bipartisan Action to Rebuild America and Our Future Prosperity:
- Improving Water and Local Infrastructure:
- The Partnership to Build America Act:
- More on Rebuilding Our Infrastructure:
Both parties have to get back to the bipartisan commitment of investing in our future prosperity. Rebuilding our roads, repairing deficient bridges, and fixing unsafe levees must be a core part of how we grow our economy. It means not only creating jobs, but building a modern economy for a strong middle class. We need long-term solutions that provide much needed certainty for communities and construction crews.
That's why I’m proud to have voted for a major infrastructure bill, the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act, which is now law. This is a five year bill that was widely supported by both parties. It will help ensure that we continue to rebuild our roads, bridges, and public transportation.
While more must be done, this bipartisan law takes crucial steps forward. For instance:
- Resources and Long-term Commitment: States and communities need resources and certainty to move ahead with major infrastructure projects. Before the FAST Act, Congress passed more than 30 small, short term bills to support infrastructure projects around the country. This new infrastructure bill helps address that by directing significant resources toward rebuilding our old and outdated infrastructure over the next five years.
Watch me urge my colleagues to pass a long-term bill below:
Creating Jobs: Rebuilding our infrastructure is the key to modernizing our economy and creating good-paying American jobs. That’s why this bill also strengthens requirements to use American-made infrastructure, such as buses and rail cars.
Safer and Smarter: The health and safety of our families must be our concern when hazardous materials are being transported. This new law takes steps to make our communities safer, like requiring better coordination between railroads and states when dangerous materials are being moved across state lines.
With my neighboring congressional colleague, Congresswoman Doris Matsui, and other officials as we toured upgrades at the Folsom Dam.
Modernizing our economy and investing in our future prosperity is about more than rebuilding roads and bridges. It’s also about helping our communities better adapt to changing conditions so we can remain competitive. This is especially true when it comes to improving California’s water infrastructure.
Though we’ve thankfully received some much needed rain this season that has provided some relief, our drought continues. We have to continue working to conserve the water we have, but we must also do a better job of capturing and storing water when it rains. This would help us both prepare for dry years and for years when flooding in our area is more of a concern.
- Upgrading the Folsom Dam: We should invest in our water infrastructure to safeguard our local supply of drinking water and to create jobs. That's why I’ve strongly supported making upgrades to the Folsom Dam since becoming your Congressman. These upgrades are now underway and will allow Folsom Dam to store more water, as well as give it the ability to release water more safely and strategically. These measures will help with our current drought and provide better flood protection during wetter years.
This infrastructure project has also already brought hundreds of new jobs to our region and infused tens of millions of dollars into our local economy. It’s a model for our region and the epitome of government collaboration with state, local, and federal agencies to keep the project on schedule and under budget.
With Interior Department Secretary Sally Jewell and Congresswoman Doris Matsui to review new upgrades to the Folsom Dam.
Building More California Water Storage: We need to take a thorough and comprehensive approach to ensure all California residents can continue to depend on a reliable water supply. While increasing the Folsom Dam’s water storage capacity is important, we can’t stop there. That’s why I support additional storage, including by building the proposed Sites reservoir. This will help us store more water in rainy years and take pressure off of Folsom Lake.
Click to play the video to learn more about it:
- Cleaner and Smarter: I’m also supporting the EchoWater project, one of our area’s largest public work projects. This will ensure that water going through the Sacramento region’s wastewater treatment plant will meet higher standards. It also takes steps that will address our drought in the long-term by increasing recycled water use in landscaping and agricultural irrigation. This project is funded in part because of the Clean Water Act’s State Revolving Loan Fund, which I strongly support.
- Supporting Flood Safety: Though it may be harder to imagine now with the drought, our region also has the second highest flood risk in the country. That’s why I voted for the bipartisan Water Reform, Resources, and Development Act, which is now law. This law authorizes federal support for the Natomas Levee Improvement Project, which would fortify the Natomas levees to help keep our communities safe and it helps create new jobs.
We need responsible and sustainable solutions to help pay for rebuilding our infrastructure. Raising gas taxes on hardworking families is not a solution to help pay for rebuilding our roads and bridges. Instead, we need to find new and responsible ways to modernize our economy.
That’s why I’m supporting the bipartisan Partnership to Build America Act. This bill would help us pay for major infrastructure projects without raising taxes or increasing our debt.
This bill helps pay for infrastructure projects in a responsible and innovative way. Here’s how it works: if businesses invest in infrastructure bonds, they could bring some of their earnings from overseas back to the U.S. at a better rate. These bonds would be used to establish an infrastructure fund to provide up to $750 billion in loans for projects. And these bonds wouldn’t just pay for repairing roads or bridges - they could support everything from building new schools to creating energy efficiency projects. This all would help modernize our economy and lead to good-paying American jobs.
More on Rebuilding Our Infrastructure
Washington, DC – The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology today elected Congressman Ami Bera (CA-07) as Vice Chairman of the full committee. Bera released the following statement:
Sacramento, CA – Congressman Ami Bera released the following statement condemning the Trump administration’s offshore drilling announcement, opening the East and West coast to oil and gas drilling:
"As kid who grew up enjoying our beautiful California beaches, this decision is a travesty. Instead of embracing energy sources that keep our air and water clean, President Trump is doubling down on drilling California’s coastline.
Washington, DC – Rep. Ami Bera (D–CA) welcomed Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) Director Jason McAlister to Washington last week to help lead a discussion with Members of Congress on jobs, education, and vocational training. As the Co-Chair of the Access to Jobs Task Force, Rep. Bera invited Director McAlister to share his expertise leading SMUD’s premier training program.
Washington, DC – Rep. Ami Bera (D–CA) has introduced the Grid Cybersecurity Research and Development Act of 2017 aimed to bolster existing cybersecurity infrastructure, address emerging issues such as workforce training, and enhance the coordination between the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.
Sacramento, CA – Congressman Ami Bera (CA-7) announced a major, multi-million dollar grant from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today to improve Sacramento Mather Airport. The grant of $3,742,000 will be used to resurface pavement areas and upgrade drainage systems that will improve the airport’s safety and efficiency.
Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA) released the following statement after the White House released its proposed budget:
Rep. Ami Bera wants the federal government to improve the cyber defenses of the U.S. energy grid. The California Democrat’s new bill, the Grid Cybersecurity Research and Development Act, would task the Energy Department, Homeland Security Department, National Science Foundation and NIST with a bevy of grid-hardening efforts.
Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.) introduced a bill Thursday evening that would help set up what it calls TechCorps, a program to bring more I.T. workers into the federal government, who would commit to two to four year stints in these positions. The naming and structure of the program is modeled, in part, after AmeriCorps, offering recent college graduates student loan forgiveness, as part of the incentive to take on such roles.
I sent an email update on Friday to share some good news about a project that will help give our local economy a boost. Join my email updates now so you don't miss any in the future!