REGION — Millions of federal dollars could be coming to the 49th Congressional District after a huge infrastructure bill made it through the House of Representatives.
Last Thursday, July 1, the House passed the INVEST in America Act, a $715 billion, comprehensive surface transportation and clean water bill that aims to create “good-paying jobs” that will rebuild and “reimagine” the nation’s roads, bridges, rail and other transit options as well as wastewater and drinking water infrastructure according to sponsors of the bill.
Rep. Mike Levin (D-San Juan Capistrano) explained that the House is required to reauthorize spending for roads and other infrastructure every several years.
“This is something the House needed to pass to continue spending money on roads and other community projects,” Levin said, adding that the bill includes some “great wins” for the district.
The bill proposes allocating $20 million for several local projects, including $12.5 million for upgrades to the Los Angeles – San Diego – San Luis Obispo Rail Corridor (LOSSAN Corridor).
The rail line currently sits within feet of the coastline on eroding cliffs and bluffs, which have caused several rail failures over the last two years.
With the federal money, the project would design a way to completely remove the tracks from the eroding bluffs, and would also advance other technical analyses to help with design, environmental documents and public outreach.
Also included in the bill is $4 million for a beautification project on North Coast Highway 101 between A Street and La Costa Avenue in Leucadia, which would include a new curb, gutter, landscaping, buffered bicycle lanes, lane reconfiguration and four roundabouts.
It also allocates $2.5 million to replace the existing two-lane bridge with a four-lane bridge and modify the road from two- to four-lanes on El Camino Real between Via de la Valle and San Dieguito Road.
Another proposed local project in the bill allocates $820,368 for a sidewalk improvement project in Vista.
The project would install frontage improvements like road widening, new curbs, gutters, driveways and ADA ramps at corners along the southside of Nevada Avenue from North Santa Fe to Lemon Avenue, and eastside of Lemon from Nevada to Raintree Place.
The final project included in the bill is an amendment created by the San Diego Democratic delegation, of which Levin is a member, that aims to help the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) spend funding gained from the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement to address water pollution in the Tijuana River Valley.
“This amendment would allow the EPA to spend funds more quickly,” Levin said. “We’re all frustrated waiting for the valley’s pollution to be addressed, so we want to make sure we’re doing all that we can to address it as soon as possible.”
After passing the House, the bill must now go to the Senate. Levin said the House would work with Senate to keep the proposed infrastructure projects “critical” to the region in the legislation.