Transportation is essential to our region's continued economic growth. The Inland Empire is a hub for freight and shipping for the entire Southwestern United States. Unfortunately, current infrastructure has not kept up with demand. The growth of our area has led to more passenger and commercial vehicles on our streets and freeways. We must balance this need to ensure the continued economic prosperity and safety of our families.
As your Congressional representative I have supported the following initiatives:
* Secured federal appropriations dollars for local transportation project. I continue to fight for federal funding of important local transportation projects and brought in over $35 million in appropriation funding for transportation projects in the Inland Empire. This includes:
o $32,370,000 for the San Bernardino Rapid Bus Project, to construct the San Bernardino Valley Express (sbX) bus corridor along E Street [requested in conjunction with President Obama and Gary Miller];
o $1,000,000 to the City of Rialto for the National Community Renaissance Affordable Housing Program, to improve the Vista Cascade affordable housing development project [requested in conjunction with Reps. Ken Calvert and Gary Miller];
o $950,000 to the City of Ontario for the I-10 /Grove Avenue and Fourth Street Interchange and Grove Avenue Corridor Project;
o $750,000 to the City of Fontana to fund construction of the Cherry Ave./I-10 Interchange;
o $500,000 to the City of San Bernardino for construction of the Verdemont Community Center [requested jointly with Rep. Jerry Lewis.
* Advocated for Expansion of the Metro Gold Line to the Inland Empire. Signed a Congressional letter to the House Transportation Committee requesting the inclusion of the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority be included in the next reauthorization of the SAFETEA-LU Act. Actively worked with the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority Board of Directors and Joint Powers Authority to advocate for the inclusion of the Metro Gold Line Foothill extension in the Los Angeles Metro Board of Directors' Long Range Transportation Plan. The completion of this project is critical to the 43'd Congressional District, and will help to relieve much of the transportation burden in the Inland Empire area of Southern California. The Gold Line extension will eventually provide residents an alternate means of transportation to and from LA/Ontario International.
* Promote High Speed Rail in California and in San Bernardino. Joined California Members of Congress in a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Federal Railroad Administration Administrator Joseph Szabo to strongly support California's high speed passenger rail application for a Recovery Act competitive high speed rail grant. California is in a unique position and equipped to move on segments that can be in operation, produce revenue, and lay groundwork for completion of the entire train system. To bring high speed rail to our District, I personally wrote to Transportation Secretary LaHood specifically requesting that the application for California's high speed passenger rail includes a rail extension from the Ontario International Airport to the San Bernardino International Airport. This section will bring much needed economic development, middle class jobs, and relief to our congested and overrun freeways. Furthermore, this rail extension will give consumers greater flexibility to access underutilized Ontario Airport and San Bernardino Airport, providing much needed relief to the crowded Los Angeles International Airport.
* Assisting Union Car Haul Companies and Maintaining Road Safety. Led Congressional efforts on behalf of unionized car haul companies in advocating to the newly restructured General Motors and Chrysler/FIAT to maintain our safety on our roads and keep good-paying American jobs. Unionized car haul companies safely transport motor vehicles from auto manufacturers to dealership stores; throughout the years sacrificed to keep the auto manufacturers afloat and now must not be pushed aside for a quick dollar.
* Railroad Safety. Supported funding for the development and installation of Positive Train Control (PTC) technology. PTC is a safety overlay system designed to prevent train-to-train collisions and other train accidents. The Inland area has unfortunately witnessed several examples of rail collisions due to unsafe practices.
* Cash For Clunkers. Supported legislative initiative to jump-start the U.S. auto industry, providing consumers with up to $4,500 to trade in an old vehicle for one with higher fuel efficiency -- spurring the sale of 700,000 vehicles.
* Advocated to Protect Auto Dealerships and the Jobs they Provide. Worked with other House colleagues to help auto dealerships stay open and keep local jobs by leading efforts with Congressional letters and hearings, and meetings with the Administration. The auto industry crisis affected everyone, especially local economies that depend on the tax revenue of our local auto dealerships.
* Increase Airline Safety. Voted to enhance airline safety by setting new training and service standards for commercial airline pilots with increased training requirements, addressing pilot fatigue, making pilot records easier to obtain, and strengthening FAA's safety programs. This year's accounts of tragic and fatal airplane crashes were partially due to lack of safety standards for pilots.
* Increased Transportation Funding. Voted to increase funding for the Highway Trust Fund that provides the revenue for our interstate highway system and other roads. Voted for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which to date has 7,886 highway and transit projects underway and created or sustained 210,000 direct on-project jobs with payrolls exceeding $1.1 billion. Voted for the Main Street Act of 2010, to provide $37.3 billion for transportation programs, including $27.5 billion for highways and $8.4 billion for transit, extend the core highway, highway safety, and transit programs through September 30, 2010, at $53.3 billion. The Recovery Act and the Main Street Act of 2010 fully fund all projects; instead of the 80-20 federal-local split traditional arrangement. In addition, I continue to advocate for needed resources to fund projects in the 43rd Congressional District through federal appropriation and SAFETEA-LU project requests.