U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg announced that the Biden-Harris Administration has awarded $119.6 million to support eight projects in California from the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program to help move forward on projects that modernize roads, bridges, transit, rail, ports, and intermodal transportation and make transportation systems safer, more accessible, more affordable, and more sustainable.
This year’s total allocations nationwide include more than $2.2 billion courtesy of the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides an additional $7.5 billion over five years for the program to help meet the demand to help projects get moving across the country.
“We are proud to support so many outstanding infrastructure projects in communities large and small, modernizing America’s transportation systems to make them safer, more affordable, more accessible, and more sustainable,” said Buttigieg. “Using funds from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this year we are supporting more projects than ever before.”
Projects were evaluated on several criteria, including safety, environmental sustainability, quality of life, economic competitiveness and opportunity, partnership and collaboration, innovation, state of good repair, and mobility and community connectivity. Within these areas, the department considered how projects will improve accessibility for all travelers, bolster supply chain efficiency, and support racial equity and economic growth – especially in historically disadvantaged communities and areas of persistent poverty.
In California, the following projects will benefit from RAISE awards:
- Maritime Support Facility Access/Terminal Island Rail System – The Port of Los Angeles will receive $20 million to construct a four-lane, rail-roadway grade separation that will eliminate a significant truck access impediment to an important container terminal support facility located on Terminal Island, at the center of Port of Los Angeles-Long Beach (POLA-POLB). The project will significantly reduce delays, accidents, and emissions at the Port of Los Angeles-Long Beach, which handles 35% of all waterborne containers entering the U.S. The current truck delays caused by the crossing are estimated to be 580 minutes a day, which can lead to containers being delayed by a full day, causing financial loss to shippers and a delay in getting those goods onto shelves and to consumers. By providing a grade separation, it reduces thousands of truck vehicle hours traveled daily and therefore has significant emissions reductions. It will also eliminate the use of a one-way tunnel, reducing the potential for crashes. The project is important for improving access to chassis and empty containers which aids in increasing cargo velocity and will relieve supply chain constraints, which will ultimately reduce costs for American consumers.
- Mobility Zones – The Sacramento Area Council of Governments will receive $5 million to fund a regional planning project that will engage disadvantaged communities and integrate data from across the Sacramento Region to designate “Mobility Zones.” Priority projects will be identified and will proceed with design, engineering, and preconstruction activities under this grant project. This project includes both data-driven technical aspects and extensive community participation from the disadvantaged communities that the project aims to benefit. This means that the project is likely to reduce travel time, barriers to access, and transportation costs for members of the community, including disadvantaged households, which make up roughly 40% of the project area. The project will also focus on addressing disparities in current rates of transportation-related injuries and fatalities. The project is likely to improve environmental sustainability by reducing vehicle miles traveled through an increase in access to transit and lower- or zero-emission transportation options.
- Zero-Emission Bus Operations, Maintenance, and Administration Facility – The Yuba-Sutter Transit Authority will receive $15 million to replace an existing undersized and obsolete transit facility in a new location on a 19.72-acre former brownfield site, and the new facility will support conversion to a zero-emission bus fleet. The project modernizes and expands zero-emissions bus infrastructure. The new transit facility will also have capacity for solar power generation to meet the zero-emission bus fleet energy needs, charging infrastructure installation, and micromobility services.
- Tolowa Dee-ni' Nation Connected Communities Project – The Tolowa Dee-ni' Nation will receive $1.6 million for this planning project which will develop Phase 2 of the planning for the Connected Communities Project, which will create separated pedestrian and bicycle paths and improved crossings around Highway 101. The project will address safety in an area that experienced 20 crashes, injuries, and fatalities between 2016 and 2021. In addition, the project will connect different areas of the reservation that are currently bisected by Highway 101, including better access to employment centers and tourist attractions.
- Building A Better-Connected Inland Empire – The City of Fontana will receive $15 million to make major Complete Streets improvements by constructing additional lane capacity, an integrated traffic system, medians with protected left turns, a roundabout, bus turnouts, streetlights, signage, and raised medians, more than 7.5 miles of bike lanes, including more than 2.5 miles of separated bike lanes, a half-mile of multi-use trail, crosswalks, a bridge, and countdown signal heads. One particular focus is creating a safe way for hundreds of students to walk or bike to an existing high school and two planned schools. The project demonstrates benefits including improved safety, environmental sustainability, economic competitiveness and opportunity, and innovation. These changes will result in access to more transportation options that don’t require a vehicle and better access to approximately 7,500 job opportunities.
- California High-Speed Rail Merced Extension Design Project – The California High-Speed Rail Authority will receive $25 million for this planning project which will fund design efforts including the completion of a configuration footprint, mapping right of way, identifying utility relocation agreements, and other necessary third-party agreements for the Merced Extension of the California High-Speed Rail project. The project will design civil infrastructure, track and systems and station platforms from Madera to Merced, on the Merced-Fresno-Bakersfield early operating segment. Project Benefits: The project will provide a new, high-quality, zero-emissions transit link where one does not currently exist, increasing connectivity and reducing emissions from driving. The project is expected to reduce vehicle miles traveled by over 200 million miles per year, and the high-speed rail system will run on entirely renewable energy. The project also demonstrates strong partnership; with at least 11 Federal and state partners, a variety of funding sources, collaboration with the Port and Airport, and engagement with residents. The project is innovative because it is pioneering a new rail service while adding energy generation so that it does not increase demand on the existing power grid.
- Inglewood Transit Connector Project – The City of Inglewood will receive $15 million to complete an approximately 1.6-mile fully-elevated, automated transit system with three stations to compete a critical gap in the region’s transit system, on segments along Market Street, Manchester Boulevard, and Prairie Avenue. It includes construction of three center platform stations. The project provides a new transportation option, creates an alternative to personal vehicle use, and was designed in consultation with local underserved and disadvantaged communities. The project will provide important first-/last- mile connectivity between the K-Line Metro and places of interest such as the Forum/SoFi Arena, residential areas of Inglewood, and employment centers. The application included an explicit commitment to a Community Workforce Agreement to hire 35% local residents, 10% disadvantaged workers, and 20% apprentice workers to complete the work of building the project.
- Transforming Howard Street for Safe & Equitable Mobility – The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will receive $23 million to transform the one-mile, three lane, dangerous and congested Howard Street arterial to a two-lane street with Complete Streets improvements and green infrastructure. The project will, construct concrete buffers to separate travel modes, add two-way protected bike lanes, upgrade curb ramps, upgrade traffic signals, raise crosswalks, add bulb-outs and midblock signals, install pedestrian lighting, and create passenger loading zones. The project expands transportation infrastructure for residents in underserved and overburdened communities that are reliant on walking, cycling or public transit. The application described how 99 percent of residents along the corridor commute by walking, transit or cycling. Creating a safer bicycling corridor will reduce serious injuries and fatalities and accommodate future growth. An additional safety improvement is the allocation of loading spaces for business needs to prevent double parking and blockage of travel lanes for vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians. There is a strong commitment to extensive community engagement with a diverse set of stakeholders in the project area, particularly including collaboration with SoMa Pilipinas Cultural District and the Leather District on how to maintain the cultural significance of the corridor and to ensure equity considerations in project design.