Washington—The Senate on Thursday evening approved an omnibus federal appropriations bill that funds the federal government through fiscal year 2014. The House of Representatives already passed the bill, which will now go to the president’s desk for signature.
Following passage of the bill, Senator Feinstein released this statement:
“Passage of this omnibus spending bill is a signal that the budgeting process in Congress is finally getting back to normal. The bill is balanced, it is responsible and it invests in key projects across the country.
“California receives funds for numerous important transportation, water resources and other infrastructure projects up and down the state, as well as funds to support jobs and job-creation statewide. Funds are allocated for important firefighting programs as well as initiatives to alleviate the water crisis facing California.”
Key projects and provisions for California:
- The San Ysidro port of entry near San Diego will receive the full $226 million necessary for the next phase of construction. The bill appropriates $128.3 million for construction and reiterates the Appropriations Committee’s approval of for an additional $97.7 million to be redirected to the project from funds previously allocated to the General Services Administration. The first phase of construction, involving a new pedestrian bridge, expansion of northbound vehicular inspection lanes and a southbound pedestrian crossing is currently underway and will be completed this year. Funding provided in the bill will allow for improvements to realign I-5 South so it connects with El Chaparral, Mexico’s counterpart to the San Ysidro crossing, and construct new southbound inspection facilities on I-5. The project will alleviate long wait times at the busiest land border crossing in the Western Hemisphere, handling approximately 11 million cars, 68,000 buses and 8 million pedestrians in 2012, according to the San Diego Association of Governments.
- The bill provides the Los Angeles Westside Subway with $65 million. Also known as the “Subway to the Sea” or the Purple Line Extension, this project will extend the purple line from its current terminus at Wilshire and Western to Westwood. The first phase of the extension, to Wilshire/La Cienega, is funded by this legislation.
- The bill provides the Regional Connector subway through downtown Los Angeles with $65 million. The downtown Regional Connector is a subway project from the Metro Gold Line Little Tokyo/Arts District Station to the 7th Street/Metro Center Station. The 1.9-mile alignment will serve Little Tokyo, the Arts District, Civic Center, the Historic Core, Broadway, Grand Avenue, Bunker Hill, Flower Street and the Financial District. When the project is completed, Metro riders will be able to travel from Azusa to Long Beach and from East Los Angeles to Santa Monica without transferring lines.
- The bill provides the South Sacramento Light Rail with $3 million. The project extends the Blue Line an additional 4.3 miles south to Cosumnes River College, connecting downtown and North Sacramento to South Sacramento. The expansion includes four stations: Morrison Creek, Franklin, Center Parkway and Cosumnes River College Station.
- The bill provides the BART to Silicon Valley project with $150 million. The project extends BART from Fremont to the San Jose suburb of Berryessa, and is the first phase in the BART to San Jose project. This project is currently under construction and will open for passenger service in 2018.
- The bill provides the San Francisco Central Subway with $150 million. The project extends the MUNI Third Street line through downtown and Chinatown. This project is currently under construction and will open for passenger service in 2019.
- Two House “reverse earmarks” attacking California’s High Speed Rail project were successfully eliminated from the final legislation. Senator Feinstein worked tirelessly to ensure that Sections 192 and 194 of H.R. 2610 were not included in the bill. These provisions would have prohibited funding, stopped permitting and possibly rescinded more than $3 billion in federal competitive awards to California for High Speed Rail.
- The bill provides $579 million to construct the fourth and final Mobile Landing Platform-Forward Afloat Staging Base for naval operations. The ship will help sustain a 3,000-strong workforce of shipbuilders in San Diego, and help General Dynamics-NASSCO continue to compete for commercial and follow-on military contracts.
- The bill includes $3.9 billion in funding to combat wildfires and reduce hazardous fuels.
- Senator Feinstein’s Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill includes over $548 million for more than 70 California water projects to improve flood control, enhance navigation, and conduct environmental restoration.
- The Energy and Water title of the bill includes three provisions to improve the flexibility and reliability of California’s water supply:
- CALFED reauthorization – The CALFED Bay-Delta Restoration Program, a key program to improve water supply reliability, water quality, levee integrity, and wildlife habitat in the San Francisco Bay – San Joaquin River Delta, is reauthorized through 2015. The omnibus includes $37 million for the program.
- Water banking – A provision to make permanent Reclamation’s authority to participate in non-Federal groundwater banking programs to improve Reclamation’s operational flexibility, reliability, and efficiency in meeting water demands within California.
- Water transfers – A provision to make permanent Reclamation’s authority to transfer irrigation waters among various Central Valley Project contractors so there is more flexibility to meet water supply demands across the State. It will also direct Reclamation to complete programmatic environmental reviews authorized under current law to expedite such water transfers.
- Storage studies – A provision to expedite the completion and review of congressionally-authorized Central Valley Project water storage studies by allowing Reclamation to provide funds to local sponsors of the four CALFED storage projects if Reclamation determines that the action would advance the projects and would be in the best interests of the Federal government.
- The bill includes $306 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, including more than $18.7 million directed to California projects including the California Coastal National Monument at Point Arena, land acquisitions in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument and funding for Joshua Tree National Park and the Mojave Preserve.