May 19 2016
Bills fund transportation, housing, veterans programs
Washington—The Senate today passed a bill that combined two funding bills for federal agencies responsible for transportation, housing, military construction and veterans affairs.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released the following statement on the funding bills:
“These two funding bills cover a wide range of programs vital to California from transportation and housing to veterans programs and military construction projects. The transportation funding will keep our economy running smoothly and create jobs, while funding HUD is essential to many of our communities in need of housing assistance. And the bill includes many provisions to help take care of veterans across the country.
“I’m also pleased that two of my amendments were included in the bill, one to help communities access funds for affordable housing and the other to help improve seismic safety at veterans facilities in California.”
Affordable housing amendment
The bill contains Senator Feinstein’s amendment to ensure communities maintain access to federal funds for the construction of affordable housing through the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s HOME Investment Partnerships Program.
Seismic safety amendment
The bill also includes a Feinstein amendment to allow the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to advance critical seismic safety-related construction projects at facilities in California. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that California suffers a magnitude 6.7 or greater earthquake every 6.3 years, on average. It also reports that California’s risk of being struck by a magnitude 8.0 or greater earthquake has increased by nearly 50 percent since the agency completed its last estimate in 2008.
Other key funding provisions
- Fully funds all California military and VA construction projects requested in the President’s Budget.
- Includes report language requiring regular reporting on VA construction project timelines and the VA’s construction partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
- Provides $144 million above last year for homeless veteran programs
- Fully funds all existing California transit projects. Provides $350 million for four new California transit projects.
- Includes language needed to enable the transfer of Ontario International Airport to local control.
- Provides $40 million for homeless youth pilot projects, $7 million more than last year.
- Provides $50 million for homeless veteran housing vouchers and language to direct more vouchers to heavily impacted areas in California.
- Includes language regarding the seismic safety of energy pipelines that cross fault lines and urges their integration into the earthquake early warning system.
- Provides $525 million for TIGER grants, $25 million more than last year.