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    HomeGovernmentRep. Carbajal, Bipartisan Group of California Lawmakers Urge Expedited Federal Support for...

    Rep. Carbajal, Bipartisan Group of California Lawmakers Urge Expedited Federal Support for Caltrans in Response to Winter Storms

    Today, Congressman Salud Carbajal (CA-24) joined Representative Jimmy Panetta (CA-19), Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA), Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Representative Jared Huffman (CA-02), and 33 California Members of Congress in bipartisan letter to to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Federal Highway Administrator (FHWA) Shailen Bhatt to request expedited support, funding, and other assistance to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) in response to the ongoing winter storms that have severely damaged road and highway infrastructure across the state.  Funding can be used to for the repair or reconstruction of Federal highways and roads on Federal lands which have suffered serious damage as a result of natural disasters.

    On January 4, 2023, California Governor Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency throughout California to support the ongoing response to recent winter storms.  That response includes Caltrans’ request for immediate assistance through the FHWA Emergency Relief Program to support highway repairs and local response and recovery efforts.

    “With this extreme rainfall, communities have experienced widespread flooding especially along the coast, and at some watersheds,” the leaders wrote.  “This series of weather events has already caused extensive damage to California state highways, and we expect additional reports of infrastructure damage in the coming weeks.”

    The leaders continued, “We urge you to expedite FHWA support, funding, and other resources in response to these ongoing winter storms.  We encourage full cooperation across agencies and municipalities to ensure that Californians can continue withstand and recover from this storm.”

    Additional Members signing the letter include; Reps. Pete Aguilar (CA-33), Nanetta Barragán (CA-44), Ami Bera (CA-06), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), Judy Chu (CA- 28), J. Correa (CA-46), Jim Costa (CA-21), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-10), Anna Eshoo (CA-16), John Garamendi (CA-08), Robert Garcia (CA-42), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Sydney Kamlager-Dove (CA-37), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Kevin Kiley (CA-03), Barbara Lee (CA-12), Mike Levin (CA-49), Ted Lieu (CA-36), Zoe Lofgren (CA-18), Doris Matsui (CA-07),  Tom McClintock (CA-05), Kevin Mullin (CA-15),  Grace Napolitano (CA-31), Raul Ruiz (CA-25), Linda Sánchez (CA-38), Adam Schiff (CA-30), Brad Sherman (CA-32), Eric Swalwell (CA-14), Mark Takano (CA-39), Mike Thompson (CA-04), Norma Torres (CA-35), and Juan Vargas (CA-52).

    Read the full letter here or below:

    Dear Mr. Secretary and Administrator Bhatt:

    We write to request that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provide and expedite support, funding, and other assistance to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) in response to the ongoing winter storms that have severely damaged road and highway infrastructure across the state.  California Governor Gavin Newsom’s emergency declaration permits FHWA to assist in emergency management efforts, and we respectfully ask that you expedite this essential federal assistance.

    These recent weather events, which include atmospheric rivers and a bomb cyclone system, have caused significant flooding, mudslides, erosion, sinkholes, and power outages.  The storms have also required evacuations for thousands of Californians and led to road closures that have interrupted daily and essential travel.  In some areas, people have lost their lives due to these storms.  Due to the consecutive nature of these storms, California is experiencing heavily saturated soil, resulting in an increased vulnerability to flooding.  With this extreme rainfall, communities have experienced widespread flooding especially along the coast, and at some watersheds.  This series of weather events has already caused extensive damage to California state highways, and we expect additional reports of infrastructure damage in the coming weeks.

    On January 4, 2023, Governor Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency throughout California to support the ongoing response to recent winter storms.  That response includes Caltrans’ request for immediate assistance through the FHWA Emergency Relief Program to support highway repairs and local response and recovery efforts, which Congress authorized in Title 23, United States Code, Section 125.  The Emergency Relief Program allows for funds to be dispersed from the Highway Trust Fund for the repair or reconstruction of Federal-aid highways and roads on Federal lands which have suffered serious damage as a result of natural disasters.

    The intensity of these storms requires additional assistance, coordination, and federal support.  Therefore, we urge you to expedite FHWA support, funding, and other resources in response to these ongoing winter storms.  We encourage full cooperation across agencies and municipalities to ensure that Californians can continue withstand and recover from this storm.

    Thank you for your attention to the winter storms thus far, and we look forward to continuing to coordinate emergency and disaster response efforts with the Department of Transportation and FHWA.

    Sincerely,

    Rep. Salud Carbajal
    Rep. Salud Carbajalhttps://carbajal.house.gov/
    Congressman Salud Carbajal represents the 24th Congressional District of California. The District includes the entirety of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties, and a portion of Ventura County. Salud sits on the House Committee on Armed Services, the House Committee on Agriculture, and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, where he was elected to serve as the Vice Chair.
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