SBE News

Capitol Update 07/30/2021

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Senate votes to advance bill with $550B for aging US infrastructure

The U.S. is one step closer to a massive, much-needed infrastructure spending package. The Senate voted Wednesday to advance a bipartisan bill, which includes $550 billion in new federal funding for infrastructure. The bill will now enter a process of debates and amendments. The bill would inject funding into transportation, utilities and broadband spending. Senators voted to advance the package 67-32, with 17 Republicans joining all 48 Senate Democrats — and two Independents who caucus with the Democrats — in favor of advancing it. The $550 billion figure is far lower than the multi-trillion-dollar American Jobs Plan championed by President Joe Biden. Republicans turned their nose up at the massive price tag for Biden’s plan. Though the bipartisan bill is cheaper, it still represents the largest federal investment in public transit ever and the largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the interstate highway system, according to the White House.

The bill’s current measures — which are still subject to change — include, according to the White House:

  • $110 billion for roads, bridges and other major infrastructure projects.
  • $66 billion to eliminate the Amtrak maintenance backlog and modernize rail service in the Northeast corridor.
  • $40 billion for bridge repair, replacement and rehabilitation.
  • $25 billion for airport project needs, including repair and maintenance backlogs and modernization and emission reduction.
  • $17.5 billion for projects too complex for traditional funding programs.
  • $17 billion for port infrastructure projects.
  • $11 billion for transportation safety.
  • $1 billion on community reconnection, often among disproportionately Black neighborhoods divided by highways and other infrastructure.
  • The bill also includes measures to support electric vehicles, clean drinking water and bring high speed internet to millions of Americans.

League of California Cities, along with a coalition of partners, produced a first-of-its-kind report on California’s transportation infrastructure and a related, customizable database demonstrating the economic benefits at the local level. – ATTACHMENT

Released in the middle of ongoing, federal-level infrastructure negotiations, the report found that upcoming spending on federal, state, and local infrastructure will generate nearly $200 billion in economic activity in California annually and will support 700,000 jobs per year. The findings make clear that the construction, maintenance, and operation of the state’s infrastructure network is a major economic driver that benefits all Californians.  The report and a press release was just published to the Cal Cities website.

California unemployment claims jump to highest level since reopening

Unemployment claims in California jumped last week to their highest levels since the state’s reopening of an economy that has been enfeebled by coronavirus-linked ailments for well over a year. George Avalos in the San Jose Mercury

Moody’s: State, local infrastructure spending due to rise

A report from Moody’s Investors Service shows local and state governments are poised to raise spending on vital infrastructure projects after a decade of relative inactivity, encouraged by easier borrowing terms and hopes for an economic recovery. The federal infrastructure plan under review could further boost spending. Full Story: Bloomberg

Bay Area most expensive nationwide for building

The San Francisco Bay Area is the third-most-expensive place to build in the world and the most expensive place to build in the US, according to a report by Turner & Townsend. Land, labor and materials all contribute to the region’s cost profile. Full Story: San Jose Mercury News (Calif.)

Water shortages and drought are California’s biggest environmental concern, new poll shows

PPIC survey finds 63% say water supply is a big problem in their area, up from 38% a year ago. Paul Rogers in the San Jose Mercury

Fraud Alert: Scammers Pose as CSLB Staff, Demand Money Over Phone

The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) has learned of phone scams targeting CSLB licensees. In the scheme, an individual falsely identifying themselves as an employee of CSLB demands a license “activation” fee of up to $500 be paid immediately over the phone or the license will be canceled. Please be advised that CSLB staff will never phone licensees and ask for credit/debit card numbers or other confidential information. NEVER disclose personal information, such as your full social security number, date of birth, or credit/debit card numbers, without first taking steps to verify that the person requesting the information has a legitimate need for it. If you receive a call from an individual claiming to be an employee of CSLB attempting to gather personal information or collect a payment, please:

  • Take down the caller’s information (including name, title, phone number and email address), let them know you will follow-up directly with CSLB, and end the call. Do NOT provide any personal information or payments.
  • You may also consider ending the call without explanation if it appears suspicious or to be a scam.
  • Contact CSLB at 1-800-321-CSLB (2752).

Likely California voters now almost evenly split on Newsom recall, poll finds

Californians who say they expect to vote in the September recall election are almost evenly divided over whether to remove Gov. Gavin Newsom from office, evidence of how pivotal voter turnout will be in deciding the governor’s political fate, according to a new UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Times. Phil Willon in the Los Angeles Times Lara Korte in the Sacramento Bee Alexei Koseff in the San Francisco Chronicle Emily DeRuy in the San Jose Mercury Quint Forgey Politico