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Biden’s 1.2 Trillion Dollar Infrastructure Bill: What’s in it for California?

As the expansive bill is signed into law, California will be the one of the biggest recipients.

President Biden signed a 1.2 trillion-dollar infrastructure bill today. This includes 44.56 billion dollars for California with 9.45 billion dollars of it going to public transportation. We take a look at what impact that will have on LA’s current and future transportation projects. Ethan Huang has the story.

Today, President Biden held a signing ceremony where he discussed the changes the bill hopes to create. In it, he promoted new investments and innovation for transportation in the United States.

“It makes the most significant investment in passenger rail in the past 50 years and in public transit ever. So what that means is you’re going to be safer, and you’re going to get there faster, and we’re going to have a whole hell of a lot less pollution in the air.”

For Los Angeles, this means that there are new opportunities for the future of public transportation in the city. Catherine Burke is an Emerita Associate Professor at USC’s Price School of Public Policy. She says that one of the crucial issues to tackle is expanding bus services in the city.

“Yes, as long as you can add more busses and bus lines and run them for more hours. One of the problems that I have, a lot of friends who take busses a lot. And one of the problems is that they want to go somewhere in the evening, and it turns out the bus doesn’t run after nine o’clock at night.”

Burke explains that limitations of the current system have been a major issue for many residents relying on public transport for daily life.

“There were people who had actually lost their jobs because the bus didn’t come on time and they were late to work too many times and they were fired. So anything that they can do to improve this service will help a lot of people.”

But this new bill raises new choices for the state. For example, the long-delayed bullet train system might tempt policymakers into favoring new projects, while current services are in need of renovation and expansion. Burke feels that they should focus on the latter.

“If I were choosing, I think I would choose to improve the systems we have in urban areas. But that may be my prejudice simply because I live in an urban area.”

On the other hand, Burke also feels that this bill should be used beyond major cities by also supporting smaller regions without much access to these services.

“But even bus systems are difficult to pay for smaller cities, so we need something better that can serve all urban areas, not just places like Los Angeles and San Francisco.”

This new infrastructure bill leaves the state with a large amount of money and a mountain of decisions. But there is hope that it can be used to make a more active and connected California through transportation. For Annenberg Media… I’m Ethan Huang.