House Passes Ruiz’s Priorities in Landmark Infrastructure Legislation

July 1, 2021
Press Release
The Invest in America Act will create good-paying jobs and grow local economy with resilient infrastructure

Washington, D.C. – Today, the House passed the Invest in America Act, which includes several of Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D.’s (CA-36) priorities to create good-paying jobs rebuilding roads, bridges, transit, rail, and wastewater and drinking water infrastructure.  

The Invest in America Act includes the following priorities and bills introduced by Rep. Ruiz:  

  • $20 million for the City of Indio to upgrade and expand the Monroe St. / I-10 Interchange;  
  • H.R. 4284, the Clean Drinking Water Equity Act, which could open up more than $50 million nationally in additional annual funding to improve clean drinking water access for underserved communities; and 
  • $30 billion for the Passenger Rail Improvement, Modernization and Expansion (PRIME) grant program—which could provide critical funding for the next step in the completion of the Coachella Valley-San Gorgonio Pass Rail Corridor Service Project to bring passenger rail service from Los Angeles to the Coachella Valley.  

“Today, I voted for the Invest in America Act to make our nation more competitive and fix our roads and bridges with safer, smarter, and more resilient infrastructure,” said Dr. Ruiz. “Once signed into law, our communities will see the direct results of this legislation, which includes $20 million for the much-needed Monroe Street Interchange project in Indio. I am also thrilled that the Invest in America Act includes my bill to expand access to clean drinking water for underserved communities and my priority to invest in transit programs that could help bring passenger service from Los Angeles to Coachella. With my priorities included, the Invest in America Act will help us Build Back Better, create more local jobs, and grow our local economy.”

Waymond Fermon, mayor pro tem of the City of Indio, applauded the House passage of the bill and the inclusion of the City’s Monroe Street Interchange project.

“The City of Indio is very excited and appreciative of Congressman Ruiz's efforts to include this project in the Invest in America Act,” said Indio Mayor Pro Tem Waymond Fermon. “Our community has outgrown the interchange at Monroe St. and Interstate 10. Monroe St. is one of the city’s main arterial roads within Indio, connecting our students, workforce, and businesses to Highway 111, Central Indio and the Entertainment District in South Indio. Investing in our infrastructure will be important to the continuance of the economic growth in Indio. Our city staff, partners and community has put us in a position to be shovel ready for this project.” 

The Invest in America Act also includes legislation authored by Ruiz and Congressman Juan Vargas (CA-51) to establish the California New River Restoration program to improve water quality and management at the New River. 

“I am pleased to report that the Invest in America Act includes the California New River Restoration Act to help bring much-needed funding to restore the New River,” continued Dr. Ruiz. “The New River is one of the most polluted in the country, carrying toxins and chemicals from our southern border into the Salton Sea—jeopardizing the health of residents who live and work near the river. The inclusion of our bill in the Invest in America Act will improve health outcomes for my constituents and address the environmental crisis at the Sea.”  

BACKGROUND 

Passing the Invest in America Act is a step toward fulfilling many of the key priorities laid out in the American Jobs Plan by President Biden. The legislation includes: 

  • $343 billion for roads, bridges, and public safety measures; 
  • $109 billion to help local transit invest in low emission vehicles and establish new programs to increase usership; and 
  • $95 billion for passenger and freight rail including funding to help projects like the CV Rail project, to bring passenger rail service from Los Angeles to the Coachella Valley.   

In addition, Ruiz secured $20 million in federal funding for the Monroe St. Interchange Project in Indio. The current interchange at the I-10 / Monroe Street exit has insufficient shoulder and pedestrian sidewalks, and only contains single lanes for the freeway on- and off-ramps. In addition, the bridge structure requires a seismic retrofit to ensure lasting safety.  

The authorized project would reconstruct the overpass, establishing four additional lanes and providing safe access for pedestrians and cyclists. In addition, the on- and off-ramps would have multiples lanes to reduce congestion.  

The legislation also includes Ruiz’s bill, H.R. 4284, the Clean Drinking Water Equity Act, which increases the percentage of a state’s federal drinking water funding that can be used to provide subsidies to disadvantaged communities from 35% to 40%. This provision could mean over $50 million nationally in additional annual funding available to improve clean water access for underserved communities like those in the Eastern Coachella Valley.Ruiz’s bill amends the Safe Drinking Water Act to bring it in line with the Biden Administration’s “Justice40” Initiative, which aims to deliver 40% of the benefits of federal investments to underserved communities. 

Finally, the Invest in America Act includes legislation by Reps. Vargas and Ruiz, H.R. 491, the California New River Restoration Act, to establish the California New River Restoration Program at the Environmental Protection Agency.  

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