Two key Inland Valley projects got stiffed in the transportation funding bill passed by the House this week.
Neither the Alameda Corridor East railroad crossing project nor the eastern extension of the Gold Line line rail received any money in the $104.4 billion transportation bill for rail, bus and highway improvements across the country.
It's particularly irksome that Alameda Corridor East got bumped from the list. The mounting rail traffic through the Inland Valley results from the burgeoning trade through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. In effect, Inland Valley motorists endure long waits at railroad crossings so that consumers in the Midwest can buy cheap TVs from China; so it's only right that the nation's taxpayers help fund the grade separations to keep rail traffic from stopping road traffic.
No money for Alameda Corridor East from the House this year, yet the transportation bill provides funds to build a YMCA in Killeen, Texas.
The Gold Line extension is a project that will eventually extend the Los Angeles-Pasadena-Sierra Madre line to Montclair - and we hope, to LA/Ontario International Airport. That got zilch from the House, though it's hard to imagine that many places have more need for light rail than Southern California.
No money for the Gold Line extension from the House this year, yet the transportation bill provides funds to demolish abandoned buildings for a redevelopment project in Waterbury, Conn.
Local Rep. David Dreier, R-San Dimas, a longtime champion of both ACE and the Gold Line extension, voted against the bill, saying, "I cannot and will not support a bill that spends so much money and ignores the problem of traffic congestion in Southern California." Dreier had requested earmarks of $20 million for ACE and $1.2 million for the Gold Line.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Pasadena, another advocate for both projects, expressed disappointment with the bill. "The entire delegation from our region advocated for them, and we will have to redouble our efforts next year," Schiff said.
Indeed. When Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Redlands, can secure a half-million dollars to spruce up a park near his Washington, D.C., town house, but Southern California's delegation can't get funding for two important transportation projects in this congested area, something is wrong with the way things work in Congress.