Why We Need the California Justice40 Act   – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel

Supv. Holly J. Mitchell (Courtesy Photo)

California is poised to receive billions of federal dollars to grow and improve our infrastructure due to the passage of the historic bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). New infrastructure projects have the potential to transform important parts of our communities—roads, waterways, public transportation, and more—and have a direct impact on public health, economic prosperity, and environmental sustainability. Given this once-in-a-generation opportunity, regions across the state have an interest in providing some of the funding.

Historically, infrastructure funding decisions have favored larger, wealthier, less diverse areas while failing to adequately invest in and sometimes protect our most vulnerable communities. Cities like Los Angeles have been shaped by inequitable infrastructure initiatives, such as the Federal Aid for Highway Act of 1956, which destroyed and segregated historically black neighborhoods and left behind a legacy of disproportionately heavy pollution.

Today, for places like South Los Angeles, equitable infrastructure investment could transform that legacy into improved quality of life, fewer health problems, a cleaner environment, and new career paths. So how do we ensure that this important investment goes where it is needed most?

Asm. Isaac Bryan (Courtesy Photo)

Justice40 for California and Los Angeles

The California Justice Act40 (AB 2419) adds an important promise to IIJA by ensuring that a minimum threshold of these funds will be earmarked for low-income, historically disinvested, and marginalized communities throughout the state. This piece of state legislation solidifies an executive action signed by President Biden that establishes a government-wide commitment to direct 40 percent of all federal climate and energy investments to communities facing the greatest environmental burdens.

As California prepares for the wave of funding promised by IIJA, we have a rare opportunity to rethink our infrastructure investment policies at the state and local level so that these dollars are used equitably and strategically to build the future we need .

California Justice40 Act will ensure that 40% of all IIJA funds received by the State of California will be directed to communities facing the highest levels of pollution and poverty. Another 10% will go to low-income communities.

In Los Angeles County, these areas are concentrated around South and East Los Angeles, along the 710 corridor, and in the northeastern San Fernando Valley.

A Justice40 Advisory Committee composed of state agency experts, local group members, business representatives and local advocates will also be established to guide the implementation of these funds and ensure accountability to local communities.

The Justice40 Act, which recently passed the State Assembly and is now being considered in the Senate, has already received enthusiastic support from dozens of environmental, social justice, housing and cultural advocacy groups; and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors recently voted to support this vital legislation.

A local view of potential infrastructure projects

Infrastructure projects can take different forms depending on the economic, cultural and environmental needs of the local community. All projects have the potential to create multiple benefits, such as good jobs on high roads, increased climate resilience and improved health outcomes. Here are some examples of how communities can benefit:

Improved transportation. Currently, three-quarters of low- and medium-skill jobs cannot be reached by a 90-minute one-way journey. Even worse, people making less than $40,000 a year spend twice as much on daily transportation as those making more than $130,000. Redesigning our approach to transportation—including road design and public transit options—can reduce commutes and financial strain for all Californians.

Addressing the legacy of environmental damage. Over 30 years of research tells a story South Los Angeles residents know all too well: Hazardous industrial facilities are disproportionately located in poor communities of color. In Los Angeles, 1.2 million residents, 91% of whom are people of color/BIPOC, live within 2 miles of facilities that process hazardous waste, leading to higher rates of asthma, heart and lung disease, and other illnesses. Federal funding will be available to rehabilitate brownfields and repurpose abandoned industrial property to remove blight, improve public health and create spaces for communities to use.

New industries. In South Los Angeles, steel workers, auto manufacturers, aircraft manufacturers, and other industries prospered until the late 1960s. As these industries slowly migrated east, 75,000 jobs were lost and black working families were disproportionately affected. The IIJA opens the door for local and state governments to partner with emerging industries to put Californians back to work. From design to construction to management, infrastructure projects lead to jobs for many skill levels.

Climate resilience. A central goal for both IIJA and Justice40 is to address the causes and consequences of climate change. Californians are already feeling the effects of poor air quality and heat-related illnesses, as well as increased energy demand, the risk of wildfires, drought conditions and coastal erosion. With IIJA funding, communities will be able to address some of these challenges by expanding funding for community centers for climate resilience, urban greening, weather services, wildfire protection and more efficient use of local water resources.

Investing in our most disinvested and vulnerable communities is investing in our shared future. The California Fairness Act40 recognizes that the infrastructure choices we make now have the power to shift our path toward a stronger economy and a stable climate for all. Let’s work toward a future where the infrastructure we build reflects our values ​​and serves all the people of California.

Assemblyman Isaac Bryan represents the 54th in Californiath Assembly area and supervisor

Holly J. Mitchell represents Los Angeles County’s second district,

Why We Need the California Justice40 Act   – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel Source link Why We Need the California Justice40 Act   – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel

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