First published in the Dec. 25 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
Congressman Adam Schiff, in a recent press conference, highlighted the “historic investments” of the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed in Congress — including for roads, bridges, highways, public transit and passenger rail — and how they will improve the lives of Los Angeles County residents.
Schiff, a Burbank Democrat, hosted the Glendale conference with state Sen. Anthony Portantino, Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, Glendale Mayor Paula Devine, Glendale Councilman Ardy Kassakhian and L.A. Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins.
In his speech, Schiff decried the lack of meaningful investment in transportation infrastructure to this point and lauded President Joe Biden for making it a key part of his policy this year. He said the improvements promised in the bill will improve the quality of life here.
“In Los Angeles County, decades of lagging infrastructure investment has resulted in crumbling roads and highways, aging and incomplete rail systems, and many challenges facing public transit, creating daily headaches and, worse still, barriers to secure employment, affordable housing, and quality time with our families,” Schiff said.
Portantino, a La Cañada Flintridge Democrat whose district includes Burbank, touted the bill as a “shot in the arm” for his region and lauded it for its bipartisan nature. He specifically extolled its rail expansion, wildfire mitigation, electrical grid hardening and applications to drinking water.
“Just thinking of how broadband became central to our social and academic survival, and the impact that wildfires have had in our foothills underscores how the pandemic crystalized many longstanding and unmet needs,” he said. “With this action, Washington is taking a bold step to meet those needs and inject resources across California and here at home in our district.”
Friedman, a Glendale Democrat who represents Burbank, thanked Schiff for his advocacy for the region, particularly as it continues to rebound from the social and economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The funding that is coming into California from the federal government is a perfect fit with California’s priorities, and our goals as we recover from the pandemic,” Friedman said. “The funding will help us protect our crucial infrastructure, respond to climate change, reduce flood and fire risk, invest in mass transit, and create good jobs.”