Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, delivered a keynote address during the Torrance Chamber of Commerce “2018 State of the Region Luncheon” at the Doubletree by Hilton Torrance-South Bay. Congresswoman Waters and Congressman Ted Lieu (CA-33) were invited to provide a legislative update on a number of national policy issues and their impacts on the South Bay.
Given the vibrancy of businesses and communities within the 43rd Congressional District, which includes the cities of Gardena, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, Lomita, Los Angeles, and Torrance, Congresswoman Waters opened her address by discussing her strong support for local import-export businesses, aerospace companies, and other industries located within her district.
“The 43rd Congressional District is a dynamic and thriving region filled with incredible people, brilliant and hard-working entrepreneurs, businesses that innovate, and local leaders who understand the importance of constantly reinvesting in our communities,” said Congresswoman Waters. “As I proudly represent this region in Congress, I am working to support the programs and projects that are important to our communities. At the same time, I have been fighting for public policies that will allow this region to continue to thrive.”
Infrastructure and job creation, which are among Congresswoman Waters’ top priorities, were also a large focus of her legislative update. In the first session of the 115th Congress, Congresswoman Waters introduced a robust infrastructure package, the Transportation Infrastructure for Job Creation Act and Drinking Water Infrastructure for Job Creation Act, which will provide a total of $15 billion over the next six years for job creation through investments in our nation’s infrastructure.
Congresswoman Waters also discussed her efforts to secure funding for transportation projects throughout the 43rd Congressional District, including Torrance Transit’s Compressed Natural Gas Fueling Station and Electric Vehicle Charging Stations; Gardena G-Trans’ CNG Fueling Facility and Maintenance Infrastructure Upgrades Project and its Solar Energy Powered Zero Emission Bus Transit System project; and Los Angeles Metro’s replacement of 30 aging diesel buses with new, low-emission, clean fuel buses for uses specifically in the South Bay region.
“A safe, efficient, modern, and accessible transportation system and access to safe, clean drinking water is vital for a healthy environment and a vibrant economy. That is true here in the South Bay and in communities throughout the United States. I am working hard to expand federal support for infrastructure in communities nationwide,” she said.
Congresswoman Waters also provided her analysis on the Trump Administration’s infrastructure proposal. Despite purportedly leveraging $1.5 trillion in infrastructure spending over 10 years, in reality, the Trump proposal requires that state and local governments finance 80 percent of the costs for major infrastructure projects and limits federal investments to $200 billion over 10 years.
Congresswoman Waters also critiqued the President’s fiscal year 2019 budget, which reduces transportation and infrastructure funding by $168 billion over 10 years; slashes highway, transit, and highway safety funding by $122 billion over 10 years; and eliminates the U.S. Department of Transportation’s popular “TIGER” grants program, which currently benefits local transit agencies like Torrance Transit, Gardena’s GTrans, and Los Angeles Metro.
“I think that there will be a robust conversation in Washington over the upcoming weeks and months about transportation and infrastructure funding, and the appropriate amount of federal investments. I have long advocated for additional federal transportation and infrastructure investments. At the center of the discussion will be an examination of how the federal government can invest in infrastructure without shifting the burden to states and local communities to come up with an unrealistic, or unreasonable, share of the funding,” said Congresswoman Waters.
In addition to infrastructure, Congresswoman Waters also discussed several other contentious federal policy issues and their impacts on South Bay residents. Those issues include the Trump Administration’s decision to open up the entire Pacific coastline to offshore oil drilling, which would be devastating for coastal cities in the South Bay, like Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, and Hermosa Beach; immigration and the fate of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program recipients; and the new federal tax law, which reduces or eliminates key deductions that are important to Californians.
At the conclusion of her remarks, Congresswoman Waters thanked the Torrance Chamber of Commerce for its “continued commitment as a leading business advocate in the South Bay region,” and pledged to continue “working collaboratively with [the Chamber]” and “fighting for this region to ensure that every resident can live the American dream.”