Federal Legislative Issues 2024


  1. Clean Air Act conformity deadlines must be extended. Inland Action has long advocated for a reset of the 2025 air quality attainment deadline, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has now published a plan rejecting South Coast Air Quality Management District’s 2019 Contingency Measure Plan.  EPA is now on record that Federal highway funds will be withheld if California and others cannot show conformity with the ozone threshold through the State Implementation Plan (SIP) before June 15, 2024. The 30-day public comment period ends on March 4; and if the proposal moves forward, the disapproval will trigger the 24-month highway sanction clock jeopardizing critical transportation funding for the region.
  2.  Construct a new federal courthouse for the Eastern Division of the Central District of California to accommodate the judges needed to serve this region and support S. 2759 (Young), the JUDGES Act, to address the need for additional judges.
  3. Support action to double the maximum Pell Grant to $13,000 and index it to inflation to ensure that all students who wish to attend higher education can afford to do so. While the maximum grant used to cover nearly 80 percent of the cost of attending a four-year public institution, today the maximum grant of $7,395 covers less than 30 percent of that cost.
  4. Oppose Medicare site-neutral payment cuts, which would reduce access to critical healthcare services, especially in rural and other underserved communities. Site-neutral payment policies ignore fundamental differences between hospital outpatient departments and other outpatient care settings which disproportionately harm access to care for those most at risk of inequitable outcomes.
  5. Support H.R. 5444 (Matsui) and S. 2195 (Carper) to reauthorize and increase funding for the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA). In the Inland Empire, emissions from diesel engines have been shown to contribute to air pollution that adversely impact public health, with 70 percent of smog-causing pollution and 80 percent of particulate matter coming from diesel engines.  Air quality goals in this region cannot be achieved without federal involvement in conversion of diesel emissions from heavy duty trucks.
  6. Support S. 1557 (Cantwell) and H.R. 3238 (LaHood) which will continue tax credits under the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program, a program that has been responsible for virtually all affordable housing produced since its inception.


  • Support S. 1557 (Cantwell) and H.R. 3238 (LaHood) which will continue tax credits under the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program.
  • Support Reauthorization of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.
  • Support H.R. 5761 (Kelly), the Opportunity Zones Transparency, Extension, and Improvement Act, to extend tax benefits in disadvantaged areas.


  • Support action to double the maximum Pell Grant to $13,000.
  • Support at least $2.1 billion for the Department of Education 21st Century Community Learning Centers in the FY24 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill.
  • Support at least $20 million for the Department of Labor Career Pathways for Youth grant in the FY24 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill.
  • Support at least $130 million for the Department of Justice National Youth Mentoring Program in the FY24 Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bill, in particular programs for undocumented students.
  • Urge the Department of Education to work with institutions to streamline the annual recertification process for institutions to be recognized as Hispanic-Serving Institutions.


  • Support H.R. 5444 (Matsui) and S. 2195 (Carper) to reauthorize and increase funding for the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA).
  • Support for Funding for Continued Management of the Salton Sea.
  • Support for Increased Funding for Water Supply, Water Quality, and Water Storage Projects through: Support for permitting of the Delta Conveyance Project; Funding for Monitoring and Remediation–PFAS; Enhance Reliability of Long-Term Supplies, Storage and Drought Resiliency for California; Support Water Conservation Rebate Tax Parity; and Federal Support for Water Purveyor Consolidation Efforts.


  • Oppose site-neutral payment cuts, which would reduce access to critical healthcare services, especially in rural and other underserved communities.
  • Support for Graduate Medical Education Funding.
  • Keep Health Care Affordable – Extend Advance Premium Tax Credits.


  • Construct a new courthouse for the Eastern Division of the Central District of California to accommodate the increased number of judges needed to serve this region.
  • Support for S. 2759 (Young), the JUDGES Act, to address the need for additional judges.
  • Make permanent or extend the Central District’s temporary judgeship.


  • Clean Air Act conformity deadlines must be extended.
  • Support capacity enhancement for infrastructure.

Economic Development Issues

Support S. 1557 (Cantwell) and H.R. 3238 (LaHood) which will continue tax credits under the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit ProgramCalifornia Housing Partnership publishes current housing needs data which shows that across California there are 1.3 million low-income households that cannot find affordable housing, with approximately 10% of those households living in the Inland Empire. Additionally, this year, low-income seniors and individuals with disabilities who rely on Social Security for their income now face the reality that Fair Market Rent for the smallest units, studios, and efficiencies, is over 125% of their income. The solution is, in part, the development of more affordable housing.

In California, building housing to meet the current need involves blending several funding sources in order to maintain affordability. One of the sources that is often used to leverage investment in these developments is Low-Income Housing Tax Credit financing. The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program (LIHTC) finances the construction, rehabilitation, and preservation of housing affordable to lower-income households. The LIHTC program encourages private investment by providing a tax credit to the investing partner; a dollar-for-dollar reduction in federal taxes owed.

This year, the bipartisan Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 1557 and H.R. 3238) has been introduced in both houses to strengthen and protect the LIHTC program. Changes proposed in the legislation would maximize affordable housing production and preservation, better serve hard-to-reach populations, remove barriers to affordable housing preservation, protect housing for veterans and victims of domestic violence, and streamline and simplify program rules to promote efficiency. Throughout its 37-year history of bipartisan support, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit has financed the production of over 3.7 million homes nationwide. It is responsible for virtually all affordable housing produced since its inception.

The ability to leverage tax credit financing plays a significant role in the development of new low-income housing while creating and maintaining affordable housing options for low- and moderate-income tenants.  Failure to protect this resource will mean families across the county, including thousands in the Inland Empire, will continue to be rent burdened and struggle to find stable, affordable housing. This has negative effects on a family’s ability to prosper and on the local economy. Because the Housing Credit is vastly oversubscribed and the need has never been greater, getting the legislation signed into law would have an immediate positive impact.

Inland Action urges Congress to support S. 1557 and H.R. 3238 so that thousands of much-needed projects currently on the sidelines could begin development.

Support Reauthorization of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.   Inland Action urges our congressional representatives to show their support for business in the Inland Empire by reauthorizing the Workplace Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). According to most measures, including but not limited to employment, wage, growth, retail, and commercial vacancy rates, the Inland Empire’s economy is healthy. However, Inland Empire businesses of all sizes are struggling to find, hire, and retain capable, well-trained, reliable employees.

Enacted in 2014, the WIOA authorizes federal employment, workforce and training programs, and formula funding to state and local governments. The WIOA provides the needed framework for a modernized, demand-driven workforce development system to meet the needs of employers and jobseekers alike. The WIOA enables the county workforce development boards in the Inland Empire to train workers in the Inland Empire who may otherwise struggle to enter the workforce. In times like these, this ability to expand the workforce is essential to the continued growth of the Inland Empire economy. The WIOA is, therefore, a vital funding source for workforce development that helps counties address and overcome the challenges facing our local workforce area.

Inland Action joins other statewide associations, local agencies, and stakeholders to advocate for legislation, budget actions, and administrative proposals that support the reauthorization of the WIOA to include:

  • Continued local control.
  • Greater engagement with local area employers to provide business retention, on-the-job training, job placement services, and offset business closures through layoff prevention services.
  • Continued funding of career centers and other programs such as Individual Training Accounts that provide jobseekers options for occupational training, career pathway programs to meet strategic planning goals, and to build a workforce customized to meet local demand and emerging business sectors.
  • Continued support of career growth and employment advancement opportunities to meet local economic development needs in accordance with the Countywide Vision.

Continuing to move WIOA forward without reauthorization creates an instability in the programing that makes these efforts less effective.  Inland Action urges members of Congress to address the reauthorization of WIOA this year in order for the WIOA to maximize efficiency and continue to be progressive rather than reactionary.

Support H.R. 5761 (Kelly), the Opportunity Zones Transparency, Extension, and Improvement Act, to extend tax benefits in disadvantaged areas.  Opportunity Zones were created to incentivize investment in otherwise disadvantaged areas defined as specific geographic areas with high poverty, as indicated through either a poverty rate of 20% or greater or a median household income of 80% or less than the statewide median. The Opportunity Zone program was designed to foster increased private investment, as well as enhance and coordinate public investment. The program allows investors to claim tax benefits on capital gains for money invested in these designated zones for capital and business growth. It has also created the opportunity for better targeting of public infrastructure and other funding into the zones.

The program has been successful in attracting private investment to parts of the Inland Empire that need an infusion of capital. Projects in the Inland area range from office space and new housing to better roads and updated traffic designs. The funds allow for economic growth, increased employment, new housing opportunities, more green spaces, and safer streets in parts of the Inland Empire that are home to some of the most economically disadvantaged citizens.

H.R. 5761, the Opportunity Zones Transparency, Extension, and Improvement Act, would extend the tax benefits in the program for two more years, increase reporting requirements, and give states more flexibility in designating new zones by authorizing a sunset for zones that have seen income growth allowing them to focus more on the remaining zones that continue to need investment. By extending the program and increasing local control of the designations while maintaining and strengthening reporting requirements, this legislation will continue to attract funding to foster economic growth and investment in the Inland Empire.  Inland Action urges members of Congress to support H.R. 5761.


Education Issues

Support action to double the maximum Pell Grant to $13,000Doubling the maximum Pell Grant award and indexing it to inflation ensures that all students who wish to attend higher education can afford to do so and protects the Pell Grant from inflationary pressures that have eroded the grant’s purchasing power over time.  This increase would substantially contribute to students’ overall aid packages and will help sustain students’ basic needs—including housing and food security, health care, and access to childcare—and promote on-time graduation among the most vulnerable student populations.

Inland Empire educational institutions are preparing an educated and skilled workforce for the Inland Empire. Inland Action urges support for legislation and programs that increase equitable access to higher education and help produce more skilled college graduates to meet workforce needs and advance the region’s economy.  Additionally, Inland Action supports expansion of access to the Pell Grant to eligible Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals students.

Inland Action is appreciative of the action taken in Fiscal Year 2022 Omnibus that provided critical investments for higher education and our nation’s education, research, and health care enterprises. In particular, Inland Action expresses gratitude for the $400 increase in the maximum Pell Grant award—the largest single increase in a decade. While progress has been made to support our most vulnerable students, Inland Action supports further action to double the maximum Pell Grant Award to allow more Inland Empire students to complete college and earn degrees more quickly.

The Inland Empire, which suffers from one of the lowest baccalaureate degree attainment rates in the nation for metropolitan areas of one million or more residents, as well as one of the highest poverty rates, needs more skilled and educated workers to advance the region’s economy.  The federal Pell Grant program continues to be one of the best investments in our future, opening the door to a college degree and upward mobility to millions of students. More than 67,000 low- to moderate-income students currently attending Inland Empire community colleges, public, and private universities rely on Pell Grants to complete their degrees.

Pell Grants are the cornerstone of financial aid, targeting federal resources to students most in need of support to access and afford a college education. Last year marked the 50th Anniversary of the federal Pell Grant program.   During this time, the program has provided over 80 million students with the opportunity to pursue higher learning and achieve their full potential. Over seven million students, or about 40 percent of undergraduates, receive a Pell Grant each year, including more than 2.5 million students at public four-year institutions.

Pell Grants are targeted to students with clear financial need: approximately three-fourths of all Pell Grant dollars are awarded to students with a family income below $30,000. For many students, Pell Grants make the difference between being able to afford college or not.  But over the years the size of the grant has not kept pace with the costs of attending college. While the maximum grant used to cover nearly 80 percent of the cost of attending a four-year public institution, today the maximum grant of $7,395 covers less than 30 percent of that cost.  As the nation moves forward with pandemic recovery, we need bold federal action to make higher education more affordable and accessible to those most in need of support.

Doubling the Pell Grant award takes on added urgency brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and the increased economic strain felt by so many students struggling to cover the rising costs of housing, food, transportation, and childcare. Increasing the maximum Pell Grant award from $7,395 to $13,000 would simultaneously address the basic-needs crisis that students face, while also preparing the educated workforce and future leaders who will be integral to building back our economy.  Inland Action calls on Congress to double the maximum Pell award to $13,000, which can occur through a combination of both mandatory and discretionary program increases. 

The time also is now to open Pell Grant eligibility to students enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to ensure these vital resources are within the reach of thousands of Dreamers who wish to pursue an education to better themselves, as well as their families, communities, and nation.

By increasing the maximum Pell Grant, students will be less inclined to take out loans and more likely to graduate without a mountain of debt. Additionally, Inland Action supports increased investments in programs for Minority-Serving Institutions.  In the Inland Empire, all the public institutions within San Bernardino and Riverside counties have met the federal criteria for a Hispanic-Serving Institution. The University of Redlands is also a federally designated Hispanic-Serving Institution. The University of California, Riverside has also met the criteria for an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution.

Inland Action strongly believes that all Americans, regardless of their family income, should be able to pursue a college degree if they so choose and that family income should not be a barrier. Pell Grants are central to this goal.

Support at least $2.1 billion for the Department of Education 21st Century Community Learning Centers in the FY24 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations billThe U.S. Department of Education and other federal agencies work to ensure that 50 million students in K-12 public schools have access to a safe, quality education. Inequities in education are intertwined with disparities in wealth, income, and housing.

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted learning for millions of students during the 2020-21 school year. Certain student populations were more likely to face significant obstacles to learning in a virtual environment—such as high-poverty students and students learning English. Some children never attended class during the 2020-2021 school year, and many continue to perform below standard.

The Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative is the only federal funding source dedicated exclusively to supporting local after-school, before-school, and summer learning programs. The program serves more than 1.5 million youth and their families. Grants support local schools and community-based organizations that provide after-school and summer learning programs to students attending high-poverty, low-performing schools.

Programs Support includes academic enrichment activities that can help students meet state and local achievement standards, a broad array of additional enrichment services designed to reinforce and complement the regular academic program, such as: drug and violence prevention programs, career and technical programs, counseling programs, art, music programs, STEM programs, and physical activity and nutrition education programs and literacy and related educational development services to the families of children who are served in the program.

For more than 20 years, 21st Century Community Learning Centers have been providing high quality programming to a wide range of children grades pre-K to 12th grade in communities nationwide. This program supports the creation of community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for children, particularly students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools. The program helps students meet state and local academic standards in core academic subjects, such as reading and math; offers students a broad array of enrichment activities that can complement their regular academic programs; and offers literacy and other educational services to the families of participating children.

Support at least $20 million for the Department of Labor Career Pathways for Youth grant in the FY24 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations billWorkforce Pathways for Youth (WPY) grants will fund national Out of School Time (OST) organizations that serve historically underserved and marginalized youth ages 14 to 21. These grants will place an emphasis on age-appropriate workforce readiness programming to expand job training and workforce pathways for youth, including soft skill development, career exploration, job readiness and certification, summer jobs, year-round job opportunities, and apprenticeships.

This program aims to also support partnerships between workforce boards and youth serving organizations and to establish lasting connections and partnerships with state and local workforce partners to introduce opportunity youth to career-related services.

The goals of the grant program are to expand age-appropriate workforce readiness programming through national OST organizations and their state or locally-operated affiliate organizations and ultimately scale up these efforts, promote increased alignment between OST organizations, workforce development programs, and school systems, including alignment with dropout reengagement and recovery programs and to provide work experiences, occupational skills training, and unsubsidized employment placements to increase opportunities for youth, particularly those at risk of not completing their high school education, to gain the skills needed to be successful in higher education and employment.

The target population includes youth and young adults (ages 14-21), youth aging out of foster care, youth experiencing housing instability, youth in rural areas and youth from other Underserved Communities.

Support at least $130 million for the Department of Justice National Youth Mentoring Program in the FY24 Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bill, in particular programs for undocumented studentsThe Department of Justice National Youth Mentoring Program provides funds to national mentoring organizations to enhance and expand mentoring services for children and youth who are at risk or high risk for juvenile delinquency, victimization, and juvenile justice system involvement.

Inland Action requests the following actions in support of undocumented and Dreamer students:

  • Establish a pathway to citizenship for DACA students.
  • Expand Pell Grant eligibility to include DACA students.
  • Expand SNAP program eligibility to include DACA students.
  • Enact the Dream Act to give Dreamers permanent legal status.
  • Eliminate federal restrictions on states that offer in-state tuition to undocumented students.
  • Provide a pathway for students with Temporary Worker Visas and their families to stay in the U.S. while enrolled in higher education, providing a pathway for these students to obtain other visas for high-need skill areas in H1B or H1C areas.

Undocumented students are aspiring teachers, medical professionals, first responders, and business owners, among others. They make up the fabric of our community and will contribute to our future workforce. The Center for American Progress estimates that over the next decade, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program beneficiaries will contribute $460.3 billion to the U.S. economy. Of the nation’s estimated 800,000 DACA recipients, 223,000 are Californians and tens of thousands of undocumented students are enrolled in California community colleges. It is hard to state a definitive number with any certainty though as many undocumented students are unwilling to disclose their status. While those that do are able to access the numerous services and protections offered through higher education institutions through the Dreamer Program, including in-state tuition and financial aid, many would rather pay for their classes than seek financial aid.

California Assembly Bill 540 allows students who have attended a high school in California for three years and have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to receive in-state tuition.  The legislation was critical because without it, undocumented students attending a California community college or university would be paying thousands of dollars in tuition each year as non-residents or international students.  With more than 2.5 million undocumented immigrants living in California, the State could not risk that this vital segment of its population was unable to access the education and training necessary to enter the workforce, provide for their families, and contribute to the local, regional, and State economy.  AB 540 eligible students may also apply for State financial aid through the California Dream Act, further reducing the cost of education and facilitating access to postsecondary education.  However, even with this assistance, California community colleges are still ill-equipped to address the needs and concerns of AB 540 students, Dreamers, and other undocumented students.

Community colleges, public and private universities are able to braid funding and supplement specific services with other programs for low-income, first generation, and marginalized students in order to provide comprehensive support to undocumented students, whose stories are as unique as the students themselves. However, there are gaps in services and funding that yield inconsistencies in programming and threaten ongoing sustainability.  Of particular concern is the unfunded mandate from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office to establish a Dreamer Center at each college.  Colleges agree that this is an important step to supporting marginalized students.  However, without dedicated funding, the colleges are limited in what they can do.

In addition, students report that they need assistance identifying legal resources, applying for financial assistance, including scholarships, and accessing mental health services.  Furthermore, students report high levels of food insecurity and would benefit from more equitable access to CalFresh benefits.  Food assistance will allow students to be better able to focus on academics and ultimately achieve their educational goals. For far too long, undocumented students have lived through years of uncertainty without a permanent pathway to citizenship.


Urge the Department of Education to work with institutions to streamline the annual recertification process for institutions to be recognized as Hispanic-Serving Institutions According to the Department of Education, Hispanic Serving Institutions (HISs) are defined as nonprofit higher education institutions with enrollment of at least 25% Hispanic undergraduate full-time equivalent students. In the 2021-22 school year, HSIs grew to 572 institutions, a 2.3% increase from 2019-2020. The number of HSIs is now above pre-pandemic years. While the number of HSIs has increased, funding has remained relatively static compared to the growth of undergraduate students, HSIs, and emerging HSIs across the nation.

Eligible institutions under Title III and/or Title V of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEA), may choose to apply for HSI designation which allows eligible higher education institutions to apply for grants within the Titles III and V programs. Institutions must meet the programmatic requirements for the program(s) that they wish to apply for in order for their grant application to be reviewed. Upon approval by the DOE, the designation is only for one calendar year.

Institutions that have a grant under Title III parts A or B are prohibited from receiving additional grant awards under any other provision of Title III part A, Title III part B, or Title V. If an institution has a current Title III or Title V grant that will end during this fiscal year, it may be eligible to apply for additional programs. However, the institution will not be allowed to accept funds from both a Title III part A or B grant and a Title V grant. This process is cumbersome and complicated for under resourced institutions.


As a result of receiving this designation, institutions are eligible for a waiver of the non-Federal share matching requirements under the Federal Work Study Program, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Program, and the TRIO Student Support Services Program under Title IV of the Higher Education Act.  Institutions are also potentially eligible for a waiver of the Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language Program matching requirement, pending a demonstration of the institution’s need for such a waiver in the application for new awards under this program.

Branch campuses are not eligible for the waiver of the non-Federal share matching requirements. If the main campus is eligible for Titles III and V programs, and it receives the cost-share waiver, the main campus’ waiver can be extended to its eligible branch campus.  The eligibility for a waiver of the non-Federal share matching requirements is allowable for a one-year period beginning July 1, 2024.

A few key points to consider:

  • HSIs have seen a threefold increase since the 1994-95 academic year, indicative of the growing Hispanic student population.
  • HSIs play a crucial role in educating a diverse body of students, including 67% of Hispanic college students, and contribute significantly to the STEM workforce.
  • Despite their significance, HSIs often miss out on federal capacity-building opportunities, either due to legislative oversights or agency engagement gaps.
  • Nearly all public higher education institutions in the Inland Empire are HSIs or eligible to become an HSI.


Environment Issues

Support H.R. 5444 (Matsui) and S. 2195 (Carper) to reauthorize and increase funding for the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA).  The Inland Empire will never be able to meet Federal Air Standards without a more robust effort at the federal level.  Accordingly, Inland Action encourages support for the reauthorization of DERA and asks Congress to ensure that the program is fully funded.

As the Inland Empire is sometimes referred to as the nation’s largest major inland port, the health effects of the diesel emissions that inevitably accompany warehouse operations have become the most controversial growth issue in the region. Emissions from diesel engines — especially particulate matter (PM), nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur oxides, and air toxics — have been shown to contribute to air pollution that adversely impact public health, with 70 percent of smog-causing pollution and 80 percent of particulate matter coming from diesel engines.

Since 1970, the Clean Air Act has required the federal government to limit these emissions. EPA’s most recent set of emission standards for newly manufactured heavy-duty highway and non-road diesel engines took effect in 2007 and 2008, respectively. At the time, the standards required a 90% and 95% reduction in emission levels for PM and NOx, respectively, over the previous standards.  However, because of the long operational lives of diesel engines, millions of pre-2007 engines remain in use.  According to EPA’s estimates in 2016, 10 million pre-2007 diesel engines remain in use in the United States, and 1 million of those engines could still be in use in 2030.  The Clean Air Act does not provide EPA with the authority to set new emission standards on existing or “legacy” diesel engines.  To address concerns over legacy diesel engines, EPA began a Voluntary Diesel Retrofit Program in 2000 and a Clean School Bus Initiative in 2003, among other programs.

Congress enacted the “Diesel Emissions Reduction” program in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.  It authorized EPA to administer a national and state-level grant and loan program to promote emissions reductions from legacy diesel engines.  Through the Diesel Emissions Reduction program (as amended), EPA has provided loans, grants, and rebates to projects that use certified engine configurations and verified technologies, or that develop and commercialize emerging technologies, in order to replace legacy diesel engines.  The Diesel Emissions Reduction Act of 2010 authorized $100 million annually through FY 2016 and modified provisions related to the program.  The Act authorized EPA to offer rebates in addition to grants and loans to eligible entities, including any private individual or entity that owns a diesel vehicle or fleet.  The distribution of funds was revised to provide not less than 95 percent of funds to projects using a certified engine configuration or verified technology and not more than 5 percent of funds for development and commercialization of emerging technologies.

Under the Act, EPA was to develop a simplified application process to expedite provision of funds, taking into consideration special circumstances affecting small fleet owners.  The Act expanded the priority given to applications that serve areas receiving a disproportionate quantity of air pollution from diesel fleets to include construction sites and schools in addition to truck stops, ports, rail yards, terminals, and distribution centers.  In 2020, the DERA program was reauthorized through FY2024.  Inland Action encourages support by federal legislators for the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act of 2023 (H.R. 5444 (Matsui) and S. 2195 (Carper), which would reauthorize DERA through FY 2029.  However, we also encourage support for additional funding under DERA.  Only in the last four fiscal years has the enacted appropriation been anywhere near the $100 million authorized under the act. EPA reports that since the inception of the program, DERA funding requests have exceeded availability by as much as 35 to 1 for the rebate program and 7 to 1 for the national grant competition.

Reauthorization is necessary, but it is not enough.  This program needs to be enhanced through greater funding, better incentive plans, and a streamlined assistance program to help small operators take advantage of the program.  Considering the impacts of diesel exhaust, this needs to be a much higher priority.  Our region is exponentially damaged by the lack of attention to this issue.

Support for Funding for Continued Management of the Salton Sea.   The Salton Sea is located in Riverside County, yet few projects in our region come anywhere near the Salton Sea in terms of the potential for calamity or, conversely, enormous gain.

The Salton Sea is impacted by rising salinity, as well as changes in runoff from irrigated agriculture (supplied by Colorado River water).  Reduced water flows to the Sea could result in the exposure of nearly 100 square miles of dry lakebed, resulting in diminished habitat, significant air quality problems, and a damaged economy.

A key issue at the Salton Sea is exposure of previously submerged lakebed, known as playa, as the lake surface shrinks.  This playa exposure is subject to wind erosion and can be a source of fine airborne dust smaller than 10 micrometers, known as particulate matter 10, or PM10; as well as a source of PM 2.5.  The dust is a significant health hazard and can contribute to respiratory illness in humans.  It can also damage agricultural crops and wildlife and harm the region’s tourism industry.  Areas downwind from the Sea are already suffering from severe non-attainment for PM10 under the Clean Air Act.  These areas suffer the highest rates of childhood asthma in California, with emergency room admissions for children under four years of age roughly twice the State average.  In the near future, tens of millions of citizens downwind from the Sea could be impacted by dust blown from the playa into densely urbanized areas throughout Southern California.

In recent years, local, State, tribal, and federal governments have achieved significant progress in addressing the long-term management of the Salton Sea.  These efforts have resulted in the development of the Salton Fee Funding and Feasibility Action Plan, a living document and framework for the future management of the Salton Sea, and Phase I of the Salton Sea Management Program 10-Year Plan, which guides investments at the Salton Sea in line with an MOU between the United States Department of the Interior and the California Natural Resources Agency.  Current efforts are designed to address playa exposure by developing habitat or dust suppression projects on exposed playa.

With a plan in place, funding generally available to the projects through the 2018 Farm Bill at the federal level, and through the passage of Proposition 68 at the State level, it is critical that funding be delivered to these projects in a timely and efficient manner.  At the federal level, the following steps are suggested:

  • Support action by federal agencies, consistent with the MOU implementing E.O. 13807.
  • Encourage the Department of Agriculture to ensure conservation funding and funding related to air quality concerns (connected to agricultural operations) be directed to Salton Sea projects.
  • Urge the Army Corp of Engineers to appropriate available monies for Salton Sea revitalization and support the Tribal Partnership Program.
  • Urge the Bureau of Reclamation to continue its engagement with Salton Sea partners and ensure funds are directed to habitat restoration and air quality management projects in the Salton Sea.

In addition to the foregoing, Inland Action wishes to express its appreciation for the Inflation Reduction Act, which enabled the Bureau of Reclamation to enter into an agreement with the Imperial Irrigation District and the Coachella Valley Water District to accelerate up to $250 million in investments to support Salton Sea efforts.  We encourage legislators to push further reclamation efforts to fund research and development projects at the Salton Sea and to ensure reclamation requests receive adequate funding for the Salton Sea in future budget requests.

Support for Increased Funding for Water Supply, Water Quality, and Water Storage Projects through:

Support for permitting of the Delta Conveyance Project.  Water reliability is a vital issue for inland Southern California, including for major local State water contractors such as the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District, and Mojave Water Agency.  Inland Action supports upgrading the State’s infrastructure to improve conveyance in the Delta and ensure more reliable long-term water deliveries for the California State Water Project (SWP), which provides 30 percent of Southern California’s water.  Inland Action also supports continued federal funding for scientific research and habitation restoration in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to advance ecosystem improvements in support of California’s coequal goals of water supply reliability and Delta ecosystem restoration.

On December 21, 2023, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) approved the Delta Conveyance Project and certified the Environmental Impact Report (EIR). DWR selected the “Bethany Reservoir Alignment, which Inland Action had previously advocated for because it appears to have the best approach to taking advantage of the high-water flows that have been experienced in recent years. Under current conditions with the southern intake, there is not any opportunity to take advantage of high flows during Winter and Spring. Recent flood events could not only have been mitigated by the proposed intakes, but significant volumes of water could have been recovered.

Over 20 million people in California depend on the SWP for drinking water. The health of the Delta and the sustainability of the SWP are greatly enhanced by this project.  There will be impacts of the construction of a project of this magnitude, but they are significantly outweighed by the benefits.

Inland Action supports the project and asks that federal legislators do everything in their power to keep the project moving forward.  For example, we ask that legislators maintain pressure on federal agencies and departments to request sufficient appropriations and to process necessary permits and authorizations in a timely and efficient manner (including, for example, under the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, and National Historic Preservation Act). Failure to move forward on this project would have devastating economic and environmental consequences to the entire State.

Funding for Monitoring and Remediation – PFASEnsuring safe drinking water is a fundamental requirement for healthy communities and economies. With growing concerns about the presence in some water supplies of a family of chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), water agencies are working to ensure inland Southern California has a safe and reliable drinking water supply. Inland Action supports administrative and legislative actions to secure funding to help public water agencies defray the cost of monitoring and/or remediation of constituents (including PFAS) in drinking water supplies, including full cost-recovery by drinking water and wastewater providers.

Inland Action appreciates Congress’s willingness to provide funding to address PFAS and other emerging contaminants (the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, for example) and appreciates the EPA’s work to date on the PFAS issue (particularly, the PFAS Strategic Roadmap).  We do, however, want to continue to urge caution in legislating in this emerging field.  There are no doubt areas where legislation is required to pave the way for good science and regulation; e.g., addressing requirements for PFAS in firefighting foam.  However, a rush to legislate in this increasingly “popular” area, without letting science lead the way, could easily result in conflicting and confusing statutory commands and additional burdens for local agencies and businesses.

Inland Action supports legislation that accomplishes the above goals while protecting public water and wastewater agencies (and, therefore, their ratepayers) from third-party liability associated with new standards.

Enhance Reliability of Long-Term Supplies, Storage and Drought Resiliency for California.  Diverse sources of water supplies, increased water storage capacity, and enhanced resilience to drought are high priorities to maintain and grow California’s economy.  Inland Action supports continued actions to implement measures that improve California’s water reliability and drought preparedness.  Specifically, Inland Action wishes to express its support for continued investment in water projects including investments in drinking water, wastewater, water reuse, conveyance, and water storage infrastructure.  Inland Action is particularly appreciative of the roughly $134 million in federal funding for the Sites Reservoir from the Bureau of Reclamation and the federal support making that important project happen.  Funding critical water infrastructure projects, such as the Sites Reservoir, provide reliable water sources for millions of Americans impacted by drought.

Support Water Conservation Rebate Tax Parity. Water conservation rebates provided by public utilities or governments are not currently exempt from federal taxes. Inland Action continues to support a federal tax exemption for water conservation rebates to encourage additional water savings.  In particular, Inland Action supports any successor bill introduced by the 118th Congress to H.R. 4647 (Huffman) and S. 2430 (Feinstein), which were both introduced in the 117th Congress (similar bills had been introduced in the 114th, 115th, and 116th Congresses).  Those bills, known as the Water Conservation Rebate Tax Parity Act, would extend the tax exemption that currently exists for energy conservation devices to include water conservation and stormwater management devices as well. We do not believe federal legislators should give up on this effort.

Federal Support for Water Purveyor Consolidation Efforts.  In recent years, the State of California has looked for mechanisms to address significant infrastructure and water quality issues associated with small, typically private, water systems.  This is a significant problem in rural areas, particularly the Central Valley.  Most stakeholders agree that consolidation of these water systems is one mechanism to address this.  Unfortunately, State efforts to address the issues have thus far focused on the prospect of a universal water tax, paid by all customers on a per unit or per person basis.  Instead, Inland Action supports federal cooperation with and funding to the State to incentivize consolidation of water systems, ideally into public bodies with local accountability and decision-making.  Incentivizing consolidation requires significant funds to address infrastructure needs and address water quality problems.


Health Care Issues

The Inland Empire is home to over 4.7 million residents, of which over 1.8 million rely on Medicaid for health care coverage.  The region also continues to hold designations for Medically Underserved Areas (MUA), Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) for primary care, dental health, and mental health, and low rankings in the Healthy Places Index (HPI).  Inland Action urges Congress not to reduce funding of any kind to our nation’s hospitals, and safety net, including cuts to Medicaid funding. These types of erosion of government reimbursement further exacerbate access challenges in an environment where there are significant physician shortages and geographic challenges.  Hospitals need financial resources and regulatory relief to help rebuild their workforce and strengthen their financial situation in order to continue to provide access to quality health care in the Inland Empire and beyond.

Oppose Medicare site-neutral payment cuts, which would reduce access to critical healthcare services, especially in rural and other underserved communitiesMedicare site-neutral legislation jeopardizes access to care for patients and communities.  Congress is considering several bills that would reduce payment for services provided in hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs) and disproportionately harm access to care for those most at risk of inequitable outcomes.

A recent analysis of Medicare claims[1] indicates that beneficiaries receiving care in HOPDs are more likely to be among the most vulnerable patients in our disproportionately affected communities, which are non-white (1.5 and 1.4 times more likely to be Black and Hispanic, respectively) and enrolled in Medicaid (1.9 times more likely to be dually eligible) than in independent physician offices (IPO). They are also clinically more complex. Among other measures of complexity, HOPD beneficiaries were more likely to enter the Medicare program due to disability or end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Additionally, 31% of HOPD beneficiaries were originally enrolled in Medicare due to disability and/or ESRD as compared to 19% for IPO patients (1.6 times more likely for HOPD than IPO). As a result of these complicating factors, HOPD patients were 2.8 times more likely to have visited an emergency department in the past 90 days than ambulatory surgery center patients.

Site-neutral payment policies ignore fundamental differences between HOPDs and other outpatient care settings. Hospitals and health systems provide unique benefits to their communities, such as 24/7 standby capacity for emergencies, traumas, neonatal intensive care, acute psychiatric conditions, and more. HOPDs are also required to comply with more regulatory and safety codes and care for sicker, more complex patients than other outpatient care settings. Expanding site-neutral cuts would endanger the critical role hospitals and health systems play in their communities.

Medicare’s chronic failure to cover the cost of caring for its beneficiaries has already created the burden of significant financial strains on hospitals and health systems and has the potential to significantly limit access to care for vulnerable Californians. Therefore, we strongly oppose site-neutral payment cuts and encourage Congress to reject any calls for additional site-neutral payment policies for HOPDs.

Harmful proposals being considered:

  • Proposed Bill 1: The Lower Cost, More Transparency Act (H.R. 5378) would result in a cut to hospitals of $3.7 billion over 10 years. Starting in 2025, and phased in over four years, drug administration services furnished in grandfathered off-campus HOPDs would be paid at a site-neutral rate.  This measure passed the House of Representatives with strong bipartisan support in December 2023.
  • Proposed Bill 2: The Site-based Invoicing and Transparency Enhancement (SITE) Act (S. 1869) would result in a cut to hospitals of $34.3 billion over 10 years. Starting in 2025, the SITE Act would impose site-neutral payment cuts for items and services in grandfathered off-campus HOPDs.
  • Proposed Bill 3: The Medicare Patient Access to Cancer Treatment (MPACT) Act (H.R. 4473) would result in a cut to hospitals of $11.8 billion over 10 years. Starting in 2025, services related to cancer diagnoses and treatments at off campus HOPDs would be paid at a site-neutral rate.

 Support for Graduate Medical Education Funding.   Lifting the cap on Medicare-funded residency positions would enhance access to care and help our hospitals better meet the needs of the communities they serve. Increasing Medicare-funded residency slots would provide hospitals more flexibility to diversify and maintain training programs, including both primary care and specialty programs. In addition, an increase in slots would allow health systems to train residents in more diverse facility types, such as smaller, rural hospitals which may not be able to operate their own training programs. This would benefit both the quality of physician education and the patients they would serve.

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) reports[2] that the country is on track for a shortage of 37,000 to 124,000 primary care and specialty physicians by 2034. These shortages — combined with an aging population, a rise in chronic diseases and behavioral health conditions, physician burnout from the pandemic, and “state-of-the-art” care delivery advancements — contribute to a need for robust graduate medical education (GME) funding to adequately prepare our healthcare workforce for the health system of the future and ensure continued access to care.

We must address our health care workforce shortage by investing in more GME and nursing workforce programs.  Although Congress provided funding in 2021 to expand the number of GME positions for the first time since 1996, we urge Congress to support any legislation that continues to increase Medicare-funded graduate medical education slots.

 Keep Health Care Affordable – Extend Advance Premium Tax CreditsWith an eye to the future, Inland Action notes that The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 increased the size of marketplace subsidies for those previously eligible for them and extended eligibility to people with income of more than 400 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) in 2021 and 2022. Those enhancements were extended through 2025 by the 2022 reconciliation act.

Advanced Premium Tax Credits (APTCs) and Cost Sharing Reductions (CSRs) reduce the cost of health insurance purchased through the healthcare marketplaces (Covered California in the Inland Empire). During the Covid-19 public health emergency, APTCs were increased to ensure that no consumer paid more than 8.5% of their income for health insurance, with a sliding scale that protected lower income consumers. If these subsidies expire, it will result in the steepest increase in out-of-pocket premium payments most enrollees in this market have seen.

Inland Action appreciates legislators’ early attention to ensure enhanced subsidies and tax credits are protected and extended beyond 2025 to maintain affordable health care for the residents of the Inland Empire, California, and the United States.


Judiciary Issues

Construct a new federal courthouse for the Eastern Division of the Central District of California to accommodate the increased number of judges needed to serve this region. Recognizing that the Federal Government has the responsibility “to provide quality services which are readily accessible to the people it serves” and that the combination of population growth in the Inland Empire and the inability of freeway connections to keep pace rendered “Federal offices along the coast [] no longer accessible to the residents of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties,” Congress in 1992 divided the Central District of California into three divisions “to provide for the delivery of judicial services to all areas and all residents of the Central Judicial District of California.”  The Eastern Division of the Court, to cover Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, was thus born on August 26, 1992, when the President signed what became P.L. 102-357.

The Eastern Division, however, does not have the necessary resources to provide the services Congress created it for.   The Division is now home to 4.6 million people, spanning 27,408 square miles.  Its population is greater than that of 25 States, and its land mass is larger than 11 states.  It is comparable in population to the State of Kentucky, and in land area to the State of West Virginia.  Those states each have two federal districts, with nine and eight authorized judgeships, respectively.  By comparison, there are presently only three District Judges sitting in the Eastern Division of the Central District of California.

For many years Inland Action has advocated for the appointment of more District Judges to sit in the Eastern Division.  Inland Action is very thankful that our calls have finally been answered with the appointment of the Hon. Sunshine Sykes in 2022 and the Hon. Kiya Kato in 2023.  While the addition of these two jurists to our local federal court has helped immensely, growth in this area – of population and therefore of caseload – is only forecast to increase.  Based on present case-filing statistics, the Court’s administration estimates that the Eastern Division presently needs four to five District Judges and will need approximately eight Article III judges in the near future.

Unfortunately, there is no physical space within the existing courthouse for these necessary additional judges to sit.  The George E. Brown, Jr. Federal Building & U.S. Courthouse in Riverside was designed and constructed in the early years of the Eastern Division.  It has only four courtrooms and, once a pending remodeling project is complete, will have six judicial chambers.  This is insufficient to house the judicial resources needed to serve the community adequately, let alone to handle the expected growth in the region.  With Judge Kato’s recent confirmation, there are now six judges assigned to that courthouse (three District Judges and three Magistrate Judges), sharing four courtrooms (only three of which have a jury room).  While the Court has efficiently remodeled the interior space on multiple occasions to maximize the utility of all available space, there is simply no more room in the present building to accommodate the necessary judicial officers our community needs.

A new, larger, Federal courthouse is desperately needed to serve the judicial needs of the Inland Empire – the very needs Congress recognized 30 years ago in creating the Eastern Division.  The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has determined a new courthouse for the Eastern Division to be number two overall nationwide on the priority list for courthouse construction.  The project has already been approved by both the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference and the United States Judicial Conference.  The Administrative Office has now referred the project to the General Services Administration (GSA) to conduct a feasibility study.  Unfortunately, we understand GSA is presently working on such studies for several other courthouses.  At least four other feasibility studies must be completed before ours can be started, and that, at current appropriations levels, GSA can complete only two studies per year, meaning it will be at least three more years before our feasibility study is even complete.  Once the feasibility study is complete, appropriations will be necessary for site acquisition and construction.  As of March 2023, GSA estimated it would take 20 years to complete the project, assuming current funding levels were maintained.

It is simply not feasible for our community to wait 20 years for adequate space for the number of judges our community needs to deliver justice.  The need is already present, as recognized by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.  The longer the project waits the more acute the problem will become, and the less access to justice our growing community will have.  In the immediate term, we urge our Senators and Congressional representatives to impress upon GSA the importance of this project to the community and to appropriate the necessary funds to GSA for completion of all the pending feasibility studies.  It is critical to our project that GSA’s budget for such projects not be cut in the current appropriations process.  Of course, once the feasibility study is complete for our project, Congress must provide the necessary appropriations for construction of this critical facility as soon as possible.

Support for S. 2759 (Young), the JUDGES Act, to address the need for additional judges in the region.  New judgeships must be created and promptly filled in order to provide adequate judicial resources to the people of the Central District of California.  New judgeships can only be authorized by Congress.  Congress last created a new permanent judgeship in the Central District of California in 1990, which was also the last time Congress enacted comprehensive judgeship legislation.

The most-recent study from the Judicial Conference of the United States, the policymaking body of the federal courts, confirms the need for additional judgeships in the Central District of California, beyond the current 28 positions.  The Judicial Conference makes biennial recommendations to Congress for which districts and circuits around the country need new judgeships.  In March 2023, it recommended Congress authorize nine additional judgeships for the Central District, in addition to making the temporary judgeship (discussed below) permanent, bringing the total authorized strength of the District to thirty-seven.  The recommendation is based on a weighted caseload for the Court, which takes into account not only the raw number of cases, but also complexity of those matters.  The data for the 12-month period ending September 30, 2023, (the most recent available) shows the weighted caseload in the Central District of California to be 596 cases per judge.  Not surprisingly with such a caseload, the median time from filing to trial in a civil case at 28.4 months.  Additional judges are needed to resolve these disputes more efficiently.

The JUDGES Act, S. 2759 (Young), now pending in the Senate would address this need by adding the nine additional judgeships and converting the temporary judgeship to permanent, recommended by the Judicial Conference.  The new judgeships would be added in a staggered fashion – five on January 21, 2025, and the other four on January 21, 2029 – to limit any partisan advantage.  The bill has bi-partisan support – introduced by Senator Young (IN) and co-sponsored by Senators Padilla (CA), Lankford (OK), and Coons (DE).

While we would like to see the new positions added more quickly and not have to wait until January 2029 for the full allotment of needed judges, Inland Action strongly supports the JUDGES Act and urges its prompt passage.

Make permanent or extend the Central District’s temporary judgeshipThe federal trial court having jurisdiction over the Inland Empire is the Central District of California – the most-populous federal judicial district in the country. The Court currently has 28 authorized judgeships.  After a long period of neglect – at one point in 2020 more than one-fourth of the seats on the Court were left vacant – the Court is now nearly at full strength.  One of those 28, however, is a temporary judgeship which will expire on April 27, 2024, if not made permanent or extended.  If that judgeship is allowed to expire, the total authorized strength of the Central District of California will revert to 27 judgeships, where it was in 2002.  In that case, the next vacancy occurring in the Central District (which is scheduled for May 1, 2024) will not be able to be filled.

Even with 28 authorized judgeships, the Central District is vastly under resourced based on the Judicial Conference’s 2023 biennial assessment of judicial needs.  The Judicial Conference has determined that the Central District currently needs a total of 37 judgeships based on weighted case filings and has recommended Congress create those new positions.  Inland Action supports pending legislative efforts to create those judgeships.  We cannot, however, go backward and lose a judgeship via expiration of the current temporary judgeship.

Inland Action urges Congress either to convert the current temporary judgeship to permanent or, at least, extend the expiration date of that position.  Such an extension has been an annual rite for the past several years and was most recently done as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 (P.L. 117-328, § 306(c)(2)).  A short-term fix is included in section 307 of H.R. 4664 and section 306 of S. 2309, the respective pending appropriations bills for financial services and general government.  Inland Action urges Congress, at minimum, to ensure that such provision is enacted to preserve the temporary judgeship until a longer-term solution to the judicial needs of our District can be enacted.   This issue would also be resolved by passage of The JUDGES Act, as discussed above.


Transportation Issues

Clean Air Act conformity deadlines must be extended.  Inland Action has long advocated for a reset of the 2025 air quality attainment deadline, and EPA has now published a plan rejecting South Coast Air Quality Management District’s 2019 Contingency Measure Plan.  The 2023 air quality mandate in the Clean Air Act has been and continues to be a compounding issue.  EPA is now on record that Federal highway funds will be withheld if California and others cannot show conformity with the ozone threshold through the State Implementation Plan (SIP) before June 15, 2024. The 30-day public comment period ends on March 4; and if the proposal moves forward, the disapproval will trigger the 24-month highway sanction clock jeopardizing critical transportation funding for our region.

Inland Action has consistently urged a reset of the current deadline so that all can comply. Technologies in the Inland Empire of Southern California are innovating and adapting every day, but industry certifications lag behind production and commercialization of the products.  As a region comprised of self-help counties that continues to be one of the fastest growing in the United States year-over year, solutions abound, but more time is needed to support transportation and supply chain sectors.

Support capacity enhancement for infrastructureInland Southern California stands as the 12th largest metropolitan statistical area in the United States and continues to be one of the nation’s fastest-growing regions. Accordingly, the need for enhancing through-put of both people and goods on our transportation infrastructure has never been greater.

Geographically and economically connected to the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the Inland Empire is often referred to as the Inland Port of Southern California.  While boasting of a proud population of approximately 4.6 million people and counting, our self-help transportation organizations have invested billions of local dollars to bolster infrastructure, drive innovative solutions, and adopt emerging technologies.  The challenge, however, is that the rising costs of construction coupled with an increase in demand to support goods movement in and out of one of the world’s largest port complexes warrants a greater federal investment throughout the region’s freight corridors that contribute so greatly to the national economy.

Inland Action continues to push important Inland Empire and interstate solutions that can be deployed quickly and across many agencies.  The following top Inland Empire infrastructure projects will have an immediate but also long-term impact on alleviating the on-going strain on the Southern California supply chain while enhancing the quality of life for our residents and businesses that continue to support that same system of systems.

  • US Route 395 – Phase II
  • Interstate 10 Corridor Project – Phase II
  • Tunnel to Ontario International Airport (ONT) Project

A short description of each priority project is provided below:

U.S. Route 395 Widening – Phase 2.  U.S. Route 395 Freight Corridor serves as a primary north/south highway in Southern California, providing access to and linking economic centers, recreational areas, and urban and rural regions.  Phase I of the three-phase approach to addressing the operational needs of the corridor was completed in 2021.  This phase was completed in 2021 and widened U.S.395 between S.R.18 (Palmdale Road) and Chamberlaine Way from two lanes to four lanes and installed turn lanes and signals at various intersections within the project limits.

Phase II of this critical safety enhancement to this inland freight corridor seeks to continue the improvements south from the junction of Interstate 15 to State Route 18 in Victorville.  Demand is fed from one of the heaviest used goods movement systems, as well as from the growing population of the Victor Valley in the High Desert of Southern California.  The project is currently in design with construction expected to commence in early 2025 presuming funding support for this critical highway in a growing portion of San Bernardino County.

I-10 Corridor Project – Phase II (Express Lanes).  As the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority wraps up its first installment of Southern California’s regional express lane network, a two-lane tolled facility between the Los Angeles County Line and Interstate 15, progress continues to look easterly to extend the benefit to the hundreds of thousands of daily commuters and goods movement providers that use the corridor daily.

Offering commuters the option for reliable trip times enroute to job centers west of San Bernardino County, the extension of the express lanes will enhance the overall operation of the general purpose lanes as well.  As the demand for effective freight movement expands from the continued growth of one of the largest port systems in the world, it is critical that congestion and freight bottlenecks are addressed in a timely manner.

Tunnel to Ontario International Airport (ONT) Project.  The San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) has advanced the transformational transit tunnel connection between the Rancho Cucamonga Metrolink Station and Ontario International Airport.  This project, an innovative approach of tunneling, will create a subsurface transit connection between the Cucamonga Metrolink Station and ONT terminals. Cucamonga Station is the closest to ONT on the San Bernardino Line and has consistently represented one of the higher numbers of boardings in the Metrolink system. The project sets the foundation for the privately funded Brightline West electrified high-speed rail connection between Las Vegas and Cucamonga Metrolink Station, as well as the zero emission West Valley Connector bus rapid transit service coming in 2025.

Environmental clearance is underway and will pave the way for identifying a preferred construction alternative, final design, and construction for service.  At this time, $147M in local funding has already been committed.

[1] Comparison of Medicare Beneficiary Characteristics Final Report, March 22, 2023. https://www.aha.org/system/files/media/file/2023/03/Comparison-of-Medicare-Beneficiary-Characteristics-Between-Hospital-Outpatient-Departments-and-Other-Ambulatory-Care-Settings.pdf

[2] AAMC Supports Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2023, March 29, 2023. https://www.aamc.org/news/press-releases/aamc-supports-resident-physician-shortage-reduction-act-2023#:~:text=According%20to%20AAMC%20data%2C%20the,increasing%20demand%20for%20physician%20services.