U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) and U.S. Department of Transportation official Derek Kan discussed the Central Valley’s key transportation infrastructure needs with the Stanislaus County Council of Governments at a roundtable and bus tour on Tuesday in Modesto. Discussion included several projects Rep. Denham has played a role in from a federal level, including the Gateway Express Project, North County Corridor, 7th street bridge project, Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) and upgrades to SR 99. Following the roundtable and bus tour in Modesto, Rep. Denham and Mr. Kan visited the new ACE Regional Maintenance Facility in Stockton.
“I’m fighting to build critical Central Valley infrastructure,” said Rep. Denham. “I am working with local leaders and the U.S. Department of Transportation to bring solutions home to the Valley.”
Rep. Denham is a leading member of the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the chairman of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials. He was instrumental in securing the $9 million TIGER program grant for State Road 132, the Gateway Express Project in Modesto, which will increase capacity and improve road safety by allowing trucks to avoid the most populous areas of the city. Over 30 years, the project will provide $500 million in travel time savings, $100 million in operating costs, $200 million in safety improvements and $16 million in emissions reductions.
Rep. Denham has also been instrumental in streamlining the federal environmental review process in states like California that already have stringent review laws in place. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization, signed into law last week, includes Rep. Denham’s provision to reduce the burden of environmental reviews by improving an existing Denham law that established the Program for Eliminating Duplication of Environmental Reviews. Under the program, state laws that are more comprehensive than the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) may preempt federal law, allowing states like California to undertake only one review. This will reduce project timelines and costs, delivering much-needed infrastructure projects faster and more efficiently. The new provision passed in the FAA Reauthorization further improves the process, reducing the period of time when lawsuits can be filed against project review documents from 2 years to 150 days, which is the federal standard for highway projects. The result is less liability for project sponsors and a more attractive program for California.