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Local lawmakers claim hundreds of millions for military, local projects

A Coaster train heads southbound along cliffs in Del Mar where tracks are less a few feet from crumbling edges.
A Coaster train heads southbound along the cliffs in Del Mar where the tracks are less than a few feet from crumbling edges.
(John Gibbins/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

San Diego’s Congressional delegation and other lawmakers secured $107 million for local community projects and $127 million for local military and veteran projects as part of the massive federal spending bill federal lawmakers passed last week, officials announced.

The $1.5 trillion appropriations bill, which authorizes federal spending through October, averts a shutdown and directs $13.6 billion in aid to Ukraine and $15.6 billion to the national pandemic response. The bill passed the House Wednesday, and President Joe Biden is expected to sign it this week.

Some of its biggest San Diego-area investments are military, such as the $63.6 million for an aircraft maintenance hangar at Naval Base Coronado for the new CMV-22B Osprey aircraft, $21.7 million for an air traffic control operations support facility there, and $12 million for a naval special warfare group’s support facility.

Camp Pendleton will receive $20 million for a new communications center and $13.6 million for a veterinary treatment center to treat military service dogs and pets of the military community.

Among the local community projects it will fund are traffic improvements, coastline stabilization, a homeless shelter and other upgrades.

“Our Congressional delegation fought for San Diego’s fair share of federal funding, and our communities are the winners,” said Nathan Fletcher, chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, in a statement. “Working families will now have more access to childcare, our transportation systems will be enhanced and significant infrastructure needs will be addressed.”

In North County, $10 million will go to the San Diego Association of Governments to stabilize the COASTER commuter rail corridor along the Del Mar bluffs, said Rep. Mike Levin, D-San Juan Capistrano. The money will be used to shore up the bluffs where the rail line runs to avoid costly shutdowns of the train route, he said, but additional funding will be needed to move the tracks inland in the future.

“Year in and year out we have parts of the rail corridor that need help,” Levin said. “My hope is that we will have a longer term fix ... Longer term, we’re trying to help them with the funding necessary to complete the environmental review to remove part of the tracks off the coast.”

The city of Carlsbad will receive $5 million through Levin’s efforts to install street lighting and add six traffic circles throughout its Barrio neighborhood near downtown Carlsbad, which will improve nighttime safety and visibility and calm traffic in the area.

“Safer streets, cleaner oceans and better air quality — all possible when our region works together, locally and in Washington,” said Carlsbad Mayor Matt Hall in a statement.

Another $2.25 million will cover a 50-bed homeless shelter at a former high school in Oceanside. The shelter will enable participants to stay onsite during the day to receive assistance with permanent housing, income and healthcare.

North County Transit District will receive $1.7 million for a hydrogen fueling station in Oceanside to serve up to 50 fuel cell electric buses, in an effort to boost ridership and cut air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Other funding targeted at North County will help fund arts education for the Oceanside Museum of Art, provide a mobile LIDAR system for Scripps Institution of Oceanography to study bluff erosion of the San Diego Coast, and install car cameras for the Oceanside Police Department, Levin said.

Rep. Scott Peters office announced awards of $1 million to the San Diego Association of Government’s Coaster commuter rail study to explore plans to move the tracks off the Del Mar Bluffs. Another $1 million each will go to upgrade Poway’s Clearwell water storage reservoir and secure Harbor Island’s shoreline.

Peters also obtained funding to help San Diego Community College District improve its online certificates and credentials, strengthen UC San Diego’s telehealth program, and support Metropolitan Transit System in converting its bus fleet to zero emission vehicles.

Rep. Juan Vargas brought in a suite of road improvements including $3.3 million for bikeway connections to the 24th Street Trolley Station and $2.15 million for the Barrio Logan Section of the Bayshore Bikeway to connect downtown San Diego to the convention center. Vargas also secured $2 million for the Palomar Street Light Rail Grade Separation project in Chula Vista to improve traffic circulation, safety and ridership at the station.

Rep. Sara Jacobs gained funding for arts and education improvements, with $1 million each to expand child care in the San Diego area and to upgrade the City Heights Multimedia IDEA Lab and Performance Annex. She also obtained funding for the Linda Vista Branch Library’s outdoor early learning patio and for disability access upgrades to the Balboa Park Starlight Bowl.

Andrew Dyer contributed to this report.


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