As you develop the City's 2015 State and Federal legislative priorities package, the following issues are my top priorities. I have attached my 2014 list of priorities, as many of these items continue to be critical to the health of the City in coming years and the City absolutely must be active in Sacramento and Washington to ensure that they are addressed:
1. Border Infrastructure: Funding for border infrastructure is a priority for our bi-national region. According to SANDAG, border wait times have cost our region at least $7 billion in lost revenue and 62,000 jobs. Although we are finally seeing a reduction in wait times at the border, funding for the projects listed below and funding for more staff will help to alleviate the lengthy border wait times.
a. Full Federal Funding of Phase II of the San Ysidro Port of Entry Modernization, San Ysidro: Will complete funding for expanded vehicle and pedestrian border crossing. Border wait times have been shown to have a direct economic impact on our region. This project will add northbound capacity and make the crossing more efficient to reduce average wait times.
b. Federal Funding of Otay Mesa Port of Entry Modernization, Otay Mesa: Will complete funding for expanded vehicle, commercial vehicle, and pedestrian border crossing. Making the crossing more efficient for commercial vehicles adds to the economic growth of our region and makes the Otay Mesa area more competitive with other bi-national regions. Additionally, the region requires federal funding for local infrastructure impacted by international freight travel.
2. Energy Sustainability:
a. Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs are becoming a successful tool for property owners to install solar on their properties. However, the federal government still does not allow property owners with FHF A loans to get PACE financing. There have been several legislative attempts by Congress to address this issue, but no bill has been passed to address the problem. Governor Brown has temporarily addressed FHF A concerns by setting up a reserve fund for any potential defaults, which has allowed San Diego to move forward with a residential program. However, the City should be a leader in pushing our federal representatives to solve this problem on a more permanent basis.
b. Lobby the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to allow the direct purchase of energy by the City.
cfe Support the original intent of the Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) legislation in implementing the energy sustainability portion of our Climate Action Plan.
3. Potable Reuse Funding and Regulations: Updating our potable water system to provide a sustainable source of clean drinking water for years to come is a top priority. As the City moves forward to invest in a potable reuse system, it is critical that our representatives work closely with state and federal agencies to find funding and avoid any roadblocks to ensure that the work can be undertaken in an expeditious manner.
Additionally, it is vital that our legislative lobbyists provide metrics showing their work on each task included in the general work plan developed by the city and lobbying firm. I appreciate that work in this area has been accomplished in the most recent contract negotiations. However, more transparency and accountability is warranted, and I refer you to my 2014 Legislative Priorities Memorandum for specific deliverables and metrics.
I look forward to working together in pursuing the above legislative priorities in 2015.
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