Compiled by Kamala Kirk
West Basin Launches Free Rain Barrel Home Delivery Program
The West Basin Municipal Water District (West Basin) recently announced a new contactless delivery program to provide qualified District residents with free rain barrels. The 55-gallon eco-friendly rain barrels help residents collect rainwater to use for landscaping and reduce urban runoff into local storm drains.
The rain barrels are worth approximately $100 per unit and one rain barrel can save up to 620 gallons per year. 1,000 free rain barrels will be available for direct delivery to eligible homes this year.
West Basin is a wholesale water agency that serves nearly 1 million people in 17 cities and unincorporated areas in LA County. West Basin provides imported drinking water, recycled water, as well as conservation and education programs.
“Capturing rainwater with a free rain barrel from West Basin is a great way to water your garden, prevent runoff pollution from flowing into waterways, and save money,” said West Basin board president Harold C. Williams. “West Basin encourages residents to save water and use local resources whenever possible.”
West Basin’s rain barrel distribution program is part of a larger District0wide water efficiency program that launched in 1990. Since its inception, the program has helped the District to conserve more than 7 billion gallons of water through the distribution of more than 300,000 water-saving devices. Since 2014, West Basin has given away more than 8,000 free rain barrels to local residents.
For more information, visit westbasin.org/rainbarrels
Caltrans Calls for Public Input with Active Transportation Plan Survey
Caltrans has requested public input on its Active Transportation Plan Survey to identify locations for bicycle and pedestrian improvements on the state highway system.
The public survey, which runs until the first week of April, will allow residents to tell Caltrans where improvements could be made to facilitate bicycling and walking on or near the state highway system.
Survey responses will provide specific data about the type and location of needed improvements, allowing Caltrans to evaluate these locations when developing future projects. By participating in the localized map-based survey, the public can play a critical role in helping to shape the plans.
“Today, we must plan and build a transportation system that incorporates alternative means of transportation and that also considers equity,” said Caltrans District 7 director Tony Tavares. “Public input on our Active Transportation Plan is crucial to the development of safe pedestrian, bicycle and public transit facilities on our highways.”
Caltrans wants to align the state’s bicycle and pedestrian network with the needs of local communities, with an emphasis on improving social equity, reconnecting communities, and improving access for all modes of transportation, including people who walk and bicycle. Caltrans will be actively engaging with partners and community members in areas where historic transportation decisions may have created barriers to adequate transportation.
To take the public survey, visit survey.catplan.org
Congresswoman Maxine Waters Applauds American Rescue Plan Act
On March 11, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, issued the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the American Rescue Plan Act. The legislation was then sent to President Biden’s desk and has been signed into law.
“The historic American Rescue Plan was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and has reached President Biden’s desk and received his signature,” Waters said. “I am so pleased that help will soon be on the way for the millions of people struggling to stay afloat during this pandemic.
The American Rescue Plan is a $1.9 trillion package that I worked on with my colleagues, President Biden and Vice President Harris, that delivers for you, your family and our community by providing direct cash payments, increased unemployment benefits, emergency rental assistance to help with back rent, support for small businesses, and so much more. The historic nature of this legislation cannot be overstated.
To be specific, this bill provides a $1,400 direct payment, expands the child tax credit from $2,000 to $3,000 per child, and directs the Treasury Secretary to issue the credit as an advance monthly payment for some parents, and $130 billion to help safely reopen our nation’s schools. The bill also provides $300 of federal unemployment benefits per week until Sep. 6.
In addition to the $25 billion in emergency rental assistance I secured in the December package, as Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, I also worked extremely hard to secure $27.5 billion in additional assistance for renters and $10 billion in direct assistance to homeowners in this bill. This is going to help people remain housed until our nation emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, and provides support to all, including mom-and-pop landlords who have been suffering.
For all of us, this month marks a year to the date at which life drastically changed. We lost the ability to visit with many of our loved ones, social distancing measures became widespread, and many other normal parts of our lives came to a screeching halt. With this rescue package, we can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Not only will your pockets directly benefit from the bill, but there is also substantial funding to help our nation rebuild. The package includes $20 billion to enable more people to get vaccinated quickly, $350 billion for state and local governments to continue important services, $7.25 billion for small businesses and nonprofits to have increased access to the paycheck protection program, and $28.66 billion for a restaurant revitalization fund.
From the very beginning of this pandemic, despite Republican obstruction, Democrats have worked every single day to deliver this type of relief that assists you and helps to get our nation on a path to a speedy recovery. Along with President Biden and Vice President Harris, I made getting this type of assistance to you my number one priority, and I will continue to advocate on behalf of your needs as we move forward.
As always, let us remain vigilant and let us follow all of the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and defeat this pandemic. With President Biden having signed the bill, I look forward to relief reaching our communities soon.”