Last month, officials announced that the City of Fontana would be receiving a $15 million federal grant for transportation projects.
To draw attention to that achievement, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, joined by other local leaders, paid a special visit to Fontana on Sept. 8.
âWe’re celebrating what $15 million in federal funding, matched with local and private sector commitments, can do to make people’s lives better off,â Buttigieg said during a press conference outside the Jessie Turner Center.
The grant, which came about because of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law which was approved by Congress and signed by President Biden last year, will help construct a 0.5-mile multi-use trail and sidewalk network in northwestern Fontana so that the 3,500 students at nearby Etiwanda High School in Rancho Cucamonga can safely walk or bike to school, officials said.
The grant will also support a rebuild of two primary roadway corridors near the Route 210 and Interstate 15 freeways with additional lane capacity, protected left turn lanes, roundabouts, bus turnouts, streetlights, more than four miles of bike lanes, and sidewalks.
Together, these improvements will make transportation safer, shorten commute times, expand options for biking, walking, and bus transit — all while reducing carbon emissions in the area, officials said.
The project is expected to create more than 7,500 jobs in the area and spur economic development.
Buttigieg said he was pleased with the creation of the economic opportunities, but he also emphasized the safety benefits that will be provided.
âThe fact that students have to compete with trucks along a highway in order to get to school shows you what the need is for us to make these kinds of investments,â he said.
Buttigieg said that local governments had to go through a âvery competitive processâ in order to get the money.
âThis community ought to take a lot of pride in having been one of the ones that could succeed and compete and win this funding,â he told Fontana Mayor Acquanetta Warren, who responded with a big smile.
Warren was one of many mayors from around the country who had advocated in favor of the passage of infrastructure legislation.
âThis town has had a thirst for this type of infrastructure for years,â Warren told Buttigieg, âand due to your leadership and our great president, we are seeing it happen right here in our great city. This is a very big deal.â
Buttigieg also applauded the efforts of the two members of Congress who represent Fontana, Rep. Norma Torres (D-35th District) and Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-31st District).
âPete and Norma would not leave me alone until I said I would come here, and I’m sure they won’t leave me alone until I come back,â Buttigieg said amid laughter.
Torres said it was âtruly wonderfulâ to have Buttigieg come to Fontana to highlight the local impact of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
âI was proud to advocate for this critical investment, which will create good-paying jobs, support the safety of our students, and improve air quality by reducing traffic,â Torres said.