Pete Aguilar, just elected to represent California’s 31st congressional district. (Photo By Meredith Dake/CQ Roll Call)
Here are more excerpts from our conversation with Pete Aguilar, whom voters just elected in California’s 31st congressional district.
The California high-speed rail line from Los Angeles to San Francisco has been a high-profile issue here in D.C.
Rep. Jeff Denham, chairman of the railroads subcommittee, and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy from California are both opposed to federal funding of it. Where do you stand on that?
I would have liked if they had started in more populated areas as they began the project…. When we have lines like the San Bernardino County line that has 12,000 people in it every day, I would have liked to have seen the population centers [included in the plan for high-speed rail]… That was a flaw that I saw in the project.
Would that line run anywhere near you?
It would not. Eventually in future segments, it may come into the city of Ontario.
Is Amazon building a big facility in your district?
They have three. They’ve opened two in the city of San Bernardino, these are distribution centers. And they have just open a third two months ago in the city of Redlands….
The Inland Empire is growing and expanding and I think that the fact that we were able to have Amazon come to our region shows that there is continued growth opportunity.
These are good paying jobs that have health care benefits and education reimbursement on Day One. Those are things that the Inland Empire needs and that’s why we’re so excited to have them.
Could you tell me about Ontario Airport?
Ontario Airport is a part of the Los Angeles World Airports; they own Burbank, Ontario, and LAX.
Many local governments have passed resolutions in support of local control, ensuring some local stakeholders are part of that process.
We have seen rapid declines of people traveling through Ontario airport and we want to make sure that that airport returns to what it should be, which means more non-stops, more activity: commuters, travelers, business people all getting where they need to be.
Ideally you’d like your constituents to be able to fly non-stop from Ontario to Chicago or from Ontario to New York?
Absolutely. We’d love expanded opportunity. Right now LA controls the gate fees and they control many of the things that would impede airline operators to come to the region. So we need to make sure there are local voices who con to advocate for improvements.