Knight: Cemex mine, infrastructure, among 2018 priorities

Signal File Photo: Congressman Steve Knight speaks about his work in Washington during a public meeting. Dan Watson/For the Signal

Representative Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, said last week he’s had a positive year for legislation, but has already outlined several top priorities for the new year.

The two-term congressman said he helped restore then add government funding that has been used by Santa Clarita city officials for a variety of programs, including affordable and rehabilitative housing, domestic violence victim support facilities, summer youth programs and mental health counseling.

“We added $100 million to community development block grant funds,” he said.

Knight’s office said President Donald Trump’s initial budget stripped all community development block grant funds, but Knight’s amendment helped restore funding levels on par with last year’s $3 billion.

Rep. Knight worked with the House Appropriations Committee to ensure there would be funding in the initial base funding bill which totaled $2.9 billion. With the passage of Knight’s amendment yesterday, an additional $100 million will be granted to mirror previous year’s appropriations totaling $3 billion.

Knight said his Women in Aerospace Education Act, which is intended to spur more female participation in aerospace, science, engineering, math and technology programs, passed the House Dec. 18 and awaits a vote in the Senate. He also said he expects his Workplace Advancement Act, which would strengthen equal pay requirements, to pass the House soon.

When asked what his legislative disappointments were, Knight pointed to legislative efforts to block the proposed Cemex gravel mine in Soledad Canyon.

“We have tried four or five different ways,” he said. “We want to get this accomplished and get it done.”

Knight also said his St. Francis Dam bill, which would commemorate the 1928 disaster that flooded the Santa Clarita Valley by creating a national memorial at the site of the dam, passed the House in July but has not gained traction in the Senate. He said Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris might pick up the bill.

Knight said Cemex is his biggest priority in 2018, saying he continues to work with officials in Washington and Santa Clarita to have a permanent solution.

“We don’t let up on that,” he said.

Knight said he expects a large infrastructure bill to be discussed in 2018 and the Golden State Freeway would be a factor due to the amount of commuter traffic and commercial trucks on the road.

“The Interstate 5 corridor has got to be one of the biggest projects in the country,” he said, adding that he was aware of existing Caltrans and Metro projects on the freeway.

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