The U.S. House Appropriations Committee voted to include $5 million in the Interior and Environment Appropriations bill Tuesday for an early warning system in earthquake-prone areas, including Southern California.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) pushed for the funding that can be considered historical since Congress has never provided money specifically for such a system.
"`It's critical that the West Coast implement an earthquake early warning system that will give us a heads up before the big one hits, so we can save lives and protect infrastructure,'' Schiff told City News Service.
Congress actually provided funding for the first phase of a system that will cost $16.1 million annually to build, operate and maintain. The technology has proven to be sound in an initial system developed by Caltech, UC Berkeley and the University of Washington in conjunction with the U.S. Geological Survey, Schiff noted.
"Caltech and its partners are very grateful that the House of Representatives is sending a strong signal of support for implementation of an earthquake early warning for the West Coast," Caltech President Thomas F. Rosenbaum told the news service. "We look forward to moving ahead with this critical technology over the next few years."