For Immediate Release
Re: Advocates Succeed to Redirect $24 Million in Active Transportation Funding to Disadvantaged Communities Across California
Sacramento CA — Wednesday, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) approved $158 million in grant funds for walking and bicycling projects, including $24.3 million that was diverted from a single high-profile project in the Coachella Valley to five very high need communities across the state. The late revision to the $24 million allocation was a result of careful scrutiny and advocacy by the California Bicycle Coalition (CalBike) and Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability.
The original CTC staff recommendation for the 2017 Active Transportation Program (ATP) grant cycle would have allocated almost one fifth of the funds available statewide to CV Link, a fifty-mile multi-use path connecting cities in the Coachella Valley. The path, intended for bicycles and pedestrians as well as “low-speed electric vehicles” such as golf carts, was missing data in its application and was inaccurately awarded too many points for benefiting disadvantaged communities. CalBike’s Policy Director Jeanie Ward-Waller discovered the error, and led a coalition of advocates to request a reevaluation by the CTC. As a result, the CTC corrected the CV Link application score and revised its recommendation to reallocate funding to five other deserving projects.
Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability works directly with residents in low-income communities in the Eastern Coachella Valley and San Joaquin Valley. Mariela Magaña, policy advocate with Leadership Counsel, met with mothers in the Eastern Coachella Valley community of North Shore on her way to the CTC hearing, and shared photos of the utter absence of pedestrian infrastructure in North Shore neighborhoods with the Commission.
“One of the many beacons of the ATP is its commitment to invest in severely disadvantaged communities, and in that spirit we want to see investment in communities like those in the Eastern Coachella Valley,” said Ms. Magaña. “Now that the state-level allocation is behind us, we’ll be ensuring that the regional ATP process in Riverside County also prioritizes investments in those severely disadvantaged communities – like North Shore – where moderate investments will have truly transformational impacts.”
“If the Active Transportation Program is to fulfill its promise in providing affordable and healthy transportation options for the people who need them the most, it’s critical that the evaluation of the projects is fair and accurate,” said Jeanie Ward-Waller of CalBike. “We commend the CTC for maintaining the integrity of the program by making the difficult decision to redirect funding to other deserving projects.”
The five new projects funded include the Central Avenue Complete Street Project in Alameda; pedestrian improvements along First Street in Santa Ana; the McGowan Parkway Bicycle Lane and Pedestrian Route Improvements in Yuba County; a regional Safe Bicycling and Wayfinding project connecting the cities of Compton and Carson; and Long Beach’s Citywide 8-80 Connections project. A total of $158,096,000 was awarded to 44 Statewide projects and 10 Small Urban and Rural projects, and approved yesterday by the CTC.