The South Coast Air Quality Management District has approved more than 4 and a half million dollars to pave dirt roads in the eastern Coachella Valley. Some of the dirt roads are public roadways, others are in Polanco parks and mobile home parks.
South Coast AQMD will issue a program announcement to solicit applications for road paving projects. The application will be open through November 2023. South Coast AQMD will conduct extensive outreach, and a selection panel with community input will be making recommendations for selection of paving projects. Construction is expected to take place in mid‑2024.
Funding comes from California taxpayers through the Community Air Protection AB 134 Fund, which is funding appropriated by the California State Legislature to address localized air pollution in communities across the state. The Assembly Bill 617 Eastern Coachella Valley Community Steering Committee prioritized dedicating the vast majority of this fund to road paving. State Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia has championed this funding from the Legislature.
Paving of private roadways within mobile home parks is unable to be done through traditional transportation funding sources. The lack of paved roads has meant that students and their parents have walked on dirt streets when walking to school or to the bus stop. Dust from unpaved roads has been a significant source of fine particulate pollution that gets kicked up into the air by vehicles traveling down the roads. Unpaved roads also become difficult to traverse during storms, isolating mobile home park communities at times.
The last major mobile home road paving effort came 10 years ago and was made possible through South Coast AQMD, the Riverside County Transportation Department and work by Perez as a member of the California State Assembly. A $4.1 million road paving project was funded through air quality mitigation funds that came as a result of AB 1318, legislation Perez authored that authorized the Sentinel Energy Project near Desert Hot Springs and created a $53 million mitigation fund for air quality projects. That unique funding source enabled the Riverside County Transportation Department to pave roads in over 30 mobile home parks in the communities of Mecca, Thermal and Oasis.
Asphalt Paving – Traffic Cone.
Photo from Alpha Media USA Portland OR