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Three San Diego County projects were among 24 throughout the state to receive grants for community transportation needs assessments, which are intended to help nonprofits, local governments, transit agencies and Native American tribes identify and address transportation issues in their communities.

The projects include a $50,000 grant to the Native American Environmental Protection Coalition for an assessment on the Manzanita Reservation, a $49,515 grant to the county for assessments on two affordable housing properties in Spring Valley and a $18,750 grant to the nonprofit Urban Collaborative Project for assessments in the Chollas View and Ocean View neighborhoods of San Diego.

The grants come from the Clean Mobility Options Voucher Pilot Program, with $1 million awarded to eligible disadvantaged communities throughout the state and an additional $150,000 set aside specifically for Native American tribes.

“Across California, and especially in low-income communities and communities of color, people spend too much time and money getting from home to work, or just to do daily errands,” said Steve Cliff, deputy executive officer of the California Air Resources Board. “The Clean Mobility Options Program elevates the role communities play, and allows them to lead the way in addressing their particular transportation issues — and ultimately finding solutions that work for them.”

CMO is a statewide initiative that provides funding for zero-emission shared mobility options to underserved communities. It is funded by California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that uses cap-and-trade funding in attempts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Recipients submitted applications for projects in collaboration with residents. The assessments include analysis and engagement of the community through tools like surveys and virtual community events.

According to a statement from the CMO, clean mobility options for underserved communities will save residents money and improve public health. The poorest 20% of Americans spend more than 40% of their income on transportation, while those who make more than $70,000 per year only spend 13%, the agency said.

Additionally, the CMO found 90% of Californians experience unhealthy air, but unequal exposure leads to drastically varied life expectancies that can swing by as much as 20 years between different ZIP Codes. People of color disproportionately breathe toxic pollution, contributing to higher rates of asthma, cancer, and other illnesses than their white counterparts, the group said.

The program also supports shared clean mobility projects through Mobility Project Vouchers worth up to $1 million each. Of the total $21 million available for Clean Mobility Projects and Community Transportation Needs Assessments, up to $2.15 million is set aside specifically for tribes.

Mobility Project Vouchers are intended to fund bikesharing and scooter- sharing, zero-emission carsharing, carpooling and vanpooling, transit services and ride-on-demand services.

–City News Service

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