By Kathy Chouteau
Two Richmond recipients have been awarded $1 million each by the new Clean Mobility Options Voucher Pilot Program (CMO) to develop and launch zero-emission mobility projects aimed at overcoming transportation challenges faced by residents, according to program officials. The City of Richmond and RCF Connects (formerly the Richmond Community Foundation) join 21 California nonprofits, local governments, transit agencies, and Native American tribal governments in under-resourced communities in receiving a total of $20 million for mobility projects from CMO.
The City of Richmond received $1 million to launch “Richmond on Demand,” the city’s first on-demand shuttle program with Via, said CMO. Three shared, plug-in hybrid electric shuttles will offer a sustainable, demand-responsive microtransit service to cover transportation gaps and provide connectivity between services and locations in underserved communities, the program added. The affordable transportation option for residents and visitors is expected to reduce congestion and improve overall public health. Richmond’s Transportation Department will sponsor a community contest to name the new shuttle service.
“Richmond residents suffer from some of the most polluted air in the state with limited walkable, bikeable or other clean, safe options for travel,” said City of Richmond Transportation Services Project Manager Denée Evans. She added that the funds “will help breathe new life into the community” by cleaning up the air and by providing “a new, innovative, affordable and accessible transportation option for residents and visitors.”
For its part, RCF Connects’ $1 million grant, received with award partner Miocar, Mobility Development Operations, will be applied toward expanding the “Richmond Community Carshare,” an affordable, round-trip carsharing service in the city, per CMO. This will include the addition of 14 battery-electric vehicles at as many as eight locations to provide clean, affordable transportation options to residents, especially those living in areas of Richmond that are designated as disadvantaged communities.
Funding for CMO is derived from California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that program officials say applies billions of cap-and-trade dollars toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health.
California Air Resources Board Executive Officer Richard W. Corey said that these funds “directly support disadvantaged communities and communities of color from across the state, creating safe, clean, affordable and accessible options for getting residents where they need to go.” He added that the CMO project “was designed to ensure that each project is developed both by and for that community to address its own unique transportation issues.”
According to CMO, for many awardees this will be a first-of-its-kind mobility project to be funded and launched in their community. In addition to Richmond, projects were awarded statewide in communities including: Redding; Sacramento; Oakland; Stockton; Fresno; Huron; Los Angeles; Rialto; Anza; Riverside; Chula Vista; National City in San Diego; Coachella; Calexico and South El Monte. See the full list of awardees here.
For more info about CMO, click here.