It looks like 2019 will be an interesting year for Measure C New Technology transportation projects throughout Fresno County.
The Fresno County Transportation Authority board in mid-December gave its final approval to the funding of five projects designed in some way to improve our ability to get from Point A to Point B.
Some will spare the air, as well.
According to FCTA documents, the five projects are:
1.) ADVANCED PROPULSION TRAINING – “This project will create an advanced propulsion system training program on the new Fresno City College West Satellite Campus located at Church and West (avenues). This new program will provide students with workforce training and educational pathways leading to high-demand, high-quality jobs.” Sponsors: City of Fresno and Fresno City College. New Technology funding: $1,995,500.
2.) DYNAMIC DOWNTOWN – “This project will fund the installation of a state-of-the-art Adaptive Signal Control Technology (ASCT) system in Downtown Fresno along Fresno Street, Van Ness Avenue and the Downtown Bus Rapid Transit corridors. The ASCT adaptive system will employ wireless vehicle detection technology for real-time monitoring and continuous synchronization.” Sponsor: City of Fresno’s Public Works Department. New Technology funding: $1,813,000.
3.) MICROTRANSIT IN FRESNO – Fresno Area Express “will conduct a microtransit demonstration project in two areas of the city that currently do not have public transit services. The microtransit proposed is a technology-enabled transit service that offers flexible routing and scheduling of minibus vehicles. This grant would fund the operating costs of the project.” Sponsor: City of Fresno’s FAX Division. New Technology funding: $500,948.
4.) RURAL ELECTRIC VEHICLES – The Fresno County Rural Transit Agency will purchase “15 Chevy Bolts (electric vehicles), 40 electric vehicle charging units and the smartphone app. The vehicles will be used to expand the existing FCRTA routes.” Sponsor: Fresno Country Rural Transit Agency. New Technology funding: $748,000.
5.) CLOVIS ELECTRIC BUS – “This project will fund the purchase of 2 electric shuttles and chargers for a 3-year pilot program to collect data to determine feasibility and operational requirements of these electric vehicles on paratransit and fixed-routes.” Sponsor: City of Clovis Transit Department. New Technology funding: $407,283.
Four of the projects include matching funds from the sponsors. The exception is the FAX Microtransit project.
I have written several times in recent months about Fresno City Hall’s efforts to optimize economic and development opportunities in the South Fresno industrial area. It’s not a stretch to say this area high potential includes the Reverse Triangle and assorted rural areas near Fowler and in the shadows of Fowler, Del Rey and Sanger.
Not too far beyond those areas you’ll find Caruthers, Selma, Kingsburg, Parlier Reedley and Orange Cove. Del Rey and Caruthers are unincorporated communities.
And I’ve written about how some Fresno City Hall officials are keen on locking in the jobs produced in this South Fresno industrial area for Fresno residents in general and disadvantaged/hard-to-employ residents of Southwest and Southeast Fresno in particular.
That’s why I find the Fresno County Rural Transportation Agency’s Electric Vehicle Utilization project so interesting.
The agency serves Fresno County residents living outside the spheres of influence of the county’s incorporated cities. The agency’s application for New Technology funding states in part: “This project includes the expansion of the existing rural transit service which will support the economic vitality of Fresno County by helping increase the access of people to job/educational opportunities throughout the County and will provide some employment opportunities that may go to residents of disadvantaged communities. Increased public transportation boosts local economies by providing both transit-related employment opportunities as well as helping particularly low-wage people reach places of employment and commerce that they might not otherwise be able to get to. The proposed expansion of the existing rural transit service will provide demand response rides from small rural disadvantaged communities into the Fresno/Clovis area for medical services and employment or educational opportunities.” (My emphasis.)
The thinking of some on the City Council is that Fresnans should get first dibs on jobs in the South Industrial area since some of the companies locating there will be getting city subsidies. I don’t see how you can deny a job in Fresno to someone of merit, no matter where she lives.
As long, of course, as she can get to the job. The FCRTA project aims to do that.
On top of that, the Fresno County Rural Transportation Agency’s Electric Vehicle Utilization project (a project that certainly seems capable of expansion if it succeeds and the demand is there) clearly aims to bring rural residents with money in their pockets to Fresno’s retailers.
Doesn’t seem fair – Fresno wants the money of village residents but not their labor.