The California Air Resources Board has awarded the San Joaquin Council of Governments (SJCOG) $7.4 million from its grant program called the Sustainable Transportation Equity Project (STEP). The grant aims to address community residents’ transportation needs, improve air quality, and increase residents’ access to key destinations (e.g., schools, grocery stores, workplaces, daycare, community centers, and health care facilities). STEP’s overarching purpose is to increase transportation equity in disadvantaged and low-income communities throughout California.
“Only a handful of communities in California were selected to receive these funds,” SJCOG Chair Sol Jobrack said. “SJCOG built a strong case for Stockton’s disadvantaged communities as among the most deserving for transportation investments.”
High auto owner costs, limited transit service, and high housing costs are known challenges for low-income and communities of color in the City of Stockton, such as the South Stockton areas. These people need more affordable, clean, safe, and steady transportation options so they can get to work, to school, and other places. Currently, limited travel options create a challenge for Stockton residents to reach and benefit from schools, jobs, health care and recreation. This $7 million will invest in projects that will bring electric bikes, electric cars, electric vehicle charging stations, mobile ticketing technology, and work force development to Stockton.
The clean transportation projects will be aided by a robust community engagement process. The process will center on serving the needs voiced by residents. Lastly, SJCOG will also use the funding for workforce development to deploy one of the first apprenticeship programs in application based technology for mobile devices in our region.
“Each dollar will be invested in Stockton’s disadvantaged communities. The return on investment is seeing residents do more than just live day to day but thrive and build a future for themselves and their family.” said Diane Nguyen, Deputy Director of San Joaquin Council of Governments.
SJCOG has teamed with the San Joaquin Regional Transit District, Third City Coalition, Institute for Local Governments, ITS-UC Davis, Sigala Inc., San Joaquin Valley Community Shared Mobility Inc. and Mobility Development Partners. This team will be working on a range of projects including collaborating with City of Stockton and community groups to help deliver the program of projects.
SJCOG is a regional planning agency responsible for transportation planning, habitat conservation planning, and a range of other responsibilities that include managing the Measure K transportation program as well as housing, air quality and airport land use planning. The operating budget for the agency is over $13 million. It programs and apportions out approximately $150 million in transportation investments annually.