Fresno to receive $70 million from state climate program

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Governor Jerry Brown announced Friday that Fresno will have at least 50 percent of this year's $140 million appropriation to the state's new Transformational Climate Communities Program. (KFSN)

Governor Jerry Brown announced Friday that Fresno will have at least 50 percent of this year's $140 million appropriation to the state's new Transformational Climate Communities Program. Fresno mayor Ashley Swearengin said the money will be used towards projects that will help clean the city's air and build the economy.

"We've been waiting to see what the Brown administration would propose," Swearengin said. "This puts us on a path to actually build out the things that we envisioned that we've developed in our communities."

Swearengin held up the California Regulatory Notice Register showing $70 million from the Transformational Climate Communities Program will go to Fresno.

The announcement was made a little over a week after Brown signed legislation -- on top of a Downtown Fresno parking garage -- that will put nearly $1 billion towards helping with the effects of climate change.

"The air is bad," Brown said. "A lot of kids have asthma, a lot of old folks have bronchitis and other kinds of respiratory diseases."

Swearengin is hoping to use a portion of the funds for transportation, downtown development and high-speed rail.

"We envision pedestrian improvements, transit, support for additional housing, development green space really just all of the ingredients needs to create a quality neighborhood and perpetuate revitalization in the urban core," Swearengin said.

To get half of the $140 million, the city went back and forth with Brown's administration and legislatures -- letting them know Fresno and specifically District 31 is the lowest income and polluted district in the state.

"As we presented that data over and over again to a member of legislature members of the cabinet members of the administration there eyes popped to see they knew Fresno was disadvantaged but not by almost a factor of two," Swearengin said.

The mayor said Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula, an emergency room doctor, was part of the process in getting one of the single largest investments from the state of California in Fresno's history. Arambula said this public investment will create jobs for the city of Fresno.

"It will put people back to work building affordable housing urban greening in ways we can now start moving around our city by walking by public transportation," he explained.

He also thinks it will better the quality of health for people here in the Central Valley.

"If we invest to increase our air quality we find ways to stay healthier," Arambula said.

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