FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- From record-breaking rain and snow over the winter to days on end of triple digits this summer U.S. Representative Jim Costa says the time is now to plan and act on climate change in Central California and our country.
Friday, he and other area leaders announced a one million dollar grant from the federal government to plan for a cleaner future in our area.
Public electric bikes, electric vehicle charging stations, and high-speed rail are all efforts leaders say are underway in Central California to create a cleaner future and reduce emissions, Central California leaders said it's just the beginning.
"It is incumbent upon us today and the next generation of Americans that we put the plan in place to handle the climate change," said US Rep. Jim Costa, Fresno.
Friday, the Fresno Council of Governments received a million-dollar federal grant to develop more strategies and projects.
The funding came from the Inflation Reduction Act and sets the area up to apply for a piece of a five billion dollar pot of money available next year for pollution-reducing projects.
"To have these resources to invest in communities that really need to have planning funds, so they can compete for the bigger funding," said Martha Guzman, EPA Regional Administrator. "And this next year, we're going to have 5 billion for climate reduction projects like the ones we're seeing in process here today, with the EV charging and the EV bikes."
By reducing air pollution, local leaders hope to increase the quality of life in Fresno.
"The San Joaquin Valley, as we know, has some of the nation's worst air quality, failing to meet federal health standards for both ozone as well as particulate pollution, and we know that to be true," said Mayor Jerry Dyer, Fresno. "So reducing emissions, reducing pollution, must be a top priority for our entire country."
Without this funding, mayors of smaller towns around the county say they'd miss out on other opportunities.
"The reality is that without the federal and state planning assistance, as this EPA climate pollution reduction grant, most of our cities do not have the available staff that have the expertise and resources to pursue the federal and state grant funding to address climate change that may be available," said Mayor Alma Beltran, Parlier.
Highlighting some of the work already happening in the community.. the press conference was held at the Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce's Bizwerx Business Innovation and Mobility Hub where they are installing a electric vehicle charging station.
The Black Chamber's ride-share program is also planning on providing 200 e-bikes, 40 shared electric vehicles, and 2 wheelchair-accessible vans to the Southwest Fresno community.