Fresno COG routes carbon reduction funds to local cities

Fresno Council of Governments disburses federal Carbon Reduction Program grants for alternative transportation, safety enhancements in Kingsburg, Sanger and Selma

(Rigo Moran)
Serena Bettis
Published February 19, 2024  • 
10:00 am

FRESNO COUNTY – The Fresno Council of Governments (COG) recently awarded more than $3.2 million in federal funding to eight projects in Fresno County cities that aim to reduce carbon emissions through active transportation and electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure. 

At its meeting on Jan. 25, the Fresno COG Policy Board approved the recommended awards, which included projects in Kingsburg, Sanger and Selma. The grant funding comes from the Carbon Reduction Program (CRP) that was created through the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and is administered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). 

The CRP is meant to “help states develop carbon reduction strategies and address the climate crisis facing our nation,” the FHWA said when the program was first announced in 2022. 

Projects eligible for funding are required to reduce carbon dioxide emissions generated from transportation whether by infrastructure development that encourages alternate modes of transportation, upgrades to existing infrastructure that improves energy efficiency or the implementation of strategies to reduce vehicle usage. 

The city of Kingsburg received grant awards for two projects: $145,600 for Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) at three crosswalks in the city and $264,000 for EV charging stations in the downtown area. 

RRFBs are crosswalk safety enhancements that flash when a pedestrian wants to use the crosswalk to ensure that vehicles see the pedestrian and stop. The city of Kingsburg proposed to replace the current in-pavement warning lights that crosswalks at three intersections have, including Sierra Street and Rafer Johnson Drive, 10th Avenue and Union Street and Kern Street and 18th Avenue. 

Details for the EV charging stations in the downtown area are still being worked out, as city staff determine exactly where to place the charging stations and what types of chargers and adapters would get the most use by residents, Kingsburg Public Works Director Daniel Galvez said.

“Right now, the EV infrastructure here is almost nonexistent, so having a place to plug in your vehicle and be in walking distance with the library and downtown businesses is going to be huge for us,” Galvez said.

The city of Sanger received an award of $167,200 for bike routes along three roads, including Academy Avenue, Jensen Avenue and Greenwood Avenue. 

According to a Sanger city staff report, the funding will allow the city to equip these primary roadways with Class III bike route pavement markings, including shared lane markings and arrows on the pavement and “bike route/share the road” signage. The staff report said this would help encourage bicycle traffic along the roads. 

The city of Selma received an award of $36,000 for bike routes along Rose Avenue and Mitchell Avenue. Similar to the Sanger project, the Selma project will add Class III bike route pavement markings to the two roads and include signage that complies with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).

Through the BIL, $6.4 billion was allocated to states over a five-year period; California received the second-highest amount at more than $555 million. Funds received by the state are then distributed to regional entities, with 65% going to local CRP projects and 35% being retained for statewide CRP projects.

According to Fresno COG’s CRP guidelines, the COG will use up to 95% of the funding it receives from the state for the competitive grant program; the rest will be used for projects on the COG’s contingency list, post-programming adjustments to awarded projects or be saved for future programming cycles. 

Other projects awarded CRP funds include $148,815 to Fresno County for intersection improvements at Central Avenue and Chestnut Avenue, $552,996 to Coalinga for traffic signal updates, $800,000 to the city of Fresno for a traffic signal synchronization project and $1.15 million to the city of Fresno for the purchase of a hydrogen fuel cell electric bus. 

Clovis and Reedley also submitted applications for the CRP grant, but the Fresno COG Scoring Committee declined to score the applications because both projects received funding through the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement Program.

Serena Bettis
General Assignment Reporter