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California's Rural Communities Want Transit, Too

Parts of California’s rural, working-class Central Valley see virtually no transportation investment, leaving many residents stranded in the heat.
July 22, 2016, 8am PDT | Elana Eden
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Thomas Galvez

KCET and local youth media group Coachella Unincorporated explore conditions in a rural desert community in Southern California, where some areas have only one, infrequent bus route.

Although local transportation agencies cite low ridership as a driver of scant service, community groups note that ridership has risen on occasions when service has increased.

Community and faith-based groups advocating for transportation equity in the area describe to reporters the conditions residents struggle through to get around—walking and waiting for hours in the desert heat.

There is some state interest in investing in rural disadvantaged communities. But with constrained transportation funding, when climate goals encourage transit projects in dense urban areas, that interest can face an uphill battle.

Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella), who is pushing to expand transit service and create first-mile connections in the Coachella Valley, is quoted as saying:

"Some people had concerns about the bill because [they believed] we are doing too much for disadvantaged communities… For some people, that was a concern because it was taking away from the traditional funding course.”

Full Story:
Published on Tuesday, July 12, 2016 in KCET Departures
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