Four local initiatives have been granted federal funding by House Appropriations subcommittees, including two Livermore-based projects, an Iron Horse Regional Trail pedestrian bridge in San Ramon and the mental health urgent care services pilot program collaboration between Dublin, Livermore, Pleasanton and Axis Community Health.
The projects were among nine community project funding requests made by U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Livermore) for initiatives in his East Bay district that received approval -- to the tune of $11,525,000 overall. His 10th recommended project, Valley Link, was not awarded funding in this round of grants.
The mental health urgent care services pilot program was granted $450,000 to establish a Mental Health Urgent Care Center, providing Tri-Valley residents with a different option other than calling law enforcement to address a mental health crisis.
The pilot project aims to address substantial gaps in access to mental health by offering an urgent care-like option to provide assessment and timely connection to services that are less costly than an emergency room.
There is $2 million going toward the Crow Canyon Road-Iron Horse Trail bicycle/pedestrian overcrossing project, which will be used to finalize the blueprint for construction of a pedestrian bridge at a mid-block crossing over Crow Canyon to improve traffic safety through the area.
The new public Veterans Park planned for downtown Livermore in the center of the recently approved Eden Housing affordable development was granted $1 million for design, engineering, entitlements and construction.
The Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District will receive $375,000 to develop a Latinx support and access community engagement program. The initiative would aim to improve parent participation and student performance in mathematics and English language arts for Latinx families, including curriculum development, teacher training and acquisition of computers.
The House Appropriations subcommittees approval of the funding for these projects was a step forward in the process and the requests will next have to make their way through the Senate.
Livermore Mayor Bob Woerner expressed gratitude for Swalwell's efforts in closing in on the funding.
"The three Livermore-related projects will help create a stronger and healthier community and greatly benefit many of our most vulnerable residents," Woerner said.
"In particular, Veterans Park will create a welcoming space for our community, adding to the vibrancy of our downtown," Woerner added. "The collaboration between Livermore, Dublin, Pleasanton and Axis Community Health will address mental health in an innovative way. Our school district's Latinx support and access program will provide the necessary support to the Latinx families in our city."
While five of the granted requests were for projects in other parts of the 15th Congressional District, $5 million for the Valley Link commuter light rail system was the only request that wasn't at least partially granted, according to Swalwell's office.
Although Valley Link was denied funding this round, officials announced last month that the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has included $20 million for Valley Link in the upcoming transportation spending bill.
"Connecting BART to ACE, in order to relieve traffic congestion on Interstate 580, has been a priority ever since I went to Congress. I'm glad I, and other members of Congress, have had the opportunity this year to make specific funding requests for priorities such as this," Swalwell said.
Swalwell's team submitted requests for federal funding for Valley Link both through community project funding and through highway and transit member-designated projects in hopes of increasing the project's chances of receiving funding, and they were pleased that the larger, $20 million request was granted, according to a representative from Swalwell's office.
Michael Tree, executive director of the Tri-Valley/San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority, said that Valley Link is currently in a "good position" despite not receiving the additional community project funding.
Swalwell's other funding requests approved by House Appropriations subcommittees were:
* $3.5 million for the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) project to update the Upper San Leandro Drinking Water Treatment Plant.
* $1.7 million for the Alameda County Transportation Commission's Safe Routes to Schools mini-grant program. The commission is partnering with local jurisdictions by giving grants to support their efforts to implement bicycle and pedestrian safety and access improvements around school sites across Alameda County.
* $1.5 million for Hayward's Stack Center. This youth and family center at Tennyson and Ruus roads will provide wraparound services to address inequities in the South Hayward community, including health, education, recreational and career training services.
* $750,000 for Covenant House to complete construction of a 30-bed emergency housing facility for youth aged 18 to 24 near the Hayward Unified School District's Student Information and Assessment Center on Tyrrell Avenue.
* $250,000 for a critical upgrade to Fremont's emergency dispatch system, so that emergency responses are timely and coordinated among Fremont and Union City first responder jurisdictions.