CV Link expected to provide environmental, health, and economic benefits

PALM DESERT –The Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG) has taken its biggest steps forward in the development of CV Link, clearing the way for the construction of nearly 20 miles in 2020, according to a news release.

In a joint meeting of the Executive and Transportation Committees, CVAG approved a number of construction-related contracts. This included authorizing the Executive Director to negotiate construction contracts worth $52.733 million with Ames Construction Inc., who was the lowest qualified bidder for the 2020 construction plans. Contracts were also authorized for Alta Planning & Design and Terra Nova Planning and Research.

“This has been a long time coming and construction of this magnitude frankly couldn’t come at a better time,” CVAG Executive Director Tom Kirk said in a prepared statement. “The COVID-19 crisis has really shown us how vital it is for a community to have access to safe routes for walking, biking or riding in low-speed neighborhood electric vehicles. CV Link, and active transportation projects like it are wide enough to allow for social distancing while encouraging people stay active and stay healthy.”

Since 2011, CVAG has planned for the construction of CV Link. The project is a major innovation in alternative transportation that will provide a safe route to walk, run, bike or use low-speed electric vehicles, such as golf carts. CV Link is expected to provide significant environmental, health, and economic benefits to generations of current and future residents and visitors.

CV Link will ultimately span more than 40 miles across the Coachella Valley. To date, 3.5 miles of the project have been built in the cities of Cathedral City and Palm Springs. In addition, under the terms of a cooperative agreement approved in September 2019, the City of Palm Desert is currently leading the construction of an additional 3.5 miles of CV Link in city limits.

The contract approved with Ames Construction will include about 13.5 miles in the cities of Palm Springs, Palm Desert, La Quinta, Indio and Coachella as well as unincorporated Riverside County. The authorization allows the Executive Director to add almost 3.5 additional miles as right-of-way is finalized.

This stage of construction includes bridges and undercrossings, which are a key safety feature that will allow the CV Link users to go under major roadways in order to avoid traditional vehicular traffic. These bridges and undercrossings are generally more expensive to build than straight stretches of CV Link that get built on the top of the stormwater levee.

To fund this construction, CVAG will be relying on the $29.447 million funding from the Active Transportation Program (ATP) and State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), which were green lighted by the California Transportation Commission (CTC) in January. Additional funding will be used from CV Link’s other funding sources, including the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the Desert Healthcare District/ Foundation.

The recommended contract will provide an immediate economic boost and create much needed jobs to the Coachella Valley and surrounding region. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that every dollar spent on infrastructure produced an economic benefit of up to $2.20, and the U.S. Council of Economic Advisers has calculated that $1 billion of transportation infrastructure investment supports 13,000 jobs for a year. Based on these calculations, the $52.7 million investment into will produce an economic benefit of over $116 million, and support more than 685 jobs for a year.

“CV Link fulfils a decade-long vision to connect the Coachella Valley with a hiking and biking path,” Kirk said. “This will undoubtedly be our single largest phase of construction, and we couldn’t have gotten to this point without the support of so many stakeholders here and across the state.”

Spearheaded by CVAG, CV Link is expected to provide significant environmental, health, and economic benefits to generations of current and future residents and visitors. The pathway largely follows the Whitewater River Channel, and future extensions will connect Desert Hot Springs, the Salton Sea and other destinations throughout the desert.

For more on CV Link, click here.