The Coachella Valley Association of Governments sent a letter to the city of Palm Desert saying that it should not proceed with the construction of their segment of the CV Link until CVAG has worked out issues with Desert Health Care District funding.
CV Link is a 50-mile segment of transportation corridor connecting many cities of the Coachella Valley for people to walk, skate, bike or drive low-speed electric vehicles. Currently, the CV Link is open in Ramon Road in Cathedral City and under construction on Vista Chino in Palm Springs. The next segment of the path was set to expand into Palm Desert in 2020 with at least five miles. However, a renewed discussion to pull a $10 million grant from the Desert Healthcare District is putting construction at risk.
Originally, DHCD officials supported the CV Link as it was believed it could make a difference for people’s health by encouraging an active lifestyle, as well as help with pedestrian safety and make it easier to get around if you’re not in a car. That belief has appeared to have changed, as at a recent meeting, DHCD officials publicly discussed relocating the funds of the CV Link grant.
Earlier this week, CVAG executive director Tom Kirk sent a letter to Palm Desert City Manager Lauri Aylania notifying the city to not proceed with the construction of the CV Link until CVAG has finalized a grant contract with DHCD.
The Palm Desert City Council unanimously approved the project during their Sept. 12, 2019 meeting, making it the next in line for a segment to be constructed. The city specifically requested their segment of the CV Link be financed with only local funds, making it “particularly susceptible to any funding disruptions or delays,” Kirk wrote.
Kirk expanded on this, writing that if an agreement with DCHD is not finalized quickly, they may have to cancel “part or all of the project with [Palm Desert] City limits,”
Kirk says the issue may also end up affected CVAG’s entire plans for the CV Link in 2020 as DCHD funding is tied to construction in other valley cities. CVAG planned to build 15-miles of the CV Link next year.
Other valley cities expected to be connected by the CV Link includes Coachella, La Quinta, and Indio.
Kirk says he remains hopeful CVAG can finalize a grant contract. The DCHD board has called for a study session on Nov. 7 to further discuss this issue.
News Channel 3 Anchor Jeff Stahl will go more in-depth on the financing issue in his special I-Team report, “The Big If.” The report airs this Thursday at 6 p.m. on News Channel 3.
Stay with News Channel 3 for any updates.