The Central Valley is playing a role in two new programs designed to push forward California’s climate goals.

Caltrans has installed 22 new electric vehicle charging stations along Highway 99 and Interstate 5 from Madera to the Grapevine. Chargers have been placed at nine locations approximately 40 miles apart on 99 and one at Kettleman City along I-5.

The new installations are part of California’s plan to phase out emission-causing vehicles by 2035. Caltrans Public Information Officer Jim Medina says that stations are green and easy to use.

“The chargers have dual plugs, so a Tesla can use them with an adapter, so they basically suit all electric vehicles,” Medina said.

The $4.5 million project is funded by Caltrans and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. Seventy percent of California’s transportation greenhouse gases come from passenger cars and light-duty trucks, according to the state’s Air Resources Board.

Many of the E.V. chargers are located in Caltrans district offices, maintenance yards, and rest areas. People can expect them to be operational around the clock.

“There’s no time limit. There’s a touch screen that is pretty easy to use,” Medina said. “[With chargers in] rest areas, you can make a stop, use the facilities, you can plug in, charge, take maybe a 20-minute break and then be on your way.”

The Central Valley is also contributing to another project focused on climate action, with volunteers from the area joining the nation’s first-ever statewide climate corps. The newly minted group will spend the next eight months advancing climate action across the Golden State.

California Climate Action Corps members will be working on urban tree planting, food sustainability, and wildfire resilience in some of the state’s most vulnerable communities. The group is also a part of the state’s California Volunteers program.

Gov. Gavin Newsom addressed the volunteers virtually, many of which hail from five regions, including Stockton, Fresno, San Jose, Redlands and Los Angeles.

“The smashmouth realities of climate change where we are increasingly heating up, choking up, burning up as a state,” Newsom said. “Our hots are getting hotter, and the drys, so much drier; the wets even wetter with these atmospheric rivers.”

Sixty-three fellows took on an oath to work in their communities for change.


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