5 Inland Empire projects paid for by California’s $262.6 billion budget

So far, California’s finances are immune to the coronavirus pandemic.

While COVID-19 has killed more than 63,000 Californians and wrecked the lives of countless others, the $262.6 billion budget signed into law late last month uses a record surplus to give rebates of up to $1,100 to 15 million households, send every 4-year-old to kindergarten and give health insurance to low-income undocumented immigrants 50 and older, among other priorities.

The budget also funds projects specific to the Inland Empire. Here’s a look at five of them.

UC Riverside

The budget spends $15 million on the first phase of a new clean technology center that will link UC Riverside’s engineering college with the California Air Resources Board’s Southern California headquarters that’s being built in Riverside. 

“This will help California meet its clean energy and environmental targets while transforming the future of our region by creating high-skill, high-wage jobs in the clean energy and environmental sectors,” read a news release from state Sen. Richard Roth, D-Riverside.

Also in the budget is $25 million for “expanded enrollment and operational costs” at UCR’s medical school, according to the office of Assemblywoman Sabrina Cervantes, D-Riverside. The school, which is in a region with a chronic shortage of physicians, welcomed its first class of students in the fall of 2013.

San Bernardino Valley College

The budget includes $37 million from state construction bonds approved by voters in 2016 that will help build a new workforce training center at San Bernardino Valley College in San Bernardino.

The 99,500-square-foot building “will replace one of the most aged and maintenance-intensive facilities on the campus with space that simulates real-world working environments,” read a release from the office of Assembly Majority Leader Eloise Gómez Reyes, D-Colton.

Crafton Hills College

The construction bond money also will pay for a new performing arts center at Crafton Hills College in Yucaipa.

The existing center “has numerous structural safety issues” and the new building will be more functional and flexible, according to Reyes’ office.

Colton Fire Department

The budget includes $1.5 million to buy a 100-foot ladder truck for Colton firefighters.

The truck will let firefighters “more effectively reach lengths needed to fight large warehouse and other fires,” read a release from Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino.

Kids World Pomona

Another $1.1 million will go to the Kids World Pomona project.

“Modeled after successful projects in Santa Barbara & Seattle, Kids World Pomona will be a large, inclusive, all-abilities interactive playground with play features attracting youth and families from Pomona and the region,” Leyva’s release read.

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