California unveils $300 million grant program to clean up litter from state’s streets

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
A view of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway in Palm Springs, Calif., on Dec. 10, 2016. (Photo by Todd DeFeo/The DeFeo Groupe)

(The Center Square) – The state is making $300 million in grant funds available to local communities to clean up streets and beautify transit centers and parks, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday.

The grant funds will be available to cities, counties, transit agencies, tribal governments and other entities who submit project proposals of up to $5 million to address trash and debris in their communities. The grant funds are part of Newsom’s $1.1 billion multi-year Clean California initiative, which the governor says will remove 1.2 million cubic yards of trash from state highways each year.

“Clean California is an unprecedented investment into cleaning up our state and engaging directly in our communities to create public spaces that all Californians can take pride in,” Gov. Newsom said in a statement. “The funding is also an acknowledgement of what we all already know – it’s past time to take serious action to remove the unsightly litter on our streets and highways and in local communities. Clean California will create thousands of jobs and revitalize neighborhoods in every corner of our state.”

The governor expects the Clean California program to create 10,000 to 11,000 jobs over the next three years and said the program would significantly increase the amount of trash removed from California’s streets annually. Since July, Caltrans has collected 3,800 tons of trash, enough to fill 70 Olympic-sized swimming pools, according to a news release from the governor’s office.

Caltrans is anticipating receiving proposals from agencies across the state’s 58 counties and expects to award about 200 grants to create beautification and litter abatement projects. The grant application closes Feb. 1, 2022, and recipients will be announced March 1, 2022. Projects must be completed by June 30, 2024.

“Our communities and neighborhoods are weighed down by the buildup of trash and its negative impacts on our economy, environment, safety and public health,” Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin said in a statement. “These Clean California grants are designed to help communities clean up and beautify their hometowns and local streets.”

— Madison Hirneisen, The Center Square

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