Ruiz Secures $10 Million for Local Clean Water, Health, and Infrastructure Projects

July 14, 2021
Press Release
Ten projects will bring critical resources to San Jacinto, Blythe, and the Coachella Valley

Washington, D.C. – This week, Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. (CA-36) announced that he had secured $10 million for ten Community Projects in four Fiscal Year 2022 Appropriations bills that will expand access to health care, bring clean water to the Eastern Coachella Valley, and fund multiple local infrastructure projects. Ruiz also secured a New Start for an Army Corps of Engineers Project at the Salton Sea that will bring significant federal resources to addressing the receding shoreline. 

“I am thrilled to announce that I have secured $10 million in federal funding that will help bring new health care resources to Blythe, economic development to San Jacinto, infrastructure improvements to the Pass Area, and clean drinking water access to the Eastern Coachella Valley,” said Dr. Ruiz. “In addition, we have secured funding for the first step in an Army Corps of Engineers project at the Salton Sea, which will strengthen our all-hands-on-deck approach to this environmental and public health crisis. Once passed, this funding will bring incredible value to our communities and make a positive difference in the lives of my constituents.”  

“The State of California testified to Congress last year that addressing the challenges at the Salton Sea requires significant federal investment,” said G. Patrick O’Dowd, Executive Director of the Salton Sea Authority. “As extreme drought now grips the Colorado River Basin, the need for federal funding has only grown more urgent. Working with our Congressional delegation to secure this new Army Corps funding, we are firmly on the path to making the federal government a stronger partner at the Salton Sea.”  

“Loma Linda University Medical Center is pleased our request with Dr. Ruiz to establish a Federally Qualified Health Center in Rancho Mirage has been selected by the House Appropriations Committee,” said Dr. Richard Hart, President of Loma Linda University Health. “This new clinic will serve the expanding Medicaid (MediCal) population in this area, providing much needed clinical and preventive care. In partnership with the Social Action Community Health System (SACHS), Loma Linda is committed to serving this large population demographic with quality health care services.” 

“We are excited to see that our water reservoir project was included by the Appropriations Committee for funding. Constructing this water reservoir will secure the continued supply of reliable, clean, and safe drinking water and fire flow protection for our residents,” said Mayor Dale Reynolds of the City of Blythe. “The City appreciates Congressman Ruiz and the House Appropriations Committee for supporting this much needed water infrastructure project for the City of Blythe.” 

“On behalf of the Banning City Council, I would like to express our appreciation to Congressman Ruiz for recognizing the local need for our Wastewater Treatment and Groundwater Protection Project,” said Banning Mayor Colleen Wallace. “We are thankful for his efforts in securing funding in the FY22 House Interior Appropriations bill. This project, which is currently in the early stages of implementation, will assist the City’s Public Works Department in completing an infrastructure project vital to the health and safety of our community. The construction of new equalization chambers will ensure that our infrastructure can meet additional demands on the system for years to come.”

“Improvements to Pennsylvania Avenue are vital to the continued success of one of the area’s most significant commercial centers and job creators. It is also a vital facility whose upgrades will help improve traffic circulation for area residents,” said Beaumont Mayor Mike Lara. “This funding supplements local dollars for this critical project and was made possible through the sponsorship of Congressman Ruiz, who has worked tirelessly to bring much needed resources to our community. This financial support will allow us to reallocate our local dollars to other much needed projects.”

“The Palo Verde Hospital would like to express their sincere gratitude to Congressman Ruiz for the $350,000 award and support for the Palo Verde Hospital’s Integrated Community Health Program,” said Liz Manjarrez, Outreach Project Administrator with Palo Verde Hospital. “The award will fund a mobile unit, tele-health equipment and components to address the lack of services in low-income families that live in Blythe’s remote and isolated areas. The mobile clinic is an essential component that will provide much needed clinical services in Blythe, Ripley, Mesa Verde, and Cibola. Therefore, it will close the health care gap by providing remote whole person care such as, diabetes education, managed care in chronic illness, as well as primary and mental health services.” 

"The living conditions for some in the Eastern Coachella Valley are unacceptable and we must address these needs for our community," said Board Vice President Cástulo R. Estrada. "This project will help ensure a reliable water supply to existing disadvantaged communities in the East Valley and also help spur the development of quality affordable housing. CVWD is committed to these efforts and we will continue to aggressively seeking funding to address the infrastructure needs in the area. We thank Congressman Ruiz for his championship of this project to help those we serve”

“The Coachella Valley Housing Coalition, a 39 year old nonprofit community development corporation, is pleased to learn of the conditional approval of our Community Project grant application through Congressman Dr. Raul Ruiz’s recommendation to the Appropriations Committee,” said Pedro Rodriguez, Interim Executive Director of the Coachella Valley Housing Coalition. “We look forward to a favorable vote in the House and Senate which will make $500,000 available to the agency for needed renovations to its headquarters building in Indio. The renovations will allow the agency to remain in Indio and continue its successful mission of improving the living conditions of low-income individuals and families by construction and operating affordable housing infused with community services programs and other opportunities that enrich, build and grow their lives. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. and his team for his support of our organization and the renovation grant application.” 

“We are very pleased by the House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Committee’s recommendation to provide $1-million to assist with the Soboba Crossroads Shopping Center project in the City of San Jacinto,” said Isaiah Vivanco, chairman of the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians.  “We greatly appreciate the key support of Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. for this important project, which will provide 100 new jobs, new shopping and dining opportunities and expanded local services for our Tribe and the community.”

BACKGROUND 

For the FY22 Appropriations cycle, Chair Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) announced that each Member of Congress could submit up to ten local community projects for potential funding. All ten of Ruiz’s submitted projects were funded by the Committee.  

The House is expected the vote on the legislation in the coming weeks.  

The following 10 projects were included in the FY22 Appropriations Bills: 

FY22 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies 

City of Banning 

  • $1.25 million to fund a wastewater treatment facility equalization basin at the current facility to protect the environment from overflows caused by large surges in demand primarily driven by extreme weather. Banning relies on water pumped from underground aquifers, so this project will protect the groundwater from being contaminated during overflows where wastewater seeps into the ground.  

Coachella Valley Water District 

  • $2.7 million for the Avenue 66 Clean Water Project which will fund the construction of a new water transmission line that will bring water access to a disadvantaged area that currently relies on unreliable independent water systems, mostly wells that need to remove naturally occurring arsenic from the water. This transmission system will eventually allow for the consolidation of thirteen rural community water systems that primarily serve mobile home parks that provide housing for farmworkers in the Eastern Coachella Valley.  

FY22 Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development, and Related Agencies 

City of Beaumont 

  • $1.5 million to fund the expansion and widening of Pennsylvania Avenue between 1st Street and 6th Street from its current two lanes to four lanes. The widening of Pennsylvania Avenue will provide increased mobility and access to residents of Beaumont and Banning, and employees of businesses in the area. The project will also ease traffic congestion on I-10 as vehicles will be able to enter and exit the freeway more efficiently. 

City of Blythe 

  • $500,000 to fund the replacement of an existing 500,000-gallon water reservoir servicing the Palo Verde College and surrounding neighborhood with a new, bolted steel water tank of similar capacity. This water tank is the sole source of fire protection and safe, clean, and reliable drinking water for the College and nearby neighborhoods. The existing tank has been leaking for over a year and is in danger of failure, which would leave the community without water.  

Coachella Valley Housing Coalition 

  • $500,000 to fund the rehabilitation and renovation of the Coachella Valley Housing Coalition’s Community Development and Service Center. This 17,000 square foot facility serves the low-income residents of the Coachella Valley by providing services including credit counseling; homebuyer education; self-help homeownership opportunities; after-school programs and scholarships for low-income youth; community gardens; and English and citizenship classes. The renovation will include new staircases, exterior shade structures, improved technology, lighting work, and ceiling improvements.  

Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians 

  • $1 million to fund construction of public facilities required to facilitate construction of the 10-acre Soboba Crossroads shopping center in San Jacinto. The off-site public facilities include street widening and paving; traffic signal improvements; installation of water, sewer, gas, electric, and communication utilities; handicap access improvements; and related work. This project will bring an estimated 100 permanent jobs, enhanced local services, increased tax revenues, support for public services, and new opportunities for business growth. 

FY22 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies

Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo 

  • $1 million to fund the expansion of the Blythe Health Center from 5,766 square feet to 13,768 square feet which will allow the center to accept roughly 6,000 additional patients per year, including the addition of behavioral health and dental services. This project expands health care access in a low-income, rural community through an FQHC which provides health care services regardless of a patient’s ability to pay. 

Loma Linda University Health Center 

  • $1 million to fund the construction and furnishing of a new 8,000 sq foot FQHC in the Coachella Valley. According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, over 96,000 low-income individuals did not receive care through an FQHC in the Coachella Valley, including the growing number of individuals experiencing homelessness through the ongoing pandemic. The project will provide convenient access to health care for populations throughout CA-36 regardless of the individual’s ability to pay.

Palo Verde Hospital District 

  • $350,000 to assist with the acquisition of a fully integrated mobile health unit with telehealth services. This mobile clinic will serve patients within 25 miles of Blythe. The region this project serves has high poverty rates and is a health provider shortage area for primary care, dental, and mental health care.  

Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies

Salton Sea Authority 

  • $200,000 for the Army Corps of Engineers for a Salton Sea Project. This project will fund the first phase of the investigation into the “Imperial Streams, Salton Sea, and Tributaries” Army Corps project which Dr. Ruiz secured in the Water Resources Development Act of 2020. This project will contribute to the habitat and ecosystem restoration at the Salton Sea, which is a growing public health crisis in Southern California. 

 

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