California Air Resources Board Chooses Riverside for $366 Million Facility

Vote follows joint effort by City, County, UC Riverside and Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce

an image of emissions research at UCR

The University of California, Riverside is a world leader in air quality and emissions science.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( – The California Air Resources Board voted 8-3 today to relocate its motor vehicle and engine emissions testing and research facility from El Monte to an 18-acre site at the University of California, Riverside, which represents a $366 million investment into the community and 400 knowledge-based jobs in the Inland Empire.

The board chose Riverside after deciding that land owned by the University of California on Iowa Avenue near Martin Luther King Boulevard would provide the best opportunity for growth in the coming decades and for collaboration with world-class air quality research already underway at UC Riverside.

“Today’s decision is great news for UC Riverside, the city and county, and it is great news for the people of California,” said UCR Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox, who attended the board meeting in Sacramento. “This facility will bring together two world-class institutions working in air quality and emissions science and promises to create a whole range of synergies that simply wouldn’t be possible otherwise. Building this new facility in Riverside now positions our region to become the global capital for air quality research. With construction slated to begin next year, planning has already begun to ensure a smooth transition and, most importantly, accommodate the needs of Air Resources Board employees.”

UC President Janet Napolitano said she was very pleased with the decision to bring the facility to Riverside.

“Since its founding, the University of California has been a great partner to the State of California in providing real solutions to the issues we face as a state and a society. I am so pleased that UC Riverside can now expand its partnership with the Air Resources Board to set the standards that will preserve our air quality for generations to come,” Napolitano said.

The decision in Sacramento came after a monthslong, joint effort by UCR, the city of Riverside, Riverside County, and the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce to demonstrate the advantages of locating the facility in Riverside.

The four institutions worked closely with State Sen. Richard Roth of Riverside and his staff to ensure that Air Resources Board members understood how eagerly UCR, local government, business and elected officials had embraced the idea.

“Team Riverside scored a big win today, which will bring high-paying, future-focused jobs to the city,” said Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey, who addressed the Air Resources Board when it visited Riverside last year and attended the meeting in Sacramento Thursday. “Our collaborative efforts have delivered results that will benefit residents and local businesses for decades to come.”

The ARB recommendation will now be considered by the state’s Joint Legislative Budget Committee. The agency hopes to break ground in 2017 and open in 2020.

“I am tremendously proud of today’s hard-fought and well-earned victory that will bring hundreds of good jobs to Inland Southern California,” Sen. Roth said. “Creating good jobs and strengthening our regional economy has always been my highest priority.  This decision is truly a landmark moment for our region that will benefit all Californians with improved air quality for generations to come.”

More than a dozen proponents of the Riverside site spoke at a hearing last week in El Monte, emphasizing the synergy between the work of the Air Resources Board and world-renowned research that has been done at UC Riverside’s Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT) for decades.

“The board’s decision is a testament to the excellent work on air quality issues that has been done for years at UCR,” said Riverside County Supervisor John Tavaglione, who spoke at the hearing last week. “It’s very rewarding to see that work, and the work of so many County partners, acknowledged today.”

The new facility will replace an existing one in El Monte that no longer is adequate for the agency. Agency staff had recommended a site in Pomona, in part because of its proximity to the existing site. But board members ultimately decided that Riverside best fit its long-term needs.

“Riverside can be proud of the effort put forth by our major institutions to work cooperatively on such an important goal,” said Riverside Mayor Pro Tem Mike Soubirous. “Our city’s strength has always been its ability to work together, and this victory is a great example of that.”

Bob Stockton, board chairman of the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce, added: “Riverside truly is a great fit for the Air Resources Board. Our local business community looks forward to working with the board and its employees to ensure a great transition to our community and a strong and lasting partnership.”

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