MSRC Profile: Dan York – MSRC-TAC Chair

Dan York was recently selected to serve as the new MSRC Technical Advisory Committee (MSRC-TAC) Chair. York says he has “big shoes to fill” to follow his predecessor Gretchen Hardison, who recently stepped down after serving in the position for more than a decade.

Dan serves as the Riverside County cities representative on the MSRC-TAC. He first learned about the MSRC and its significant clean transportation funding programs from City of Wildomar Mayor Ben Benoit, who serves as one of the MSRC members. Benoit recommended that Dan fill the vacant Riverside County cities seat on the MSRC-TAC to provide more representation and technical expertise from the region. More than two years ago, the cities of Riverside County unanimously agreed and elected Dan to serve as the region’s representative to the MSRC-TAC.

As a Southern California native, Dan has experienced the effects of air pollution firsthand. He grew up living in Los Angeles under the LAX flight pattern and recalls his sister’s battles with asthma. Later, while earning his civil engineering degree from Cal Poly Pomona, Dan remembers that he often couldn’t see Mt. Baldy. While studying at Cal Poly, Dan learned that technology might hold the key to solving some of our region’s intractable air quality challenges. At Cal Poly, he had the chance to work on early stage technologies including participating in a solar car club. More than three decades later, Dan is excited to be putting his civil engineering training to work by supporting the investment in clean and near zero emission transportation solutions that can truly cleanse our region’s air.

Today, Dan serves as the Assistant City Manager, City Engineer and Public Works Director for the City of Wildomar. While the City potentially has lots of land to develop, the community is very proud of protecting its rural nature from sprawl and overdevelopment. While developers come in with a goal to make money, Dan reminds them that the City is confined to 24 miles and the City has just one shot at doing development right in a way that will improve quality of life and reduce emissions. Dan is particularly proud that he’s been able to require new construction projects to include things like electric charging stations that can create the clean fueling infrastructure that our region will depend on. Residing in southwest Riverside County, Dan is also very active in the Western Riverside Council of Governments to promote smart, sustainable programs through their initiatives and looks forward to bringing that thinking to the MSRC.

Dan is also a big proponent of active transportation that gets people out of their cars. Wildomar is providing more amenities for citizens to utilize alternative modes of transportation for cycling and walking. The city recently put in a 3 ½-mile trail along a street that at one time had been slated to be a four lane arterial road, but the community embraced maintaining it as a two lane street. Additionally, the City is just completing an 11-mile bike lane. Dan is also looking for park and ride facilities to foster more use of carpooling and mass transit, installing more charging stations for electric vehicles, and devising funding mechanisms that would be supported by developers.

Dan says that the key to improving our air quality dramatically is tackling diesel trucks and swapping out those dirty engines for cleaner ones. He observes that we’ve begun to make some significant progress and, with the new Cummins near-zero CNG engine and some promising electric truck technologies, he is confident of being able to foster a shift to much cleaner trucks.

Dan is excited to be part of the four counties in the South Coast air basin that have this common goal to improve the air quality for all of our residents and he is especially honored to serve as the MSRC-TAC chair. Dan cautions that his title doesn’t indicate that he is by any stretch the expert of the group and, in fact, he still feels like the freshman of the committee. However, Dan is looking forward to driving more collaboration among his colleagues and continuing to learn from the many talented members. The MSRC is thrilled to have Dan York serving as its new MSRC-TAC Chair and looks forward to calling upon his expertise and enthusiasm for years to come.