THOUSAND PALMS, Calif. -

Excitement began building years ago.

"The project is approximately 50 miles long," said Tom Kirk, Executive Director for the Coachella Valley Association of Governments in December 2013. "It runs from Palm springs to Coachella, it's really the biggest project of its kind in the nation."

We're less than a year away now from a master plan for the "CV Link," a proposed trail for pedestrians, bicyclists and low speed electric vehicles that would run along the Whitewater Wash.

CVAG, which spearheads the project, estimates the price tag at $80 million, $65 million of which it's already secured.

A big chunk of that, more than $17 million, was awarded to CVAG last year by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, from mitigation funds collected from the CPV Sentinel power plant in Desert Hot Springs.

Competitive Power Ventures, which owns the plant, paid the district more than $53 million for emissions offsets needed to operate the plant.

According to Riverside County supervisor John Benoit, 100% of those mitigation funds will stay in the Coachella Valley to fund emission-reduction projects like the CV Link.

But, the path isn't without critics. Some valley residents worry it would be too close to their backyards, or that it could be washed away with a big storm. 

Others say it doesn't do enough for Desert Hot Springs, where the power plant, a large source of the funding, is located.

With construction tentatively scheduled for 2017, people still have time to influence the project.