Newsom unveils new push for electrifying transportation
Written by Marc Albert
Building on a $4 billion dollar commitment made last year help accelerate California's shift to zero emission vehicles, last week Governor Gavin Newsom doubled down, unveiling a further six billion dollars for the initiative.
The plan is aimed at helping the state realize a seemingly far-fetched goal---ending the sale of gasoline powered vehicles by 2035. The governor's blueprint calls for subsidizing the purchase of zero emission vehicles for those of modest means and building charging stations in low income neighborhoods among other priorities.
That's needed, said Woody Hastings with the Climate Center, a nonprofit public policy group in Santa Rosa.
"The chicken and egg conundrum is, well, the auto manufacturers are going to build electric vehicles and hope that the infrastructure gets built, or are the private sector folks that do charging stations, or the utilities or are the municipalities going to build charging infrastructure and hope electric vehicles come?" Hastings said. "By the way, 60 percent of Sonoma County's greenhouse gas emission is from the transportation sector, so it's a big chunk of the problem, and if we can really get the vehicle miles travelled down, the actual number of gasoline powered vehicle miles travelled down and switch to electric vehicles that could be a very significant improvement in the greenhouse gas emission picture."
Cultivating emerging manufacturing is also an aim. The initiative would subsidize electric buses and trucks for transit agencies, schools and things like deliveries and trash pickup.
"Well, they're still way more expensive than the conventional vehicles, but the technology is definitely getting there," Hastings said.
Hastings doesn't foresee shortages as more demand is placed on the grid. There's time to prepare, he said.
"We need to crack the nut of being able to have solar parking shade structures, solar on more municipal building rooftops and warehouse rooftops, and things like that, starting with the built environment, so that we're not carpeting our hillsides and the Central Valley and deserts with enormous utility scale solar arrays," Hastings said.
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