Council’s Transportation & Sustainability committee today unanimously approved legislation developed by Mayor Ed Murray and Councilmember Mike O’Brien, which sets a goal to have 30% of all light-duty vehicles in Seattle operate under electric power by the year 2030. Approximately 4,000 vehicles in the Seattle region are electric. Today Mayor Murray and Councilmember O’Brien announced their intention to significantly expand electric vehicle infrastructure in Seattle, such as charging stations, to encourage and serve the electric vehicle demand. The 30% by 2030 goal is the most ambitious target set by any United States city, intended to address the growing threat of climate change by reducing Seattle’s carbon footprint.
In pursuit of this target, Mayor Murray announced his intention to include funds in his forthcoming 2017-18 City operating budget proposal to install 20 fast chargers for electric vehicles for public use, geographically spread throughout the city, making it easier for the public to transition to utilizing electric vehicles and geared towards equitable access. The Mayor’s budget proposal will also include $2.35 million for 150 new electric vehicle charging stations in the Seattle Municipal Tower, and for planning for installing additional infrastructure to support the City’s electric vehicle fleet. The City of Seattle has one of the largest electric vehicle fleets in the country with 80 fully electric vehicles, 17 plug-in hybrids, and over 500 conventional hybrid vehicles.
Encouraging the transition to electric vehicles is a critical piece of Seattle’s overall goals because road transportation makes up 66% of Seattle’s emissions, and emissions from vehicles account for nearly 50% percent of greenhouse gas emissions. Investments in transit, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure also support carbon emission reduction goals, like the recent voter-approved Move Seattle levy.
The resolution also commits the Drive Clean Seattle Initiative to partner closely with the Mayor’s Equity and Environment Initiative to ensure wherever possible the City provide economic and clean air benefits of electric transportation to communities who are negatively impacted by air pollution and inequity.
“Seattle has and will continue to be a national leader in reducing carbon emissions,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “We created the Drive Clean Seattle Initiative earlier this year to accelerate the use of electric vehicles to move people, goods, and services across Seattle. We will build on this commitment in my 2017 budget by increasing our investments in electric vehicle infrastructure. I look forward to working with Councilmember O’Brien, City Council, environmental leaders and stakeholders as we continue to lead the way on addressing climate change.”
Mayor Murray’s budget announcement and Council’s consideration of the 30% by 2030 resolution occurs during National Drive Electric Week, an event intended to raise awareness of the current availability of all-electric and hybrid vehicles on the market so commuters can consider driving electric.
“Dramatic action is necessary if we’re going to curb the threat of climate change, and electrifying the transportation system will make it easier for residents to reduce their carbon footprint, resulting in a larger global impact,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien (District 6, Northwest Seattle). “With electric vehicles becoming more mainstream, they’ll only become more prolific. It’s up to the City to create the infrastructure to manage the coming wave of EVs.”
The 30% by 2030 resolution endorses and builds upon the City’s Drive Clean Seattle Initiative, a comprehensive strategy to transition the transportation sector away from fossil fuels to use more of Seattle City Light’s carbon-neutral electricity. Mayor Murray’s proposed budget will include an investment to begin a 200-person pilot program to lower the initial cost and uncertainty of at-home charging in 2017.
The resolution also endorses the “Half the Oil” plan, created by the Union of Concerned Scientists, to reduce petroleum use in the transportation sector by 50% by 2035.
The resolution, unanimously approved by the Council’s Transportation Committee today, will be considered by Full Council on Monday, September 19 at 2 p.m.