SACRAMENTO – An influential legislative committee weighed in with support for the Charge Ahead California Initiative (SB 1275) late Monday, bringing the state closer to adopting a goal of one million electric vehicles in ten years, and reinforcing provisions that guarantee that low- and middle-income Californians are full participants in The Golden State’s clean vehicle future.
The Assembly Natural Resources Committee is the second Assembly panel to vote in favor of the bill, backing the measure 6-3. The Assembly Transportation Committee approved the bill June 16th. SB 1275 passed the full Senate May 27th with strong bipartisan support.
The Assembly Natural Resources Committee also incorporated an important amendment, explicitly linking eligibility for electric vehicle rebates to buyers’ incomes. SB 1275 gives officials authority to set income caps at levels that help ensure the program achieves the one million electric vehicles goal, and target rebates to people for whom they have the greatest impact.
“We need many more electric vehicles on the road, and we also need to ensure that every Californian gets a fair chance to enjoy the benefits of electric vehicles,” said Vien Truong, Environmental Equity Director of The Greenlining Institute. “That’s what Charge Ahead California is all about,” Truong said.
“Four in ten Californians live near a highway or other busy road, more than any other state,” said Michelle Kinman, Clean Energy Advocate with Environment California. “If our roads were instead filled with zero-emission vehicles, it would dramatically improve the lives of millions of Californians who are already suffering from asthma and other pollution impacts,” Kinman said.
Senate President pro Tempore-elect Kevin de León, the bill’s author, developed the legislation with Charge Ahead California, a coalition of community-based organizations and conservation groups working together to expand clean transportation, improve local economies, and achieve air quality and climate goals.
“To clean up our dirty air, we need to make electric cars more accessible for our middle- and low-income families, not just the wealthy,” de León said.
Key provisions of the legislation include:
- An extended and improved Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP). The CVRP has been instrumental in bringing one-third of the nation’s plug-in cars to California. The CVRP currently provides buyers with a $2,500 rebate for zero-emission purchases, but the program has been historically plagued by insufficient funding. SB 1275 would help secure the funding needed to ensure California is the first state in the nation with one million electric vehicles, and would step down rebate levels over time as technology costs go down.
- Increases access to clean transportation in disadvantaged communities. SB 1275 would direct the Air Resources Board to establish car-sharing programs targeted to low-income communities, provide access to financing options that would mean lower combined monthly car payments and fuel costs, and offer incentives for the replacement of gas-guzzling “clunkers” with new or used electric cars or vouchers for transit and car-sharing.
SB 1275, the Charge Ahead California Initiative, is sponsored by the Coalition for Clean Air, Communities for a Better Environment, Environment California, The Greenlining Institute and the Natural Resources Defense Council. The campaign is also endorsed by many others, including: American Lung Association in California, Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), Black Business Association, Breathe CA, California League of Conservation Voters, CALPIRG, CALSTART, Catholic Charities – Stockton Diocese, ChargePoint, Environmental Defense Fund, FAME Corporations, Global Green USA, Physicians for Social Responsibility – Los Angeles, San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, Sierra Club California, SMUD, TransForm, Union of Concerned Scientists, Valley LEAP and West Angeles Community Development Corporation [partial list].
Claire Conlon, Office of Senator Kevin De León, (916) 651-4022, claire.conlon@sen.
Max Baumhefner, Natural Resources Defense Council, (415) 875-8204, email@example.com
Bahram Fazeli, Communities for a Better Environment, (323) 826-9771, ext. 100, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill Magavern, Coalition for Clean Air (916) 527-8051, email@example.com
Michelle Kinman, Environment California (310) 621-8935, michelle@
Bruce Mirken, The Greenlining Institute (510) 926-4022, brucem@greenlining.
Eric Jaffe, Resource Media (415) 397-5000 x311, ejaffe@resource-media.