By 2050 New Orleans will have to be using electric cars. I ask why so late a date?
Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s administration must begin transitioning the city’s sizeable fleet to environmentally-friendly vehicles starting next year under a City Council ordinance passed unanimously on Thursday. The measure, sponsored by City Council President Helena Moreno, directs the city to begin buying and leasing low-emission vehicles in 2023 and to purchase only no-emission passenger vehicles like electric cars by 2025. The city must also produce an annual report detailing the fuel economy of its fleet and how many of its vehicles are powered by fossil fuels.nola.com
Of course there are exceptions but I hope the electric vehicle industry makes these types of vehicles.
There are important exceptions to the green mandate. The city can keep the gas guzzlers it already has. It will also be allowed to buy fossil fuel vehicles for “public safety” purposes like the Police and Fire Departments and Emergency Medical Services, a large portion of the fleet. The administration didn’t immediately comment Friday or provide the number of vehicles the city owns. Ditching gas and diesel could improve air quality and put the city on the forefront of the electric car revolution, but it could also come at a higher cost. The ordinance doesn’t include an estimated price tag for buying and maintaining the vehicles. On the other hand, the bipartisan infrastructure act passed by Congress last year includes pots of money for cities and states to build out their electric charger networks and reduce fossil fuel emissions.
The administration wants to have all federal vesicles switch to electric so that should help.
President Joe Biden last year committed to replacing the entire 645,000-vehicle federal fleet with electric cars, trucks and SUVs, a move that in itself could speed along the transition to electric. Moreno’s ordinance was one of the first from the newly-created climate committee she chairs. The committee also passed a resolution, which the full City Council approved Thursday, urging the municipal government to draw all of its power from renewable sources. Moreno created the climate committee with an eye on federal dollars. As the city’s utility regulator, the Council is angling for federal grants to harden the local power grid against climate change and hurricanes. Cantrell also wants to position the city to vie for climate-related grant money in the bipartisan infrastructure act.
The mayor seems to be onboard as she is talking about similar things with other mayors.
In a press release Friday, the Mayor’s Office said that Cantrell has been in Washington, D.C. this week attending the U.S. Conference of Mayors, where she took part in discussions about energy grant and loan funding. The mayor also met with U.S. Environmental Agency Administrator Michael Regan to discuss redeveloping the Gordon Plaza area, a residential neighborhood built on top of a toxic landfill, into a solar farm. Gordon Plaza residents have demanded that the city provide them with a fully-funded relocation to other parts of the city.
New Orleans wants to go green. Hopefully we will drive the state in this direction.