New electric vehicle toolkit for Florida local governments shows how to act locally on cleaning up transportation
ST PETERSBURG -- As leaders from across the globe meet at the United Nations’ COP26 conference on climate change this week, Environment Florida Research & Policy Center, Florida PIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group are releasing a new report that shows how local governments in Florida can pave the way for cleaner transportation through tools and policies that support the growing adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). With transportation being the number one source of global warming emissions in the United States and in Florida, transitioning to EVs must be a key part of any plan to reduce climate pollution and this toolkit offers a roadmap to reaching that goal.
“Even though more electric vehicles than ever are on the road, cities and counties need to step up their drive to get more Floridians to come along for the ride ,” said Morgan Folger, Destination: Zero Carbon Campaign Director with Environment Florida Research & Policy Center. “By taking the steps detailed in the toolkit, local governments across the Sunshine State can energize their communities to make the switch to clean, electric vehicles.”
The toolkit highlights 20 tools and policies that leading cities have adopted to make it easier to buy and own an EV, including:
- Municipal purchasing of EVs
- Expansion of EV charging infrastructure
- Electric buses and bikes
- EV-friendly building codes and zoning requirements
- Incentives to purchase EVs
- EV advocacy and resolutions
Cities in Florida are already working to speed up the transition to EVs. As detailed in the report, Orlando offers rebates for EV purchases, making it easier to overcome the higher upfront cost of electric vehicles. Additionally, St. Petersburg has held an educational virtual EV test drive event where residents could learn about the city’s initiatives to support vehicle electrification.
The toolkit can also help prepare local government officials for federal investment in electric vehicles. If Congress passes the bipartisan Infrastructure and Investment Act, it will invest $7.5 billion in grant money that local officials can apply for to expand EV charging stations in their communities. The complementary Build Back Better framework would create new funding opportunities for electric vehicle purchasing incentives. To make the most of those investments, local governments will need to play a role in educating the public and in swiftly permitting new charging stations and infrastructure.
“Pollution from cars, trucks and buses makes us sick, hurting our lungs, hearts and overall health,” said Matt Casale, Climate Campaigns Director with Florida PIRG Education Fund. “To clean the air in our communities, we have to take local action. Local leaders should prioritize electric vehicles to protect our health.”
If enough cities take action, these local vehicle electrification tools can have national climate ramifications in reducing U.S. transportation emissions. Municipal policies across the state have shown the importance of government action in advancing EV adoption. More cities, towns and counties in Florida should look to the initiatives detailed in the report as a guide for promoting EVs in their communities.