Micro-Mobility, EVs and Build Back Better
As the world tries to move forward beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, infrastructure stimulus is now a major headline. In the U.S., the President released the new American Jobs Plan, proposing more than $2 trillion in funding to help our nation Build Back Better, including the following:
"It will establish grant and incentive programs for state and local governments and the private sector to build a national network of 500,000 EV chargers by 2030, while promoting strong labor, training, and installation standards."
Imagine if charging for e-bikes and scooters was included in this program, along with incentives for new purchases of personal mobility devices. We'd see a true, sustainable transformation of transportation for the millions of post-pandemic people who want and need safe, green, affordable mobility. Unfortunately, all of the stimulus discussion in Congress about electric vehicles (EVs) only includes charging stations and subsidies for electric cars. This is not equitable - most people can't afford an electric car, and if all we do is change the power supply for cars, we'd still have the same problems of traffic congestion, public health, safety, and the rest of the consequences of our addiction to driving.
Let's be clear, electric cars are great, and both of the founders of re: Charge-e drive them. But we are part of a rapidly growing number of people who also have e-bikes and scooters. Sources like McKinsey are saying that electric micro-mobility is going to be a $500 billion dollar market. If we are really going to "Build Back Better," we have to re-think our infrastructure and put people first. We greatly appreciate hearing USDOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg say that during his confirmation hearings, and we're even happier to see him riding Capital Bikeshare to get around in D.C. Now is the time for Congress and the new administration to match its programs with real solutions for next-generation mobility.
If we want to create a green society to solve climate change, then walking, bicycling, and shared mobility have to be at the heart of our post-pandemic infrastructure. We can't rely on just highways and transit as we've done in the past. Let's create an equitable stimulus that everyone can afford to use to be safe, healthy, and green. With more than $2 trillion dollars being invested, there's no reason not to do this now. In the U.K., they are investing billions in active transportation as part of their stimulus program. Across the U.S., a coalition of more than 150 organizations is supporting a green infrastructure stimulus (www.greenway.org/stimulus) and there are multiple related initiatives including The Bikeshare Transit Act, the Connecting America’s Active Transportation Act, and The E-Bike Act. Considering how active travel is a key element of a sustainable future https://www.sciencealert.com/evs-are-great-but-active-travel-is-the-best-way-to-achieve-net-zero-cities, these initiatives need all of our support.
Let's Build Back Better with a stimulus program that makes active transportation a priority, creates complete streets, greenways, and trails, and includes e-bikes and scooters in our growing EV funding programs.