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Sacramento Plans to Spur Clean Fuel Industry with 'Green City' Initiative

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg hopes that an infusion of EV funds can jumpstart a new, clean economy in the city.
November 4, 2017, 7am PDT | Elana Eden
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As part of Volkswagen's $800 million settlement, subsidiary Electrify America selected Sacramento to launch its "Green City" program—a $44 million initiative to increase electric vehicle use through a variety of programs, including infrastructure installation, outreach, and accessibility measures.

While the promise of an electric car-sharing service and low-cost mobility options are significant, Mayor Darrell Steinberg's vision for the program is much broader. In The Planning Report, he explains his hope that the investment will completely reshape Sacramento's industry and identity.

"We want to use this relationship with Electrify America to catalyze new industry in Sacramento around alternative fuels and electrification," he tells TPR. "Ultimately, I want Sacramento to become a center for the research and development of advanced transportation technologies and the rapid electrification of the automotive industry."

Already, he says, the Green City investment has sent "a major market signal," attracting electric vehicle manufacturers and charging companies to the city. Meanwhile, Sacramento is also working to attract tech companies from Silicon Valley and San Francisco, as part of efforts to build the "Northern California megaregion."

On one hand, Steinberg hopes to help California's capital city branch out of the government sector and build a robust private-sector economy. But as he pursues a high-tech economy, he also plans to use the city's close ties to the state Legislature to its advantage. As transportation technology advances past the limits of existing law, he says, Sacramento "can be the test site for innovations like autonomous vehicles—the laboratory that helps inform the state regulatory decisions around new technologies. Sacramento can draft templates for how the state might achieve that balance" between regulation and innovation.

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Published on Thursday, October 26, 2017 in The Planning Report
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