It is important to start with the recognition that this is only a first draft! We are actively seeking the views of the Town, to help make this better.
]Having said that, I do want to tackle some of the comments that are coming through. Many are just supportive. Many ask us to do more. Many point out difficulties we will have. These are the ones I want to address, starting with one of the toughest issues.
Several people have noted the difficulty and expense of switching to electric vehicles. Some people have noted that retired people, in particular, may struggle to replace cars with newer, electric ones. How can we be age friendly while at the same time imposing new costs on these friends and neighbors?
These are valid concerns, of course. But, there are promising signs. It's clear that the costs of electric cars are coming down. And statistics are clear that electric cars are already, on a life cycle basis, considerably less expensive than comparable gasoline cars. And, the governments continue to offer incentives to move in this direction. Technology and policy will help us.
The truth is, for us to get to carbon neutral by 2030, we need to either replace all of our gasoline cars with electric (or fuel cell) cars, or else we need to offset these emissions in some other way. And, NOT doing what is needed to tackle climate change will cost us a lot more down the road than tackling it a little bit at a time starting now.
At this point, we cannot know the best way to get there. For sure, we want to take costs into account. We never want to hurt the people here, but only to figure out ways to help. We are working on all kinds of ways to deal with this problem, including improving walkability and bicycle access. Congress is considering subsidizing e-bikes. The new stimulus bill includes massive supports for public transportation systems including those in the Bay Area, and we intend to work with the local public transit agencies to improve access to our people. Both the state and the Federal government are offering generous incentives to encourage purchase of electric and fuel cell cars, and we have thought about ways we can similarly accelerate this trend. (By the way, Toyota is essentially giving away its 2017 fuel cell cars right now, if you are interested). And our governor has outlawed new gasoline cars in a very few years.
The truth is, this transportation issue is probably the biggest challenge we have as a community. At this point, it is not 100% clear how we will get there, and how we will help the people who will struggle to afford new cars. What I do know is that Technology is on our side. Federal, state, and even local policies will try to build on one another to help everyone. The CAC for sure will be looking for every possible resource to help the people of this town.
Let's not give up because it is hard. Let's come together and figure out how.