Metro buses and other King County vehicles are on the fast-track to being all-electric, thanks to legislation unanimously approved Tuesday by the King County Council.
“With the passage of this ordinance, we have provided a much needed ‘jump start’ toward our effort to significantly reduce and eliminate carbon emissions from our county’s fleet,” said Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles, sponsor of the ordinance. “This will not be an easy task. But we are running out of time and the climate crisis is only worsening. It is up to us to lead by showing the rest of the nation and world that we can transition to all-electric by utilizing the best available technology and by setting tough but achievable goals.”
The plan speeds up conversion of Metro’s bus fleet to zero-emission by five years, setting 2035 as the new target date. It will also accelerate the conversion of other county-owned vehicles to electric and create a robust charging infrastructure at county facilities.
“As written, this ordinance does not direct Metro to retire buses early. It does set ambitious targets. It will be up to Metro to determine how it achieves those targets,” Kohl-Welles said. “Clearly, meeting these targets will require a significant transformation to the fleet and the supporting infrastructure. And this is needed now because we are facing a crisis. A crisis that is only worsening.”
The proposal was brought forward last year by Kohl-Welles as part of a broader package aimed at fighting climate change. The package also included a plan for a green jobs pipeline to help county workers convert their skills for the green jobs of the future and legislation to develop a climate action toolkit with local jurisdictions to help them create plans to reduce emissions countywide.
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