The Maine Climate Council voted to finalize its Climate Action Plan on climate change on Nov. 11, and the Bicycle Coalition of Maine would like to congratulate everyone who worked on and contributed to the plan. However, the council’s plans for addressing the emissions generated by transportation include very few references that support bicycle, pedestrian or transit infrastructure. We are disappointed that the council chose to focus so emphatically on electric vehicles while offering only scant encouragement for healthy, low-emission modes like walking, bicycling and transit. Paul Swearinger of Auburn rides his custom built bike through a parking lot in Auburn in March on his way to the Androscoggin River to collect driftwood to carve into pieces of art. Investing in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure and public transit promotes modes that are low- or no-emission. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal
While we agree electric vehicles are low-emission and will be an important aspect of reducing greenhouse gases, the Climate Council’s draft action plan relies on optimistic rates of adoption for electric-vehicle technology, at the expense of investing in other transportation modes that are proven, practical and equitable.
Moreover, emphasizing the adoption of electric vehicles will not help with traffic congestion and the epidemic of injuries and deaths inflicted by speeding motor vehicles. Getting hit by an electric vehicle traveling 35 mph in a 25-mph zone will be just as devastating as getting hit by a gas-powered vehicle.
The Climate Council’s draft plan will direct millions of dollars toward incentivizing and expanding automotive traffic, […]