By Matt McFarland, CNN Business
Gabe Klein, who headed the transportation departments in Washington, DC and Chicago, will lead the Biden administration’s $7.5 billion program to expand the nation’s electric vehicle charging network.
Klein will serve as executive director of the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation, which was created by the bipartisan infrastructure bill, and provides coordination between the US departments of energy and transportation. The departments announced the news on Tuesday morning.
“We look forward to working with Gabe to help implement President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Act for the American people and ensure that every community, from the largest cities to the most rural areas, can reap the benefits of the revolution. electric vehicles,” US Transportation said. Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement.
Klein was previously a partner at consultancy Cityfi, which focuses on urban transportation and planning. He also served on the Biden-Harris transition team for the Department of Transportation. His leadership in DC and Chicago was marked by being among the first transportation departments to embrace emerging transportation trends like car sharing, bike sharing, and bike lanes.
Klein has long been outspoken about climate change and transportation’s role in it. Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
“I will seize the opportunity to lead a critical shift in our economy from fossil fuel transportation to clean electric power systems, because there has never been a more important mission in our recent history than solving the climate crisis. “, Klein said in a statement. .
US President Joe Biden has called for a network of 500,000 chargers to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles and tackle the climate crisis. Electric vehicles have a much lower carbon footprint than gasoline-powered vehicles over the typical life of a vehicle.
Governments are increasingly adopting electric vehicles. Biden has called on the federal government to transition its fleet to electric vehicles and for half of all new vehicles to be electric by 2030. California has passed regulations that essentially require vehicles sold in the state of 2035 are electric, hydrogen or plug-in hybrids. The federal government passed new tax credits for electric vehicles last month.
But many consumers wonder if they will be able to charge an electric vehicle. The country’s charging network is nascent compared to the long-established gas pump network. Last week, the Biden administration announced that it had approved electric vehicle charging plans for 35 states. Many stations will be built along the highway corridors to facilitate long journeys.
The Joint Bureau of Energy and Transportation has previously advised states on their electric vehicle charging plans and worked with the Federal Highway Administration on minimum standards for chargers.
The Biden administration has called for 40% of its climate change and clean energy investments to be directed to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved and overburdened by pollution.
Klein, who has previously called for the country to consider its racial history in planning, owns an electric car and an electric bicycle, which he charges with solar power, according to the departments.
“We couldn’t be more excited for him to work for more electric cars and trucks on our roads,” Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm said in a statement.
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