January 22, 2021

opinion

By Pam Frank and Liz Burdock

If using the wind to run your car makes you picture installing a big sail on the roof, think again.

While it’s true that the way we power vehicles is undergoing massive changes, turning cars into the clipper ships of old isn’t in the offing. But wind – and solar, too — will play a big role in helping us get where we want to go, on land.

The growth of vehicles powered by electricity is stunning. There are more than a million EVs on the road in the U.S. today and that’s expected to go up to around 20 million in 2030. As battery costs drop, sales rise: about 350,000 EVs were bought in the U.S. in 2018. New Jersey enacted a nation-leading EV law this year that included an EV rebate over the next decade and goals including 330,000 EVs registered by 2025 and comprising 85% of all vehicles registered by 2045.

So, if you don’t know anyone who drives an EV, odds are you will soon. If your next car isn’t electric, the next one you buy after that might well be. And it’s very likely the first car your children buy will be electric.

Gasoline is on the way out — and that’s a good thing because gas is a dirty fossil fuel. Burning it in a car’s engine gives off harmful emissions that endanger our health and worsen the impact of climate change. So, it’s no wonder that the transportation sector is the biggest contributor to air pollution. Electric cars, on the other hand, present no health or climate problems, and they’re more efficient.

As one expert put it, “As well as being better for the environment, EVs are also just better cars than their fossil-fueled equivalents.” He notes that EVs accelerate more quickly and have nearly no internal moving parts, which limits both noise and wear and tear, reducing maintenance costs.

But, from a clean environment standpoint, one might ask where the electricity that powers an EV comes from.

Fortunately, in New Jersey our electric grid is relatively clean, so a mile driven in an EV is 70% – 80% cleaner than a mile driven in a gasoline-powered car. But, even that won’t be good enough to reach our goals. We need to simultaneously clean up the grid and to increase the number of EVs on the road. Further, we’ll need more electricity – about 30% more when all light-duty cars on the road are EVs.

This is where wind and solar enter into the equation.

If the electricity you use to charge your car comes from renewable energy sources instead of fossil fuel, it’s the ultimate win-win situation. In the process, demand for renewable energy like wind and solar would increase, which would further lower their prices. Offshore wind energy alone has the ability to power the world 18 times over – let that sink in.

The magnitude of change could be historic, according to one analysis:

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As the Georgia economy continues its recovery, we are seeing the return of the strength and importance of logistics and transportation. Moving manufactured goods, agriculture products and employees around town and around the world requires a visionary outlook.

We must ensure that the actual wheels of free enterprise continue to roll and, in doing so, create quality jobs for Georgians. A long-term plan for funding of Georgia’s roads, bridges, railways, ports, and technology is essential to our recovery and strategically important for a more resilient future.

The Georgia General Assembly created the Transportation Investment Act (TIA) in 2010 and it has been resoundingly successful in funding over 1,000 projects for local communities throughout the state, with numerous projects currently under construction. From road widenings to public transportation operational funding, the TIA has enabled regions in Georgia to significantly propel local economic development efforts. Perhaps that’s why voters gave a resounding thumbs-up to extending the program for another 10 years in parts of the state.

By a margin of nearly 2-1, voters in various counties throughout Georgia chose to collectively make another 10-year investment in local roads, bridges, intersections, streetscapes, airports, emergency vehicles, sidewalks, and freight and logistics needs. In 2015, Georgia General Assembly also enacted HB 170 which resulted in more than one-billion dollars of infrastructure improvements to our roads and bridges, helping to support economic growth and mobility through Atlanta and the state of Georgia.

These success stories are why the Georgia Chamber works closely with its affiliate, the Georgia Transportation Alliance (GTA), to be at the forefront of statewide, multi-modal transportation investment. GTA conducted polling earlier in 2020 that clearly demonstrated what the voters in Georgia have experienced – transportation investment works. Almost half of all Georgians believe that transportation infrastructure is the most important function of government, and 52% of Georgians shared that they would re-elect an official who votes to increase infrastructure investment that improves safety and creates long term job opportunities.

We know that infrastructure and access to supply chains are essential to raising the bar for jobs and employment opportunities in both urban and rural areas. Additional government resources are not only necessary, but critical, to effectively deliver this infrastructure where it is needed.

The Georgia Freight and Logistics Commission has been conducting a series of meetings focused on the critical infrastructure needs for transportation and developing a recommendation for long-term funding that will be crucial to Georgia’s economic growth, and ultimately to the livelihoods of all hardworking citizens in our state. The Chamber is dedicated to supporting the Commission’s leadership, under Senator Beach and Representative Tanner, in presenting a multi-year plan to the General Assembly during the upcoming legislative session.

Georgia must improve infrastructure and connectivity through public-private investment in broadband, highways, bridges, airports, rail, and transit to connect our communities. And our nation must pass a national infrastructure

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Joe Bike

By Sam Balto (Contributor) on March 31st, 2020 at 2:30 pm

A family leaves for a ride in Sellwood.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The coronavirus has changed our lives forever. From here on out, we will think of life before coronavirus, and after. While these are very scary times, we are seeing some positive things appear. With calmer streets and less people driving, there’s been a surge of children and families riding bikes together.

If you’re one of them, it might be a good time to do a practice run to school (if you don’t bike there already).

As a Physical Education teacher at a K-8 school in north Portland I see daily the impacts physical activity — or lack thereof — has on my students’ well-being. In PE class we work to give children the skills they need to be a physically literate person. We are building students’ competence and confidence so they can live a healthy life.

I tell my students that doctors have studied why being physically active is important for children. The closer children are to the 60 minutes of physical activity recommended by the Center for Disease Control, I tell them, the better health outcomes they’ll see. Children who are more active do better in school, get in less trouble, have better relationships with friends, get sick less and live longer lives.
[Read more…]

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By Becky Jo (Columnist) on March 31st, 2020 at 12:08 pm

Adult and child’s bike on grassAdult and child’s bike on grass

Spring bike rides with Miata and the mini-me’s bike yet to be named (photos by Becky Jo)

When I started this car-free adventure at the beginning of winter, I thought for sure my bike was not going to cut it. I thought it was a matter of time when I’d have to admit my little road bike just wasn’t the right bike for hauling groceries or getting me around town. I was 99% convinced I’d have to trade it in when I first started my daughter behind me on her little tag-a-long, and her lack of experience balancing nearly caused us a few bike dumps.

I had been looking up more “upright” and heavier/sturdier bikes, what I came to find out are called “mixte” bikes, when to my surprise, we all adapted rather quickly. My daughter started riding on her own, I got into a cadence with groceries, and I do really love having a super light and maneuverable bike when I want to go from North Portland to Montavilla.[Read more…]

By Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on March 30th, 2020 at 4:22 pm

Now available for free via snail mail from Portland Design Works.

It’s strange that while many things have slowed down or paused during these virus-impacted times, there seems to be more news than ever coming toward us. Even as owner of a niche transportation media outlet,

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