Mayor Garcetti on his Green New Deal for LA

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Mayor Garcetti speaking at the Mayor’s Tree Summit, April 26, 2019 Photo courtesy of the mayor’s office.

There’s been plenty of talk about the Democrats’ plan for a Green New Deal for America. But LA Mayor Eric Garcetti says his administration wants to tackle climate change at a more local level. He announced his own Green New Deal this morning, which sets targets for renewable energy, recycling, cleaner and more fuel efficient buildings, more affordable housing built near public transit, and more.

How will Garcetti’s Green New Deal decrease car ownership and increase public transit ridership?

Garcetti tells Greater LA that a few things will change how Angelenos move.

1) Building a better transit system that connects you with faster routes and lines to your destination.

“Today it's kind of like the lottery. If you happen to live by the Expo line, and work downtown, and live in Santa Monica, you've won the lottery,” he says. “For most Angelenos, you still don't have a line close enough that it's worth it. And with gas cheap, you get in your car and suffer, stuck in traffic.”

2) New technology that’s changing how vehicles can talk to each other. Garcetti says that even at peak traffic, 92% of LA streets are empty, but when vehicles begin to communicate with each other, people can move more quickly through vehicles that are autonomous or interacting with each other.

What can be done to increase traffic flow and reduce emissions?

Garcetti refers to Congressional hearings he did for an infrastructure bill a few months ago. He says truck companies there asked to be charged for every mile they traveled, so the money could be used to fix roads, build better highways, and more. “When you see the private sector beginning to say ‘charge us,’ maybe that's a good place to start,” he says.

He also wants to make sure that rideshare companies and scooter companies push their data to his administration, so they can “dynamically price the curb and the streets of Los Angeles.”

“For people who are dependent on cars, who are still working class, the last thing you want to do is add even greater fees to them, especially when this technological change is coming about,” he says.

How will he get more people driving electric cars?

Garcetti says the used electric vehicle market is going to be very important, and he wants to get that started with the help of the LA Dept. of Water and Power.

He wants to mandate that by year 2025, all buses and rideshare vehicles will be electric, or use zero-emission fuels like hydrogen.

LA is also heavily investing in charging stations around the city. “That’ll make it convenient. That’ll make it cheaper. You save money on maintenance. As somebody who took an electric car out in 1997 and started driving one, I know the personal financial benefits, as long as we can keep those prices competitive,” he says.

--Written by Amy Ta, produced by Christian Bordal and Kathryn Barnes