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President Trump's reported to be ready to sign disaster relief bill without money for border security. Also on the Friday rundown: House bills would give millions a path to citizenship; and remembering California’s second-deadliest disaster.

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Cities Fueling a Major Push for Electric Vehicles

Mayors from 19 cities have committed to buying more than 300 electric vehicles in the first year. (Mikes Photos/
Mayors from 19 cities have committed to buying more than 300 electric vehicles in the first year. (Mikes Photos/
September 18, 2018

PITTSBURGH — Mayors from cities around the country are joining together in a major push for cleaner transportation. City leaders who attended the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco last week have announced the formation of a Climate Mayors Electric Vehicle Purchasing Collaborative.

Municipalities maintain large fleets of vehicles, from city buses and garbage trucks to police cars and fire engines. That translates into thousands of vehicle purchases. According to Grant Ervin, Pittsburgh's Chief Resilience Officer, by agreeing to move toward zero-emission fleets in the 2020s, these cities will save money as they cut their carbon footprint.

"The aggregated buying power of the cities pull together to help reduce the costs of vehicles in order to make them more affordable, but also to aggregate the scale and impact,” Ervin said.

Twenty-six international states, cities, regions and businesses have now set a target for their fleets of 100 percent zero-emission vehicles by 2030. Helen Clarkson, CEO of the Climate Group, said that represents a population of about 120 million people, enough to begin putting pressure on manufacturers.

"You really get a strong market signal to the automotive companies to say that this is what your customers want, and to ask them to start signaling when they're going to start the end game of the combustion engine,” Clarkson said.

Transportation is now the major source of greenhouse gas emissions nationwide.

Key to increasing the number of electric vehicles on the road is expanding the charging infrastructure. Ervin said in Pittsburgh, the planning process already has begun, not only for the publicly owned fleet but for consumers as well.

"So thinking about public parking garages and parking lots as places that we could create and place charging infrastructure,” he said.

Other cities committed to increasing their fleets of zero-emission vehicles include New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - PA