The Mass. awards $5 million for clean transportation projects
The Baker-Polito administration announced $5 million in grants for 10 projects that will help disadvantaged communities advance clean and equitable transportation projects.
Reducing emissions is the primary goal, but those involved say drivers will get other additional benefits, such as reducing traffic congestion and increasing pedestrian safety. The administration wrote in a press release Tuesday that the new plans take into account Massachusetts’ goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, as well as the creation of a more equitable Commonwealth.
Electric bikes are central to four of the 10 proposals. Boston is getting nearly half a million dollars to develop a pilot e-cargo bike delivery program for local residents and businesses in Allston.
Matt Warfield, who works to meet carbon emissions targets for the Boston Department of Transportation, told GBH News that using e-bikes instead of vans or delivery trucks will have many benefits: smaller vehicles on our streets and communities, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, reduced noise and environmental pollution produced by large delivery trucks.
And he says another goal of the pilot project is to make neighborhood streets safer.
“We have delivery vehicles that stop in bus lanes, bike lanes, crosswalks – anywhere they can find space to hop and deliver their packages,” Warfield said, “and that creates dangerous conditions, especially for pedestrians”.
The largest grant of $1,000,000 will go to Metro Mobility, a company that focuses on improving urban transportation. The funds will go to three different models of e-bike ownership and sharing in the Greater Boston area.
Ariel Horowitz says another goal is to electrify the taxi and ride-sharing industries. Horowitz, senior program director focused on clean transportation and technology development with the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, which coordinates the grant program.
The Way Forward Taxi Alliance will receive $500,000 to pilot an incentive program for taxi electrification in Greater Boston, with a focus on minority-owned taxi companies. It will offer direct financial assistance to taxi drivers and companies to help them electrify their fleet.
Horowitz says the program will also make it easier for Uber and Lyft drivers to get electric cars.
“Electric vehicles are especially valuable to taxi and ride-sharing drivers due to reduced operating and maintenance costs, not to mention the increased cost of fuel,” she said.