Car esharing is coming to the barrio, homies. Simón — it's true.
Prius plug-in hybrids don't exactly come with 20-inch rims, but the idea is a good one: The state wants to create environmentally friendly synergy around light rail and bus stops so that lower-income folks dependent on public transportation get a green car when they absolutely need one.
Legislation by California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León of L.A. has helped launch a pilot program that will park as many as
210 100 electric or plug-in hybrid cars for sharing in "disadvantaged communities" throughout the city.
As part of the Car Sharing and Mobility Options in Disadvantaged Communities Pilot Project, Los Angeles is getting $1.6 million. De León and friends will be announcing the award at the relatively new MacArthur Park Apartments development today.
A spokeswoman for the senator says the cost for those who want to run around in an ultra-low- or no-emissions car for an hour or two will be "nominal," although pricing hasn't been set yet.
"The project itself is going to be designed so that the rate that the users would pay would be lower than what the regular market would charge," says Fernando Cazares of the Natural Resources Defense Council, which is helping to coordinate the program.
It could take a while before you see the first cars, though.
A steering committee soon will be launched to figure out how this will work in L.A. Locations for car pickup will be chosen. Charging stations will be installed. It's not even clear yet if the city would foot the electricity bills for the sharing program.
The overall idea, backers say, is to bring the cars to transportation hubs such as the Westlake/MacArthur Park subway station, so that people dependent on public transportation can use a vehicle once in while for runs to Costco, Ikea or the mother in-law's.
McCormack Baron Salazar is the developer of the low- and moderate-income MacArthur Park Apartments, which is planning to break ground on its second phase next year. The developer is interested in hosting a car-share station.
"A lot of people we house are the people riding the buses and trains," says Antonio Bermudez, project manager for McCormack Baron Salazar. "If we can work out something, especially near such transit-oriented development, this makes all the sense in the world."
So we're getting car sharing across the inner city, including
210 100 vehicles, for only $1.6 million? It doesn't seem likely to us. Cazares of the NRDC:
"If we do this model right, the city could go back for more funding and serve more people."
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Luckily the cash is coming from state polluters. De León's office explains:
The Car Sharing and Mobility Options in Disadvantaged Communities Pilot Project, administered by the Air Resources Board (ARB), is made possible by two bills authored by Pro Tem De León, SB 1275 and SB 535, which direct the ARB to invest the state’s cap-and-trade revenue into programs that bring clean air and good jobs to communities disproportionately impacted by climate change and poor environmental quality.
Someday soon, citizens of the barrio, your chariot will await.