THE BAKER ADMINISTRATION on Tuesday awarded $5 million for “equitable clean transportation projects,” with a heavy focus on the deployment of electric bicycles in low-income communities and electrification of rideshare vehicles and taxis.
Nearly $3 million of the funding will go to programs promoting e-bike ownership and usage in Greater Boston, the Pioneer Valley, Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Worcester. The city of Boston is getting nearly $500,000 for a pilot project using e-cargo bikes to make deliveries in Allston.
An official at the Clean Energy Center, the agency charged with dispensing the funds, said the environmental justice community is interested in e-bikes as a clean transportation initiative that is affordable for low-income consumers. The official said the commuting range for a non-electric bike is about 2 to 3 miles, while the range for an e-bike is about 10 miles.
Slightly more than $1 million of the grant money will be split between Logan International Airport and the Way Forward Taxi Alliance to incentivize taxi and rideshare drivers to shift to electric vehicles.
A spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Port Authority, which oversees Logan, said over the next two years the airport plans to add charging infrastructure and provide incentives to taxi and rideshare drivers to get them to embrace electric vehicles. One possibility would be to mimic a 2007 Massport initiative that encouraged taxi drivers to adopt hybrid vehicles by offering them “front of the line” privileges so they could get more fares from the airport.
The spokeswoman noted Uber and Lyft plan to convert to electric vehicles by 2030 and Hertz is buying 100,000 Teslas and plans to make half of them available for Uber drivers to rent.
The remaining $1 million will go to educational campaigns promoting electric vehicle adoption run by the Green Energy Consumers Alliance, Quincy Asian Resources, and the Electric Vehicle Discovery Center in Sturbridge