The County of Los Angeles has been a member of the Transportation Electrification Partnership (TEP) since its inception in 2018. Originally, the County’s interest in joining TEP stemmed largely from the Board’s priority to expand zero emissions goods movement, particularly around communities of color most severely impacted by transportation along the I-710 freeway given the huge environmental justice challenge that this corridor represents. Under Supervisor Janice Hahn’s leadership, the County joined TEP to accelerate its own sustainability goals and to demonstrate regional leadership in collaboration with other key stakeholders. “Clean air is a critical issue for all of us, especially the communities that have shouldered the burden of our transportation system and the harmful air pollution that it creates,” said Supervisor Hahn. “For too long we have been told we had to choose between clean air and good jobs. I know that we can and should have both.”
The County has since been instrumental in advancing the bold targets set by the Partnership in our Zero Emissions 2028 Roadmap 2.0 as we work to accelerate transportation electrification and zero emissions goods movement in the Greater Los Angeles region. “Having ambitious partners at the table making ambitious commitments has bolstered our own internal goal setting process and inspired us to be more assertive,” said Gary Gero, Chief Sustainability Officer at LA County.
This assertive goal-setting is reflected in the County’s own regional sustainability plan, known as OurCounty, which highlights 12 key goals focused on equity, accessibility, and sustainability. In particular, goals 7 and 8 emphasize the need for a fossil fuel-free County and achieving a convenient, safe, clean, and affordable transportation system that enhances mobility and quality of life while reducing car dependency. More specifically, the Sustainability Plan set the goal of installing 60,000 new zero-emission vehicle charging stations by 2025, 70,000 by 2035 and achieving 100% of all new light-duty private vehicles as zero emission vehicles by 2045.
Leading the Way in Fleet Purchasing
The County has already shown initiative in this endeavor through an influential policy approved by the Board in April 2021. Through the Board of Supervisors’ Policy Number 3.020, the County has set an example for other regions as they have committed to purchasing zero emission vehicles when replacing all County vehicles, to the extent that they are available and that they meet operational needs. “Zero emission vehicles employ technologies that do exist, are available, and we as a County will take leadership in our purchasing,” said Gero. “This will signal to fleet managers that the future is here and we as a region need to approach this with a new way of thinking.”
This shift in perspective is vital for the region – not only for environmental reasons, but also economic reasons. Southern California is already a leader in cleantech manufacturing, as evidenced by the three electric bus manufacturers (BYD Motors, Proterra, and New Flyer) located in the region. As the largest manufacturing county in the country, LA County seeks to continue creating good, well-paying union jobs that will transform the region to a clean industry. “The cleantech revolution is an economic opportunity for the region that will help us lead the transformation of the LA region’s economy into the 21st century,” said Gero. “As we shift towards a more sustainable future, it will be imperative for us to ensure equity is built into every step of the process.”
Mode Shift Priorities
It is this new way of thinking and leadership that is so vital not only to the implementation of electric vehicle solutions in the region, but also to how we think about the transportation system as a whole. “We need to fundamentally rethink the way we move people and make the alternative just as good, if not better, than single occupancy vehicles,” said Gero. The County highlights this as another key goal in its Sustainability Plan, aiming to increase to at least 15% all trips by foot, bike, micromobility, or public transit by 2025, 30% by 2035, and 50% by 2045. Through participation in TEP and close coordination with other stakeholders, this will be a multi-stakeholder effort that will transform the way we move around the region and think about transportation.
As we reflect on our vision of an electrified transportation system in time for the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games, it is key for stakeholders to think beyond what we believe is possible and shift the global view of Southern California as a car-centric region to one that is leading the way in clean transportation. “Being part of TEP has made us think deeply about what we thought was possible and how we can set goals that stretch the realm of possibility,” said Gero. “What might not be doable today may be doable tomorrow.” With these bold targets in place, we will work to accelerate the necessary change and go further, faster together.
– Shevonne Sua, LACI Transportation Program Assistant
The Transportation Electrification Partnership (TEP) is an unprecedented regional public-private collaboration to accelerate deep reductions in climate and air pollution by the time of the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games. All of our partners have committed to work individually and collectively to pursue policies, pilot projects, and other actions that are equity-driven, create quality jobs, grow the economy, and help the region reach the bold targets in the TEP’s Zero Emissions 2028 Roadmap 2.0.