From the Governor’s blog:

Gov. Jay Inslee’s 2022 supplemental budget proposes significant funding to reduce poverty, increase housing and resources for homeless individuals, expand K-12 learning supports, invest in clean transportation and green economy, decarbonize buildings, and protect salmon habitat.

The governor released his budget in Olympia on Thursday and was joined by David Schumacher, director of the state Office of Financial Management. The full budget presentation followed three events earlier in the week, with new salmon investmentsclimate strategy investments and homelessness funding.

The climate strategy includes lots of electrical decarbonization efforts, including a $1,000 tax credit rebate for e-bikes, and up to $7,500 for electric cars. There’s also an unspecified investment in “clean bus technology, and improvements to transit, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.”

On the housing front, there’s $800M to build new affordable housing and help people stay in their homes, and, of note to our readers, a proposal to legalize “missing middle” housing types:

Inslee is proposing a change to statewide policy that would allow for creation of a greater variety of “middle housing” types such as duplexes and townhomes in areas within a half mile of major transit stops in large cities. This change will also allow duplexes in most areas of large and mid-size cities. The state will provide technical assistance, including developing a model ordinance, to help cities implement these new measures.

One can dream that eventually “housing” and “climate” will cease to be discrete initiatives in the minds of our politicians (and voters). But good stuff nonetheless. On to the legislature.

More reporting and commentary: Seattle Times, Publicola, The Urbanist.

70 Replies to “Inslee’s housing and climate proposals”

  1. One correction: the proposed EV subsidies would be rebates, not tax credits.

    $100M in rebates would be 100k e-bikes, or 14k e-cars, every year. I’d like to see that $100M come out of WSDOT’s apparently infinite budget, personally, since it could easily be found by canceling or postponing some of their new freeway construction (SR509 is fine without the extension, thanks). They have plenty of money for maintenance – it’s the new construction that is unnecessary.

    For reference, A quick search says about half a million ebikes were sold in the US last year, and about 200k e-cars. If the point of the rebate is to bring EV’s (bikes and cars) to price parity, I guess that kinda works.

    I know I’d strongly consider getting a RAD mission bike for about $100 of sales taxes with the $1k rebate, even if just to have a backup bike or a loaner when friends or family are visiting.

    1. I’m sorry, but I hate “eBikes”, at least when they’re ridden on shared trails. They’re way too heavy and fast to mix with pedestrians. They are in fact, “motor vehicles”.

      They’re fine in bike lanes or sharrow streets, but please do not ride them on trails shared with pedestrians.

      1. Hopefully getting more e-bikes out there creates the political constituency for more bike lanes.

      2. Heavy? The difference between a bike weighing 20-40 pounds and an e-bike weighing 50-70 pounds is about 10-20% of the rider’s weight, or a box of beer headed to a BBQ.

        Fast? There are plenty of unpowered bikes zooming along at 15-20 mph on a nice day, as well. Maybe e-bikes make these speeds more accessible, but I’m happy to see more people out on e-bikes than staying home. Speed on shared paths is a matter of respect and safety, no more or less so than on automotive roadways.

        If you’re telling me I shouldn’t be able to ride an e-bike along the BG between Ballard and Fremont, I’m open to suggestions for a safer route for all involved.

        But if you’re being honest about your perception of ebike impacts, your “hate” for e-bikes is severely misplaced – what you’re hating is the fact that there aren’t enough non-car paths for faster rides to take when the few multi-use trails get crowded.

      3. TT, ebikes are slow. I rode my Mini from RadPower’s store to UW Station when I got it, going at the speed limit the entire time along the Burke-Gilman Trail. I was passed by more bicycles than I passed myself. And some places lower the speed limit even more, with one trail in Renton down to 10 mph. These are Class 2 ebikes, with a built in limiter on speed. They are also the most common ebikes in the US. Due to weight and safety concerns, ebikes are slowed down by the sellers before customers buy them.

      4. TT has a point we see on Mercer Island, which has a lot of mixed-use trails.

        E-bikes are often ridden by less experienced bicyclists and allow speeds on inclines which pedestrians don’t expect. Riders treat them like new toys in traffic. They are heavy too so can cause serious injuries to a pedestrian in a collision.

        They tend to result in a lot of passing, even in bad areas like on the East Channel Bridge, which is terrifying on a bike to cross. On flats or declines the E-bikes are slower than regular road bikes, and on inclines sometimes faster, so you have bicyclists passing one another, which puts them into the oncoming lane, as the ordinary paved width of a mixed use trail under WSDOT guidelines is 10′-12′, (with 2′ gravel shoulders on each side under the crazy assumption pedestrians who have the right of way and pay no attention on a mixed use trail will use the gravel path).

        E-bike use is growing, at least in my community, but I would put around 95% of that use as recreational, and simply a replacement for a regular bike, so you get less exercise I guess before a beer at the Roanoke.

        The issue with electric cars right now is the same issue with all new and used cars: inflation. Car prices are up over 20%, so whatever subsidy the government is offering is more than offset by inflation (which has hit every good so reduces the spending capacity of nearly every American). If all cars are 20% to 25% more expensive today than any extra cost for an EV will have a significant impact on what a buyer can purchase.

        I personally think electric cars are the solution for carbon emissions because fundamentally an electric car is better than a combustion engine if battery distance and charging times are equal, which is why I also thought it was unwise for transit and urbanists to use global warming to eliminate cars: all that has really done is accelerate the electrification of buses, which has reduced the budgets for operations.

        An electric car does not ask the user of a car to sacrifice anything, which is key. Car drivers are never going to switch to E-bikes because they drive cars and SUV’s and trucks for valid reasons. An EV has to provide the exact same quality and experience, or better, or car drivers won’t purchase them. Today the quality is the same or better.

        Electric cars will take off if price is competitive. A little longer battery range, better charging and more stations, federal and state subsidies, and more shifting among manufacturers to EV’s, will eventually move buyers into EV’s, which is good, although EV’s won’t increase transit ridership or rezone areas to create urbanist utopias if they don’t already exist.

        If you are an environmentalist your major concern today is inflation, and the increased cost of all cars.

      5. Dan: IPCC, 2014, says a BEV running on the low end of electric carbon intensity has about the same CO2eq/p-km (CO2 equivalent per passenger-kilometer) as a new all-diesel bus. An all-electric bus is obviously much better, but as many have noted, requires new infrastructure. It’s fortunate BEV’s don’t require any new charging infrastructure, though, otherwise that math just wouldn’t work out in BEV’s favor.

        Page 27, Table 8.3:

        It’s not a mistake to prioritize mass transit over electrifying cars, because cars and transit are fundamentally opposite in their required civil geometry. Cars are like a gas, increasing to fill the available volume, requiring the maximum space available for movement and storage, forcing people to live in larger homes with garages further apart from each other and further from their jobs. Cars inherently require the horizontal growth of civilization, intruding on undeveloped space.

        Meanwhile, mass transit requires levels of density such that enough humans with varied interests overlap within a walkable distance (~0.5 miles) that allows most people access to the businesses of interest either near their workplace or their home, or along one of a few convenient transit routes. Since most people would be personally fulfilled by having all services of interest within walking distance, instead of having to drive everywhere, it is the great mistake of the 20th century that suburban lifestyles were made to be the norm.

        With carbon budget and mental health in mind, it’s simple math to advocate to allow for more people to have the option to live independent of cars. You’ll find few are serious these days about any attempts to “Ban Cars,” since the moral panic about the “War on Cars” draws about as much unfounded fury as Starbucks’ holiday cups.

      6. The IPCC report does not appear to explicitly state what sort of occupancy rate it’s using to calculate the CO2/passenger-km.

        I would submit that adding marginal diesel bus capacity on KCM’s suburban routes would lead to very low ridership and very high emissions per rider.

        Whereas EVs have extremely low emissions on our current fuel mix, and that’s scheduled to get even better in the next few years as Transalta and Colstrip close and coal is pushed off the grid.

      7. Nathan, I think you just made my case why it was a mistake to run Link from Everett to Tacoma to Redmond, in many cases at the expense of more urban areas. The three-county area we are talking about is simply huge. We will never reach population levels to truly urbanize but a very small portion.

        I have lived in London, Dublin, NYC for a short period, and Seattle for many, many years. Even Seattle from the UW to the International District is not very “urban”. You can live without a car but you are going to have to walk a lot. The downtown core should have the greatest density, but that is not the case today.

        Urban utopias need: 1. safe streets; 2. population/work density to create; 3. retail density. Without the street vibrancy what is the point of density and urbanism?

        Even those of us who live in suburbia — mostly for schools and the SFH zones — like vibrant urbanism. I like to go to downtown Bellevue, and use to like to go to downtown Seattle, to dine or shop. I want folks on the street (no matter how they got there), and lots of shops and restaurants. Retail density is critical.

        This is why I prefer Bellevue’s zoning model over Seattle’s. Bellevue draws a tight boundary (in some cases dictated by past agreements that formed the Bellevue Council) and then dramatically increases density in that zone so people throughout the region want to come to that zone, and requires street retail. Sure I guess a developer could build “middle housing” downtown, but with a 660′ height limit why?

        The safe streets in Bellevue, tons of underground parking and virtually no street parking, strong job market, transit access, and high-end residential housing create an incredible retail/restaurant density. Some from Seattle might see it as a little sterile or suburban, and it is compared to the old Seattle, but the old Seattle downtown as an option is gone.

        After Bellevue you get to true suburban “urbanism”, Issaquah, very popular but very unwalkable.

        Instead I feel like Seattle has given up on its downtown core, and instead wants to disperse any kind of density over a 70-mile-long city, which will never create the urban population and retail density to create a true urban setting. I don’t want to take transit or drive to a Seattle residential neighborhood to shop at a corner grocery store. I want to go to Westlake and have it humming, like it used to do, and feel safe walking to the Pike Place Market, day or night.

        Taking transit always gets more difficult the farther you are from the urban core. Essentially in this undense area once you go outside Seattle or downtown Seattle you are talking commuter transit, and I am not sure the commuter is coming back. Big deal, but what is a big deal is the loss of downtown Seattle as a world class city with a world class urban experience. Transit is not the problem there.

        When you get into upzoning to create affordable housing, that is an entirely different issue. The two keys there are the price of the underlying land is the number one issue (when generally the greater the density of the zone the more expensive it is per sf), and the cost of new construction if not publicly subsidized is never affordable, because a builder does not intend it to be. You also run into the prohibitive cost to run transit to newly upzoned but undense areas, and never achieve any kind of population density to create retail density. It isn’t like Blue Ridge is going to become Brooklynn.

        If people insist on driving, which they do, and you want to eliminate carbon emissions with as little political resistance as possible, subsidize electric cars. And buses too, but with fixed transit budgets the cost of accelerating electrification comes from operations. E-bikes to me are mostly a recreational toy when it comes to carbon emissions, and simply replace another truly zero carbon emission form of transit, non E-bikes, so I am not sure the point of subsidizing E-bikes from a carbon emission point of view.

      8. @Ron; the point of the comparison was that advocating for density increases that would allow a diesel bus to serve a neighborhood would be, in transportation-related carbon cost, similar to converting all SOVs to low-carbon electric. If the neighborhood could be served by an electric bus, then the point is moot; dense housing and dense transit wins, hands down.

        @Dan; your entire argument is based on your belief that PSRC’s population growth estimates are wrong, which must mean that you’re secretly an expert social geographer/economist with incredible insight into future social migration patterns that the actual professionals don’t have. In the meantime, your advocacy would lead to all newcomers only finding housing on the 40th floor of some downtown tower. There are so many inherent problems in your City in a Suburban Garden perversion of Le Corbusier’s already-problematic vision, it’s hard to find where to start.

        I don’t want Seattle to become NYC-West. I want Seattle to be a city that has enough housing that anyone moving here could reasonably save enough to afford to buy without significant generational wealth, and can ride a bike or catch a bus or train to work or play. Cars can be fun, but they take up far too much room to be anywhere near reasonable for normal commuters in a sustainable built environment, and that is an indisputable fact.

      9. @Daniel Thompson, your vitriol hurled at ebikes makes no sense. In King County, ebikes are limited to only 15 mph. That’s uphill or downhill. On flat surfaces and declines, many pedal bikes exceed 25 mph and even uphill exceed 15 mph. Ebikes do not cause excessive passing. If anything, their stable speeds (especially for pedal assist bikes) reduce passing. And at 15 mph, collisions are uncommon as well as relatively safe. Furthermore, while they do provide significantly less exercise than pedal only bikes, pedal assist ebikes provide significantly more exercise than walking alone.

        “so you get less exercise I guess before a beer at the Roanoke.”

        Really? This is pithy and blatant stereotyping, well below your standards. Do better. Be better.

      10. “I don’t want Seattle to become NYC-West. I want Seattle to be a city that has enough housing that anyone moving here could reasonably save enough to afford to buy without significant generational wealth, and can ride a bike or catch a bus or train to work or play. Cars can be fun, but they take up far too much room to be anywhere near reasonable for normal commuters in a sustainable built environment, and that is an indisputable fact.”

        I respect your vision but the goal is reducing carbon emissions. EV’s have all the advantages of gas cars but none of the emissions, and require zero change in lifestyle of drivers. They are already produced, and have equal or better quality than gas cars. If we try to change the way 90% of the region’s population lives or gets around to solve carbon emissions we will never get anywhere, especially if we need to wait 20 or 30 years for upzoning to kick in. It is like telling folks to stop using electricity rather than finding greener ways to produce electricity.

        You can ride a bike today (and just about everyone on Mercer Island does own a bike and rides it), live without a car, live in a dense neighborhood, and take transit most places although it might take longer. That is your choice, although relatively few in this region choose it if they can afford not to.

        Once we shift drivers to EV’s we can look at your other visions, although I don’t see how EV’s will incentivize drivers to shift to transit. Just the opposite I would imagine. All those drivers will feel so green. But the goal is to reduce carbon emissions, not create an urbanist utopia.

        Your vision of affordable home ownership in Seattle or the eastside today is relative I guess, and unrelated to carbon emissions, but if you are banking on non-publicly subsidized new construction it won’t be “affordable”, certainly for a single person, certainly not in expensive residential neighborhoods.

        The current housing prices are never going down unless there is a deep depression, and at most the rate of increase might slow. So if they are not affordable to buy now they won’t be affordable tomorrow.

        If anyone has been realistic about this it is Tom Terrific: my advice is don’t move to a very expensive city like San Francisco or New York or Boston expecting to buy a house or even condo unless you are high salaried, and likely have a second income with a spouse or partner, and probably money from selling your prior place. Migration trends show most workers are taking that advice.

        The Wall St. Journal had an interesting article yesterday. It stated it is Millennial couples, and their accumulated wealth, who are driving the current housing boom for SFH’s, which was always coming but was accelerated by Covid. Considering Millennials, after boomers, now make up the largest demographic, and can vote, I am not sure they want to change their new neighborhoods.

        According to the article the Boomers will transfer $63 trillion in wealth as they die over the next 20 years, and some of that right now is helping their children and grandchildren buy a SFH, because Millennials like most generations make up their minds all at the same time, which creates scarcity, and today they want a SFH, and some have saved for it, sole their condo, or got a loan from mom and dad, which is probably something I can look forward to after I get done paying for college and graduate school. At that point my wife and I might just need some of that very small and dense affordable housing, but if you decide to have kids apparently you have to see it through death, but at my age there are so few other things that bring me any true joy and satisfaction other than my kids (and garden).

      11. I will be better A Joy.

        I have nothing against bikes, or E-bikes. I own a few bikes and ride recreationally. I am specifically speaking about mixed use paths through parks, especially the lid park behind my house which has a steep decline and a 12′ width with grass shoulders. The issue was bike/pedestrian conflicts, but the addition of E-bikes has added an addtional layer of conflict

        WSDOT gave the city a $500,000 grant for traffic calming measures through the lid park, but we are not sure what to do. Some (pedestrians) want to ban bikes through this part of the park even though it is part of the sound to mountain trail, some want round abouts, some want other traffic calming measures, some want signs and voluntary compliance but that hasn’t worked so well, and bicyclists wanted a dedicated trail that was rejected due to cost and the amount of trees and green space it would destroy. The shelter in place rules exacerbated a lot of these issues in parks because the number of users increased.

        I simply posted what the serious bicyclists at the meeting stated. I get the impression serious road bikers — both recreational and commuting — don’t like E-bikes, or respect them very much, and think they are a danger on the path because their speeds are not consistent: too slow downhill or on flats, too fast on hills (and I live on N. Mercer Way and have seen serious road bikers pull away from me at 30 mph uphill).

        Last I saw pre-pandemic, bikes made up around 2% of regional trips, so bikes are not the solution to global warming, especially converting regular bikes to E-bikes.

        As far as a beer after biking, visit N. Mercer Way next to the Roanoke, especially on a Thursday evening (or Thu through Sun during the summer). Getting a beer at the Roanoke after putting your bike back on your car rack is a very popular activity, and I can’t blame them since I am also getting a beer and I didn’t even ride around the Island.

      12. ” I get the impression serious road bikers — both recreational and commuting — don’t like E-bikes, or respect them very much, and think they are a danger on the path because their speeds are not consistent: too slow downhill or on flats, too fast on hills (and I live on N. Mercer Way and have seen serious road bikers pull away from me at 30 mph uphill).”

        So road bikers don’t like ebikes because the road bikers’ speeds are not consistent? That makes absolutely no sense. That’s saying you don’t like someone else’s behavior because of problems caused by your own behavior. Ebike speeds are very consistent, especially with a pedal assist system. Wattage is varied to maintain an average speed, especially at the speed limit of the bike (which on Rad bikes can be changed in the system to anything between 15 and 25 mph and comes set to 20 mph). Wouldn’t the inconsistent behavior be the one in question?

        “As far as a beer after biking, visit N. Mercer Way next to the Roanoke, especially on a Thursday evening (or Thu through Sun during the summer). Getting a beer at the Roanoke after putting your bike back on your car rack is a very popular activity, and I can’t blame them since I am also getting a beer and I didn’t even ride around the Island.”

        I hate to break it to you, but the activity at The Roanoke on MI is not indicative of the majority of bike riders, ebike or pedal only, on MI or in King County as a whole. Yet you seem quite comfortable portraying bike riders in general as drunkards with questionable ethics (this is 2021 after all; If you’re going to drink, use some form of transportation other than a SOV).

      13. E-bikes have been fine in central Seattle; I can’t say about Mercer Island. I encountered one yesterday on the sidewalk going uphill, but he stopped for me as a pedestrian so that was fine. I didn’t even think it was an e-bike until I realized he wasn’t pedaling hard uphill, and then I looked at the tires.

        Stand-up scooters and segways have also been fine, and skateboards mostly fine. When scooter rentals first came I was concerned about them being dangerous on the sidewalk, but they really haven’t been. They’re mostly in the street, and when they’re on the sidewalk they remain at pedestrian speed. The biggest problem with rental scooters is being parked in poor places. Sometimes one is blocking a sidewalk and I have to move it. Once one was right in front of the back door of a bus when I was getting out, although to be fair it was a dirt strip and I doubt anybody thought there would ever be a bus door there; I wouldn’t have.

      14. Nathan, you have a non-motorized bike that weighs 40 pounds???? I do know that there are “freight bikes” used in developing countries that approach that, but I can not imagine anyone in Seattle using such a rolling brick.

        A Joy, you are a very socially conscious person, so I believe that you have the speed-limiter on your bike turned down to 15 in compliance with Seattle’s ordinance.

        But most others obviously have it turned up. I was walking on the shorefront pedestrian trail about a week ago when two eBikes came bombing through the folks on the trail, weaving and shouting “on your left” or right as they swept along. They each almost hit one person (a different person for each of them) and were obviously angered that the peds didn’t react quickly enough.

        Anecdata? Sure, but it’s not the only time I have felt threatened by them, just the most recent.

        They are MOTOR VEHICLES.

      15. TT, most Rad users don’t know how to adjust their speed limiter. It isn’t in the manual, requiring checking their FB group or YouTube. That’s assuming the user is aware it can be changed. Which does admittedly mean they can go as fast as 20 mph, but that’s it. Hardly an excessive speed, especially when you have pedal bikes readily exceeding 30 mph daily on local trails.

        Class 1 and 2 ebikes are not motor vehicles under the law. Even with the changes to legislation back in 2019. IIRC Class 3 are (and are not allowed on sidewalks), but Class 2 ebikes are by far the most common models sold and used.

  2. What can we do as Transit enthusiasts to help improve Transit ridership in 2022 with ridership continuing to be down 50 to 60 percent from 2019 averages. Can anything be done? And now office reopenings are being pushed back again to spring 2022!

    1. The routes I ride regularly (44, 62, E, Link) are SRO at least occasionally so it seems like ridership is returning. The 44 especially is benefiting from SPS’s lack of school bus drivers as there are tons of kids getting on in the afternoon in Wallingford. I think getting school kids onto transit is one great outcome of the pandemic, and should be continued (there must be some conduct training in school, because they’re all well-behaved and even ask before sitting next to you).

      Other things that would help would be congestion tolling, raising the gas tax, and reducing employer parking requirements.

    2. This is going to sounds like snarky BS, but I honestly think the best thing to do to help transit is to get vaccinated and boosted and encourage others (respectfully!) to do the same.

      1. Agreed.

        New South Wales is up to about 97% vaccinated and recording days with 0 deaths.

        Once the USA actually starts to take things seriously, it’ll be easy for things to go back to normal.

    3. I was an avid bus rider before Covid but haven’t resumed bus riding. Part of this is that I’m now 77. But, again, having a bus on 1st or Alaskan Way would help. It’s really hard to believe that a major city like Seattle would not have bus service to Pike Place Market, Seattle Art Museum, Aquarium, etc. If the excuse re the Market is that street traffic slows the buses, we’ll so be it. Why should downtown residents and visitors suffer just so people can get to Ballard a few minutes faster?

      1. The waterfront renovation includes transit assumptions, and recommends a battery bus or battery minibus on Alaskan Way. The city is just slow-walking it until after construction is complete, and still hasn’t identified a funding source. This has been common with Link and RapidRide projects: everyone can suffer for years or decades until the the new projects finally come.

  3. The Seattle Times reports that $500M of the remaining $1B federal COVID money the state has will be transferred to WSDOT to keep some big highway projects going. Inslee might say that he cares about climate change, but his actions say otherwise.

  4. including a $1,000 tax credit for e-bikes

    And the tax credits for regular bikes? Oh right, we now live in the movie Idiocracy.

    1. Regular bikes are cheap enough there’s no need for a tax credit. E-bikes are a significant investment for the consumer but significantly more capable in a hilly region.

    2. Call me skeptical, but my personal opinion is that, simply subsidizing the purchase of bikes for middle-class people won’t make much of a dent. In particular, I think it’s nearly inevitable that a lot of the bikes bought with the subsidies will just end up rusting away in the garage while the owners continue to drive their gas powered cars for every single trip.

      I think a better use of the money would be towards improving conditions on the roads to make cycling of all types safer, with any purchase subsidies being tightly targeted to low-income populations.

      1. I think it’s meant to help a lot of on-the-fence potential buyers who are intimidated by the extra ~$1k that adding a motor to a bike costs (a good hub motor is about $500, and the common “shark” profile battery that RAD uses is about $500, and then you have some wiring to do).

        From my experience, the availability of an e bike doesn’t really reduce car trips, but does enable more mobility for short jaunts out of the house that people would normally avoid riding because of the sweat/exercise factor. However, there are many workplaces that don’t offer showers in their bathrooms, so an e-bike could convert a commute if the sweat factor was the main thing stopping someone from biking to work.

    3. I’m curious what the life expectancy of an e-bike is.

      With rebates this large, I’d be tempted to suggest another approach. Perhaps an e-bike lottery give-away? Perhaps a usage rebate (based on a GPS VMT) rather then a one-time rebate? Otherwise, it just artificially raises the prices across the state.

      What about e-bikes from out-of-state?

      Finally, I generally feel that rebates that substantially pay for the cost of something end up going to buyers who less appreciate and use the product. It does more for the environment to get the e-bike in the hands of someone that needs it and will use it rather than someone who can afford to accumulate things and leave it unused in a garage.

      1. Most e-bikes are $2-4k, so it’s not quite making the bikes free, but I think there’s a sort of outsized emotional response to getting a rebate on a perceived luxury item since people largely still consider bikes to be solely for recreation, not transportation. RAD is an outlier with their price, but it’s because they put out less expensive designs (heavy steel frames, bolt-on batteries, hub motors).

        My hope is that a significant percentage (ideally all, but obviously that’s not realistic) of e-bike purchasers would use them to replace some number of trips they would have otherwise have done by car, like small grocery runs and getting around otherwise unwalkable neighborhoods.

  5. I can’t help but feel that one-time rebates are a bad idea. It seems to favor buying new, meaning that the benefit falls to wealthier people (as lower income people buy used vehicles).

    The alternative would seem to be offering smaller annual rebates through auto tag renewals.

    There is a huge equity issue looming here.

    1. There’s a $5,000 rebate for used vehicles. Pretty generous. The problem is the limited supply of used electric cars. Offering a generous rebate for new EVs gets wealthier current EV owners to trade in and increases the used supply.

      1. I get that the EV fleet is small and new. However, the trickle-down approach still seems quite favorable to the wealthy.

      2. Yeah, I think the $5k for used vehicles is really interesting, especially considering one can find a used Nissan Leaf for like $7k today.

  6. From the housing policy brief (

    Passing a new statewide policy to allow a variety of “middle housing” types in our cities is one of the most impactful things we can do to restore housing supply and encourage affordable homeownership. We will
    increase housing by allowing duplexes, triplexes and quads on all lots within a half mile of major transit stops in large cities. We will also allow lot-splitting
    and duplexes on all lots in large and midsize cities and support anti-displacement measures required under recently enacted legislation (HB 1220). The state
    will provide technical assistance, including a model ordinance, to help cities implement these required measures. Increasing “middle housing” opportunities
    will make it easier for front-line workers to live within the communities they serve, for seniors to age in place, and it will address community equity and
    environmental objectives. ($3.5 million GF-S)

    If I remember correctly, there have been several state-wide “upzoning” ordinances on the docket over the last couple years, all of which died in the legislature before voting. Does Inslee have that much sway over the Legislature that they’d actually approve this supplemental budget whole and deliver the bill to his desk next year?

    I also find interesting the continued debate between advocates/providers for homeless people and municipalities regarding Tiny House Villages. I know our local tiny-house builder, Sound Foundations NW, is experiencing rapid increases in output, and it seems LIHI has gotten management of the THVs going smoothly. The recent slow-sweeps of Ballard Commons and Bitter Lake, during which most of the long-term residents got referrals for housing over a couple months prior to the full sweeps last week, seems to have been effective in getting people into two new THVs and off the streets. With more 0% AMI supportive housing opening soon, hopefully the streets-to-stability pipeline will widen enough to help all those who need it, when they need it.

    1. The state’s terminology is causing confusion. “Missing middle” housing is the gap between single-family houses and large apartment buildings: ADUs, duplexes, tri-/quadriplexes, row houses, small apartment buildings with 4-8 units, 1-2 story courtyard apartments, and SROs/microapartments/rooming houses. These were common until the 1970s when increaing zoning restrictions, permitting restrictions, and permitting delays made them infeasible to build. The regulations should return to their 1970s or 1950s levels at least.

      “Missing middle” housing refers to the building’s size and shape, not directly to its price. Smaller units and less yard tend to cost less than full-sized detached houses, but I wouldn’t call them definitely more affordable in the sense of being available to the lower middle class. That depends on supply and demand, and we have a decades-long severe supply shortage that will require an all-of-the-above approach and several years to alleviate.

      Tiny houses are based on existing off-the-shelf prefab houses that manufacturers have been selling a trickle of for several years. My friend with a large lot in Rainier View was considering a second house and surveyed the manufacturers; they said they don’t sell much in the Seattle city limits because regulations are so burdensome.

  7. “One can dream that eventually “housing” and “climate” will cease to be discrete initiatives in the minds of our politicians (and voters). But good stuff nonetheless. On to the legislature.”

    Don’t hold your breath. Whereas the connection between electric cars and carbon emissions is pretty clear, many of us see very little correlation between zoning and carbon emissions.

    Studies that show suburbs have higher carbon emissions per person are all based on the carbon emitted to commute to urban centers for work. During the pandemic there has been little change in technology, and yet carbon emissions declined significantly.

    Once you factor in EV’s, WFH, at least in this region a switch away from eastsiders commuting into Seattle for work, the actual number of individuals living in a SFH vs. the number of “legal dwelling units” in an urban area, and even light rail from the suburbs to urban centers, and diesel buses, the carbon emissions based on zoning are the same.

    Plus people’s zoning desires always trump carbon emissions and even work locations, although now eastsiders have much better options to avoid commuting to downtown Seattle.

    The keys to Inslee’s zoning proposal are: 1. the population threshold for a city (or neighborhood) to comply; and 2. what is a “major” transit stop to trigger upzoning.

    After the showdown over housing growth targets through 2044 on the eastside I am not sure eastside politicians want to force upzoning on their citizens. I doubt Harrell wants to tell his voters he is upzoning their SFH zone.

    For example, Bellevue is more than 25,000 residents, but its neighborhoods are quite diverse. On Mercer Island, Inslee’s rule would upzone the residential neighborhood north of N. Mercer Way with some VERY expensive homes and powerful residents, for a train they never wanted, and few will use. Is the southend going to upzone because the 204 serves the south end shopping center, in a land with 15,000 sf lot minimums? Doubt it.

    Change the population limit to 30,000 and I have no objection since Mercer Island’s population — which the PSRC stated in 2014 we were not supposed to reach until post 2050 except for a very bad past council — is 26,000. But once you set a limit every city that is below the limit will do everything it can to stay below that limit, which defeats the point of increasing housing. Mercer Island may have to get rid of 1000 residents. It was pretty clear during the recent housing growth allocations through 2044 eastside cities are going to claim in their next comp. plan rewrite they are “built out”, and will not upzone for more citizens.

    It is important to understand the basis for the reluctance to this kind of upzoning. On Mercer Island we allow an ADU or DADU on any lot. But the real questions are whether the GFA for the ADU or DADU count against the total limit for GFA to lot area ratio, and whether the property owner must live in one of the units.

    If you change either of these you lose the character of a suburban neighborhood because the trees and vegetation are paved over, the yard setbacks are eliminated, building have greater height, cars litter the streets like in Seattle, and you go from an owner occupied SFH zone to a transient rental zone with a property owner who really doesn’t care, except for the rent. No wonder the Master Builder’s Assoc is in bed with Democrats on this issue.

    The term “middle housing” misses the entire issue. It isn’t the size of the housing, it is the cost. Upzoning the neighborhood north of N. Mercer Way will create new, smaller million-dollar condos, but is that the goal of middle housing? You simply can’t mix housing types in one zone and expect them to co-exist. For example, you could allow middle housing in downtown Seattle or downtown Bellevue — which is a downzone — but who would build it? Whatever is the greatest use will get built, for the money.

    Finally, who pays for all the additional costs increased populations — especially renters — bring to a city. This is a very contentious issue for cities whose property levies are limited to 1% increases/year when inflation is running at 6% (really 15% if you use the CPI formula from the 1970’s).

    More people mean more schools, roads, water and sewer lines, police and fire, social services, you name it. It is why tax rates per individual go up as the city increases in size, until you get to the top, NYC. Who does this impact the most? The elderly on fixed income who still live in their family home.

    I don’t think Inslee will get the suburbs to sign onto his zoning proposal, unless he increases the population to trigger the zoning to something like 100,000, but my guess is Harrell will be lobbying against it in the background, and if Inslee can’t get the suburbs to sign on — the classic story of who determines elections — it won’t pass.

    1. With respect to capital costs, there are economies of scale to infrastructure your argument ignores. NYC has particularly high tax rates for reasons that have nothing to do with the size of the city (historical pension commitments, symbiotic relationship between city agencies and contractors verging on outright graft, crazy union work rules, etc.)

    2. Daniel, your dream of SFH from Sound to Summit and Nisqually to Skagit is an environmental catastrophe even if everyone drives EV’s, 100%. Our human footprint is too hard, too big and too implacable. Other life can only to squeeze in around it.

      Better we all suffer major inconvenience than that your vision continue to hold sway. We simply must live closer together and leave SOME of the unique Puget- Willamette Lowland biome intact.

      1. I wish Americans viewed small town, exurban, & rural life more like the British, where ‘nature’ is ‘something beautiful that includes human habitation, agriculture, and other economically productive uses” rather than the American definition of “landscape when people and their activities are excluded.”

        There is no part of the Puget- Willamette Lowland biome that is ‘wild,’ so keeping it ‘intact’ is a fool’s errands. It’s also not particularly unique or special, so I would much rather make the Puget- Willamette Lowland a vibrant and sustainable place for people, rather than carve off little bits and pretend those areas contain the prelapsarian biome. Spaces like the Nisqually wildlife refuge play an important role in the region’s environmental health, but in the context of making the region vibrant *for* people, not *in spite of* people.

      2. AJ, I strongly disagree. It is unique in its biodiversity. It supports plants and animals which reach their farthest northern or southern range here, because of its mild climate. It is reliably watered even during relative droughts, so otherwise rare and moisture-dependent fern, shrub and tree species and amphibians are benefited. Some few species of amphibian are found only here; globally amphibians are in great danger because of our tendency to foul any waters we see.

        There are over seven billion people in the world today. Other than perhaps starlings and English sparrows there is no bird that approaches that, and no fully wild mammal larger than six or eight inches in length. Sure there are billions of cows, pigs and chickens — being grown for us to eat, lucky them.

        Other species were here first and our legal system should recognize that. You are generally a thoughtful and fair-minded poster here; I enjoy reading what you have to say and often agree. But your cavalier attitude that human comfort and convenience trumps other species’ fundamental right to exist is just another example of the unthinking, narcissistic selfishness of human beings.

      3. Tom, are you advocating that the Puget Willamette valley be designated a National Park or wilderness area, which would require compensating the private land holders there? Or some other kind of zoning?

        The U.S. is around 2.3 billion total acres. 1/3 or roughly 640 million acres are owned by the U.S. government. The other 2/3 are owned by Indian Nations, states, and private property owners. 7-8 million private farm and ranch owners own 95% of private property in 14-17 million private parcels. Cities and residential areas make up around 3% of total U.S. acres.

        Every parcel in the U.S. is already zoned. The connection you see between greater urban and suburban density and preservation of the ecosystem just does not exist.

        For example, if you really want to induce suburban and exurban sprawl run a light rail line from Everett to Tacoma to Redmond, because most of the property in that shed is privately owned for development. Or like recent progressive legislation allow counties to upzone rural zones to allow three different houses per lot rather than one. a massive subdivision in these areas, with exemptions for suburban cities if they wanted, which they did to protect their zoning.

        What you are really arguing for is not upzoning suburban or exurban areas but down zoning more rural areas that are in private ownership and have already been zoned.

        I think AJ is correct: not only would it be cost prohibitive to downzone these areas — or to prevent any development — but my guess is conservationists and environmentalists would tell us this is not critical habitat to preserve (say as opposed to the Olympic National Park) and the zoning restrictions today that require anywhere from 60% to 90% of the parcel to be pervious and vegetated as a SFH zone is adequate for the environment (excluding grizzly bears and wolves). You should be more concerned about the massive loss of trees and vegetation from upzoning SFH lots.

        If the argument for upzoning suburban and exurban areas is the “environment”, or global warming, the land is already privately held and zoned for some kind of development. Since the main differential in carbon emissions between urban and suburban areas is commuting to work in the urban centers then build light rail, run electric buses, convert to EV’s, or best of all WFH.

        Great Britain is much older in the U.S as is most of Europe, and so those countries never reserved the huge amount of undeveloped land the U.S. did, including prohibiting farming and ranching, and that is where the true biodiversity is. So as AJ notes the European residents co-exist with their farm and ranch lands, and undeveloped lands, differently than we do. .

        There are legitimate debates over the use of our public lands, but there is little risk that the amount of acres devoted to cities or living in the U.S. is much of a factor for our overall environment, and exclusive of immigration the U.S. like most first world countries has a negative growth rate, which in 30 years will be the big issue when the proportion of young to old is too great to subsidize the old.

      4. Daniel, no, I’m not advocating that Western Washington and Oregon become a “National Park”. I am advocating the German system of “hard edges” for urbanized areas of all sizes, instead of the constant leakage of residences and buildings into the hinterland.

        Oregon’s UGB’s are much stricter than are Washington’s, and it shows up on the landscape. For instance, there’s a gap between the development between Hillsboro and North Plains that simply wouldn’t exist if they were in Washington state.

        Land which is zoned agriculturally should not have people living on it and traveling daily to work elsewhere. The people who live on it should be growing or raising farm products of value. The same should be true of “forest” land. Hundreds of thousands of people are living in these edge locations and depending on commuting to communities for their subsistence. Most of them manage the land as “scrap” covered with invasive species.

        The sprawl that ruined the land can’t really be undone, but it can be stopped from ruining new places.

      5. Continuing.

        I realize that is an implicit “downzone” and the folks now living there would have to be compensated for losing their rural lifestyle. But it would mean that the not insignificant number of people who WOULD like to live the rural “organic” lifestyle would have land on which to farm. If people couldn’t just live on viable agricultural land and leave it to weeds, there would be more available for people who desire that “craft farming” lifestyle.

        Is this “favoritism”, yes. But it would increase the supply of locally grown healthy food, which would at least make it more available for everyone else. Who doesn’t love a Farmers’ Market?

      6. “Land which is zoned agriculturally should not have people living on it and traveling daily to work elsewhere. The people who live on it should be growing or raising farm products of value.”

        Euclidean zoning is bad policy, both in urban settings and rural settings. It should be possible for land to be used for residential and recreational use while also being regularly harvested for lumber.

  8. Would a statewide zoning change override any local zoning laws? Does the GMA have the power to mandate that? Sounds like a very good idea to me, but not nearly enough.

  9. Do Inslee’s proposals have anything for transit? A proper climate plan would spend at least as much on transit expansion as on electric car vouchers. Otherwise the only people who benefit are car owners, and it gives them no incentive to switch from driving. The biggest reason drivers don’t take transit is it’s too infrequent, doesn’t go where they’re going, is unreliable, etc. So fix those and ridership will increase, as it has in every jurisdiction that has tried it. Including Seattle and Pugetopolis in the mid 2010s when they made large investments in transit expansion and improvement. Even if electric cars with renewable energy eliminate their pollution problems, cars still have geometric impacts that need to be addressed by incentivizing less car use.

  10. State Republicans’ transportation proposal ($). A Republican on the state’s transportation committee, Andrew Barkis, proposes to address deferred road maintenance without raising taxes by:

    “One House Republican bill, the Reprioritizing Existing Appropriations for Longevity (REAL) Act, would shift funding for removal of fish-passage barriers ($714 million), multimodal programs ($226 million) and Amtrak ($80 million) from the transportation budget to the operating budget….. Another measure would redirect revenue from the state sales tax paid on motor vehicles to fund the preservation and maintenance of existing infrastructure.”

    I’m not sure what the technical impacts of switching these between budgets would be, but it sounds like their usual attempt to gut transit and Amtrak funding. If they’re in the general operating budget, would the next step be to shortchange the general operating budget and let other priorities crowd these out?

    There’s also an isidious thing going on with the gas-tax fund. This tax replaces sales tax on gasoline, so that the money is dedicated to highways rather than the general fund. This means highways are exempt from the usual competition for limited state resources, which gives them a special privilege. And little of that money can be spent on transit (only HOV/HOT lanes and land for BRT stations in highway widenings), and none on rail according to some interpretations. So it benefits cars and freight only. There’s something else special about sales tax on transit-project procurements I don’t understand. This new proposal sounds like a third thing along those lines: dedicating car sales-tax money to highway maintenance. The losers will be everything else in the state budget, including transit.

    If roads for cars can have a dedicated state tax, why can’t transit? Or going the other way, why can’t highways compete on a level playing field with all the state’s other programs?

  11. It feels like this housing proposal is far from sufficient. Tiny houses and missing middle are not going to be enough. We need more large apartment buildings. And they need to be near the job centers, where the demand is – Downtown Seattle, Downtown Bellevue, and Overlake. Legalizing duplexes, in areas far from where the demand is, is going to be bad for the climate overall.

    And I would agree that electric vehicle subsidies are a poor approach. We would be better off subsidizing a road network that is much friendlier to bicycles, and subsidizing carbon-free electricity to the point where nobody will buy a gasoline-powered car anymore.

    But I suspect that Inslee is already pushing further than the state wants to go. He usually is.

  12. “ If you are an environmentalist your major concern today is inflation, and the increased cost of all cars.”—Daniel Thompson

    Lol, say what? That’s too much man! Keep the jokes coming.

  13. Ensatina, if folks can’t buy electric cars — or even new more efficient cars — because prices are too high right now, or they hope for prices to come down later, how do you expect to move them from gas cars to EV’s, and why do you think Inslee is offering price subsidies for EV’s?

    Do you understand the connection?

    Inflation increases the cost of all cars, including EV’s, which negates the subsidy Inslee is trying to offer to encourage people to switch from gas cars to EV’s. So they continue to drive their gas car, SUV or truck.

    Or are you one of those who thinks car owners will voluntarily give up their cars, SUV’s, and trucks, and will ride bikes or take transit instead to save the planet, because that has worked so well in the past?

    1. The key thing to remember is that every new gas powered car that rolls off a dealer’s lot now generates on average about 15 years worth of emissions until it gets scrapped (and this is getting longer all the time as cars get more expensive but also more durable).

      Inflation is transitory, but metal on the road is long lasting. Nudging the market towards EVs now is an investment in the future.

    2. Most carmakers have already committed to phasing out petrol cars in ten or twenty years, so buyers won’t have a choice. They’re facing regulations in other countries to ban them, and they won’t want to keep a separate fleet just for the US market. Suppliers for gas engine parts will also evaporate since many of them come from outside the US.

    3. Going to electric is better for the planet overall.

      What screws things up is ‘Proprietary Software’.

      One thing that democratizes auto ownership is the fact that for years, a mechanically minded person can keep an ICE vehicle operating fairly inexpensively. An automobile is just a collection of simple machines.

      Electric vehicles, in their very basic configuration, are even simpler.
      Electric vehicles also have the advantage of the more precise control of adverse environmental repercussions, regardless of the type of generating facility,
      That is to say, thousands of ICE vehicles have more potential for the ‘environmental filter’ to fail. Even the dreaded ‘coal-fired powerplant’ can have more stable and better monitored controls than 10,000 cars and SUVs.

      However, the real way that transportation would be ‘organically’ grown would be for the actual costs for the vehicle and the infrastructure to be priced at market rate.

      Forget the argument from the tree huggers about the ‘external environmental costs’ associated with auto ownership.

      I’m getting taxed extra via gas taxes and fees (non-RTA), that support very expensive infrastructure that is of no benefit for me.

      Now, if I pay taxes for the… Train, the Ferry, the Bus… I also pay a FARE.
      The costs associated with a given facility not covered by said fare are made up via those taxes. A SUBSIDY.

      However, (using my favorite example) with the widening of I-405 by 4 lanes for almost the whole length (only 2 lanes between Bothell and Swamp Creek) costing around $10 Billion total when the project is complete. (According to the I-405 Master Plan it was about $7 billion at the time of the FEIS)
      So who is paying for that improvement? If you assume those extra 4 lanes are packed from the get-go with the maximum traffic and extrapolate those amounts over the 30 lifespan, the contribution by those motorists via their gas tax covers maybe 30%. So who pays for the difference?

      If you own a car, you do!
      Even if you don’t require a major ‘congestion relieving’ facility.
      With the last gas tax increase (without a vote), I am now contributing to the expanding capacity so others may enjoy an unfettered commute.
      Add to that, the case of freeway lids, keeping those special people from having to have their sensibilities offended by the unwashed masses.

      There is no ‘FARE Equivalent’ for roads, save for those few facilities with tolls (Tacoma Narrows, Evergreen Point, the DBT).

      If you insist on commuting using up the space of a small studio apartment (sq.ft. of a standard sedan + following distance), then YOU PAY the PREMIUM for it.

      1. A significant portion of the 405 expansion is paid for through express lane tolls (HOT lanes). This includes the upgrades to “bus rapid transit” on 405.

        However Covid has cut toll revenue by more than half due to lack of congestion. Rather than extend the completion dates for HOT lanes and bus rapid transit to deal with the funding gap — because WSDOT believes inflation and increased costs in the extension years will exceed savings, as opposed to the ST realignment — WSDOT is looking for other revenue sources to fund the gap. These include higher HOT lane tolls (if congestion returns), higher tolls on 520, higher bus fares that discourage ridership, general taxes, or tapping the motor vehicle fund that is limited to roads and highways.

        If the goal is less congestion Covid may solve that, except the funding for the 405 expansion is based on congestion, and so are 520 tolls.

        In many ways we do fund road, bridge and highway construction based on use — whether the gas tax, tolls, HOT fees or MVET — and those roads serve cars and transit, including bridges.

        Less congestion is good, except it may mean a different revenue source will be necessary to build, maintain and even toll our roads and bridges, and that may mean higher farebox recovery from transit using these same roads and bridges, except transit is suffering from lower use — and revenue too.

      2. Rather than just parrot the Kemper Freeman and ETA line, it might be useful to actually look at the numbers, Daniel.

        When I was quoting the figure that I-405 new lane users only pay 30% of the cost I checked to remind myself how I arrived at that number. Because this time when I ran some numbers I came up with a 10% figure.

        So to reconcile that, I went back to the source of what I used for the basis of my calculation:
        The Evergreen Point Floating Bridge analysis. It’s a simple starting point because it was causing the most pain. All the cars that entered one end, for the most part came out the other end. The total daily trips on that roughly mile long bridge amounted to around 120,000 per day, or 30,000 per lane mile.
        When I calculated that throughput for I-405, and was coming up with only a 10% contribution to the cost, I realized that what I did to arrive at the 30% figure was also include the current 4 lanes (for simplicity). In other words EVERYONE on I-405 contributes, not just the users of the new lanes. I also decided to round up the per/mile contribution each vehicle contributes. If the average vehicle gets around 24.9 mpg and pays 49.4 cents per gallon, the figure is 2 cents per mile per vehicle. So, I rounded up to 3 cents. Don’t want to cheat the SOV drivers out of their contribution.
        Therefore, 30%, to say the least, is generous.

        Now, let’s look at your statement: “A significant portion of the 405 expansion is paid for through express lane tolls (HOT lanes)”

        Now by looking at the WSDOT Toll Division 2019 Annual Report, and scrolling down to Page 15, we can see the 2019 revenue (available for capital projects) is $19.6 million. That being pre-pandemic, and the higher of the I-405 HOT lane revenue amounts, I used that in the next calculation.
        How much of the $10 billion price tag for I-405 capacity improvements does this cover?
        $19.6 million X 30 years / $10 billion = .0588
        Essentially 6%.

        That’s significant?

        Daniel, if you’re going to defend the SOV point of view, it helps if you actually understand some of the numbers.

        You know, like you do in court, you Dazzle Them with Brilliance…
        right?… or have I misquoted that ?

      3. Page 18, not 15.
        page 15 is SR167.
        Correct figures (for I-405), I just pointed to the wrong page.

      4. Actually I’m right both ways!
        Page 18 in the PDF file,
        Page 15 on the printed version of the document (lower right corner)

      5. @jim C,

        Thank you. Nice to see someone presenting real data. Informed investments in transit require real data and informed decisions.

        We need more of this.

    4. Daniel, your point is well made about “electric car” sales losing out to inflation, but given that American manufacturers are phasing out sedan building by the end of the decade, any fantasy that people buying petrol-fueled cars are trading gas-hogs in for “more efficient ones” is self-delusion.

      Look at the fat hogs waddling down the freeway these days; they’re closer to Prime vans than private cars ten years ago. They have hateful “faces”, too, “The better to express your id, m’Lord!”

      They’re tall enough that no amount of “Dimmit, Dammit” can prevent them from blinding sedan drivers with their ultra-high output halogen and LED lights. A pox on them.

      Oooh! How about Covid for oil seals? Now THAT’s a good idea……

      1. “They’re tall enough that no amount of “Dimmit, Dammit” can prevent them from blinding sedan drivers with their ultra-high output halogen and LED lights. A pox on them.”

        I too curse those Brodozers! Usually I squint my way up to a point I can’t see the fog line, and then… On with MY Brights, if just to be able to see the road past them.
        Damn Macho White Guys !!!

        I just recently was on a trip in a rental SUV in the Desert Southwest.

        Way out in the Middle Of Nowhere, pitch black Dark Sky Country…. I was trying to figure out why the Bright and Low setting didn’t seem to make much of a difference, save for being able to see the roadside reflector 2 miles away with the brights on.

        Then I figured out what the problem is:

        AUTO MANUFACTURERS have set it up that way!
        The spread on the Low Beams was the same as the High Beams, except for the vertical elevation of the beam.
        The Low Beams were just as bright on the opposite lane.

        It’s why Continental Europe requires beam deflectors for their headlights.

        It should be a requirement in the States.

      2. One correction, Beam Deflectors are for UK/Ireland vehicles on the European continent.
        Left vs. Right hand determines the way Low beams are pointed.

        My observation was that the newer vehicle did not have the same beam pattern older vehicles. Sealed Beam technology standardized the light cone, as it were.
        Way back when Hector was a pup, I would aim my Low beams slightly down, and to the right.

        Oh, and if you’re thinking of ‘upgrading’ your headlights with LED bulbs, …
        DON’T !
        The beam pattern is not the same as with the original incandescent bulbs, and like with my friend, everyone, including pedestrians with flashlights will be flashing you. (It’s why the package says “For Off-Road use Only”)

        Still think some of these newer cars need some sort of deflector, or nationwide Vehicle Inspection Protocol (such as MOT in the UK) to enforce proper aiming.

  14. It’s just funny to so confidently assert that the number one thing all environmentalists care about is making cars cheaper, electric or otherwise.

    1. Environmentalists want to reduce car usage because it has a huge amount of environmental impacts beyond carbon emissions and air pollution. I assume they’ll still need oil for lubrication, and that can leak onto the ground along with antifreeze and window-washing fluid. There’s the petroleum-based tires, metals and fiberglass in the chassis, and on and on. Then there’s the geometric impacts of pushing everything apart and requiring 2.5 parking spaces for every car: all that requires excessive resources to build and maintain, and everyody has to travel further because of them. Concrete is polluting to manufacture, asphalt in streets comes from oil, etc. If everybody had e-bikes or scooters or motorcycles some kind of covered scooter they’d only need a fraction of those resources and that space.

      1. Agreed.

        I just looked for an article about what various active environmentalists see as the number one priority we should be focusing on. None of them listed “making electric cars cheaper.”

        It’s not that I think electric cars are not better for the environment, but…they still don’t look to be at all good for it. The manufacturing process, like you said, takes a ton of energy and petroleum-based materials, and then there’s the energy to power the batteries. That can just as easily come from coal-firing power plants as from wind or solar energy.

        We need to be reducing our consumption massively to avoid (or mitigate, since avoiding it isn’t possible anymore) environmental catastrophe. My number one care is that we’re in the midst of a literal mass extinction event. I spend as much time as I can appreciating nature and learning how to identify all the local species we have here, because they won’t be here forever.

        Social issues are all tied up in environmental ones. The economic system that is destroying the environment is the same one that causes slews of social problems too. There are ways of reducing consumption while simultaneously fulfilling our human needs for community and togetherness. I’m not necessarily opposed to electric cars, but…they don’t fundamentally change what needs to be changed.

  15. I think it’s important that all cars be electrified, but I’m not sure that state money to subsidize car purchases is the most efficient way to go about it.

    If I were designing things, I guess I would first focus on subsidizing charging infrastructure, but it needs to be done the right way. Fast charging is very expensive, and the model where you drive to a charging station once a week and wait half an hour is too inconvenient. A better goal would be a level 1 plug for as many cars as possible at home, level 2 charging in workplaces and hotels, where people typically park for 8 hours or so, and fast charging only in strategic locations where they are necessary to facilitate road trips. For example, I might offer subsidies to landlords, office buildings, and hotels, to provide ev charging in their parking lots, but only build fast charging where necessary to fill in coverage gaps in rural areas, where an ev with 200 miles of range cannot reliably reach. (Note: For city dwellers that enjoy outdoor recreation, being able to reliably reach rural areas in every corner of the state, and get back, without running out of power is very important).

    Purchase subsidies, I’m more ambivalent on. At a minimum, I think the income cap of $250,000 is much too high. And, there has to be a phase out once EVs get cheaper. Also, as long as we have a chip shortage limiting supply, I’m not sure if subsidies would accomplish much other than driving up prices, or encouraging manufacturers to move some of their electric inventory here from other states (which is good for the WA carbon footprint in isolation, but doesn’t help when you look at the big picture).

    Ebikes are also a valuable transportation tool, but I’m not convinced that subsidizing them for everybody is a very efficient way to reduce carbon emissions. At best, every thousand subsidies induces maybe a five people to delay a car purchase by a few months. A lot of people will buy them, but not ride them and, of those that do ride them, I suspect they’ll replacing more pedal bike trips and transit trips than car trips. I think, to the extent that the state wants to encourage cycling of any type, more grant money to fund trails and bike lanes would be a better use of funds. Even people that already have ebikes won’t ride them if they do not feel safe.

    That said, I can see ebike subsidies making since in very limited, targeted situations, particularly along low-income people that have homes and stable jobs, but do *not* already have cars. However, even there, the ebikes would be replacing mostly walking and transit trips, so it’s purpose would be social justice, not fighting climate change.

Comments are closed.