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Statewide bicycle advocacy group CalBike is encouraging members, bicyclists, and environmentalists to sign an e-petition urging the legislature to pass Assembly Bill 117, known as the E-Bike Affordability Bill, this summer. A.B. 117 has cleared both the Assembly Transportation and Appropriations Committees and needs a vote from the full Assembly before heading to the State Senate. That vote is likely to take place some time this week.
“Let’s get 10,000 e-bikes into the hands of (mostly low-income) Californians by passing the E-Bike Affordability Bill, then let’s do it again, and again, until California is known as the Bicycle State!” enthuses CalBike executive director Dave Snyder in an email to members.
A.B. 117, by Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath, would create a statewide program offering rebates for people who buy e-bikes. As currently written, it would use $10 million from cap-and-trade (the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund) for the Electric Bicycle Rebate Pilot Project under the Clean Vehicle Rebate program at the Air Resources Board.
As part of the Clean Vehicle Rebate program, it would face scrutiny to make sure the money goes to people who need it. While $10 million may seem like a lot, California has spent a lot more than that helping people buy electric cars. E-bikes have the potential to be much more transformative than a car, both to people’s lives as well as for the environment – and traffic congestion.
Since the bill was introduced earlier this year, Governor Newsom released his proposed budget for next year, and it includes $465 million for the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to “improve access to new and used zero-emission vehicles.” Because the cost of e-bikes is much lower than that of Teslas and other electric cars and trucks, bill proponents argue that it would make sense to include an e-bike rebate program in the CARB budget.
To become law on January 1, 2022 it would need to be passed by the Assembly and Senate by September 10 of this year and signed into law by the governor by October 10. While CalBike is the lead sponsor of the legislation, it’s supported by almost every bicycle advocacy organization up and down the state in addition to national organizations such as People of Bikes and the League of American Cyclists.