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California’s transportation sector remains the single largest contributor of emissions for both greenhouse gases that exacerbate climate change and unhealthy air pollution. The rapid adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) is a critical step to remedy this problem.

Last year, we saw a substantial shift in the right direction: nearly 10 percent of all new vehicles sold in 2018 in California were plug-in electric vehicles. However, the local development of new EV charging stations is not keeping pace with the number of EVs on the road. We could rapidly install more charging stations by removing unnecessary barriers to local government permitting that increase project costs and impede the installation of new EV charging.

To make the quickest possible transition to clean transportation, our local governments should make the most straightforward process possible to facilitate quick, low-cost installations of EV charging stations.

In 2015, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1236 into law to support this vision for rapid EV charging station permitting. The law requires all local governments in California to implement streamlined permitting for both residential and non-residential EV charging stations no later than 2017. However, the state did not actively enforce the new law.

Two years after the law’s deadline, many local governments in our region still lack streamlined permitting for EV charging stations.

In response to this problem, the State of California recently announced that local governments will only be eligible for millions of dollars in funding to build new EV charging stations if they have streamlined their permitting as required by the law.

The Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development (GO-Biz) released the EV Charging Station Permitting Guidebook in July 2019 to help local governments streamline their charging station permitting. There are 8 steps that local governments need to take to streamline their permitting, including:

  1. Pass an ordinance that creates an expedited and streamlined permitting process for Level 2 and Direct Current Fast Charing (DCFC) EV charging station installations
  2. Create custom review checklists for Level 2 and DCFC station permit applications
  3. Provide expedited administrative approval for EV charging station projects that meet the custom checklist requirements
  4. Limit special project review to local, state, and federal requirements for health and safety
  5. Accept electronic signatures on EV charging station permit applications so they can be submitted online
  6. Ensure that there are no requirements for association approval of EV charging stations
  7. Provide a single, comprehensive written notice of any corrections needed for a permit application
  8. Implement expedited permit review timelines for all EV charging station projects

Electric Drive 805 and the undersigned community members are calling on our local governments to take at least 6 of the first 7 steps. This will make our region eligible for millions of dollars in new funding to build EV charging stations in our communities.

We urge our local governments to take swift action and streamline EV charging station permitting. For resources to support the streamlining effort, go to: http://www.business.ca.gov/ZEVReadiness.

Sincerely,

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