Ward 6 News ~ September 21, 2012

Minneapolis Ward 6 Council Member Robert Lilligren

September 21, 2012

EV Charging Stations

Today, the City Council took an action to accept $220,000 in grants from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). These funds will be used to install up to 25 charging stations for electric vehicles (EV’s) in four publicly owned downtown parking ramps. The EV charging stations will be available to use at no charge.
There is a growing interest in electric vehicles as a means to reduce both tailpipe emissions and dependency on fossils fuels. This in turn can improve our air quality and minimize our dependency on foreign oil. The source energy to charge EV’s can be produced from renewable, even local, sources. More auto manufacturers are adding EV’s to their mix.
This public sector investment in EV infrastructure is a strategy to help grow the market locally. Having additional charging stations available in publicly owned ramps will help EV owners, or potential owners, address “range anxiety.” Range anxiety is the fear that an EV driver will be stranded with a low battery. Increased investment in these types of facilities will help increase the demand for EV’s here.
As the air in our city and region becomes more polluted, our area is likely heading toward being classified as a “non-attainment area”. That means we are not meeting the National Ambient Air Quality Standards as defined in the Clean Air Act. Once we reach non-attainment as a region we are required to create and implement a plan to return to attainment. This can be very costly. Hopefully, increasing EV use will help us avoid, or at least delay, nonattainment. Certainly more EV’s and fewer fossil fueled engines would be part of any plan to return our region to air quality attainment. 
As a policymaker, I have had two chances to engage in this EV charging station effort. There is today’s council action. Also, this grant program from the MPCA is funded by $500,000 of federal transportation funds targeted to mitigate congestion and improve air quality called CMAQ (or see-mack as we say). These federal dollars are allocated by a regional governmental body called the Transportation Advisory Board (TAB). I have represented the City of Minneapolis on the TAB since 2002 and as co-chair of the TAB Programming Committee have been part of its leadership for the last two years.
There was quite a bit of debate at the TAB about using these CMAQ dollars in this way. As in most areas of government, transportation funds grow scarcer and competition for these dollars increases. It becomes more difficult to be innovative and introduce new costs into the system. At first it did not seem like there would be the votes on the 33-member TAB to support the allocation of the half million dollars directly to the MPCA for this program. The benefits from increased EV use in our city and region are undeniable. I was very supportive of this at the TAB and helped gain support for it from a majority of TAB members.
As a requirement to receive the $220,000 in grants from the MPCA, those dollars will be matched by an additional $55,000 to fill out the budget for the budget for the EV charging stations. This match will be shared between the City of Minneapolis and the MN Dept. of Transportation (MnDOT).
In the past and today I try to engage with local opportunities to increase our local energy independence. I look forward to supporting more EV actions in our City to continue to help improve the air quality of our neighborhoods.

Robert Lilligren

Mondays with Robert

Council Member Lilligren has always believed that it's important for people like you and me to have access to government. Robert remains committed to that value today. For that reason, Council Member Lilligren makes himself available to community member visits on a walk-in and appointment basis.

You can meet with Robert on the first four Mondays of the month at each of the neighborhoods he represents. Call or email Alondra at 673-2206 or alondra.cano@minneapolismn.gov to schedule an appointment. Walk-ins are welcome, however - you will be asked to wait if there is a scheduled appointment.

First Monday of the Month
Whittier Alliance, 10 E. 25th Street
9:30am - 11:30am

Second Monday of the Month
Phillips West, 2400 Park Ave.
Center for Changing Lives
9:30am - 11:30am

Third Monday of the Month
Stevens Square, 1925 Nicollet Ave.
9:30am - 11:30am

Fourth Monday of the Month
Ventura Village, 2323 11th Ave. S.
2nd Floor of Phillips Community Center
9:30am - 11:30am

Smart Activism

The success story of the Phillips Community Center (PCC) is one of community empowerment. In 2009 when the Minneapolis Park Board owned building was slated to close and have its swimming pool filled in, area residents organized to stop the closing from happening. The community stepped forward to help devise an appropriate reuse for the facility. An incredible community partnership was formed that includes a fitness center with culturally specific athletic programs and the new home of the Waite House.

At the September monthly general membership meeting for the Ventura Village Neighborhood Organization an action was taken to direct funds in support of the PCC and its pool. Through the hard work of activists and our State Representative Karen Clark the pool received state bonding money which goes a long way to returning this pool to service. The Ventura Village Neighborhood Organization increased their contribution to the pool from $10,000 to $25,000. Also, the neighborhood organization released funds to the Park Board earlier than planned to cover pre-development costs.

It is my belief that this is an extraordinary example of community activism that was able to leverage public and private sector partnerships to gain investments needed in our neighborhoods. I wanted to take time to recognize everyone’s efforts in the PCC revitalization project. THANK YOU for all your hard – and smart – work!


From the Office of City Council Vice President Robert Lilligren
350 South 5th Street, City Hall, Room 307, Minneapolis, MN 55415
Robert.Lilligren@minneapolismn.gov · Ward 6 website · (612) 673-2206

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