California proposes $ 6.1 billion for electric vehicle initiatives

California Governor Gavin Newsom tabled a budget proposal of $ 286.4 billion, which is said to be “California blueprint,“For the state on Monday. The plan is to spend $ 22.5 billion to tackle the burgeoning climate crisis in the state and allocate a new $ 6.1 billion to initiatives related to electric vehicles.

Last year, the state of California committed to spending $ 15.1 billion on a range of climate-related efforts, including $ 3.9 billion on EV-related initiatives. California was also the first state to say it would effectively ban sales of new internal combustion or gas-powered vehicles by 2035.

Regarding the amount the company plans to spend on EV incentives, Newsom said, “You’d think we’re announcing for the US government.” Adding to last year’s budget $ 6.1 billion in EV spending adds, it would be equivalent to a “government subnational commitment of $ 10 billion,” he boasted.

The governor said such aggressive spending was justified in part to counteract greenhouse gas emissions from vehicle tailpipes and fossil fuel extraction. The transport sector is responsible for over 50% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Willingness to invest in electrification has drawn new zero-emission vehicle companies into the state, the governor said without naming these companies. These include automakers such as Rivian and Lordstown Motors as well as providers of charging infrastructure such as Volta and Ample, who are following in Tesla’s footsteps, among others.

Alluding to Tesla, Newsom said, “Even those who were historically based in the state are growing in the state.” Tesla relocated its headquarters to Austin, Texas last year, but has a vehicle assembly plant in Fremont and other major operations in California.

Newsom also called California the “Saudi Arabia of Lithium” referring to the deposits of the mineral in Imperial County near the Salton Sea.

The climate spending proposals in the California Blueprint for Fiscal Year 2022-2023 include:

  • $ 3.9 billion to electrify ports, heavy trucks, school buses, and public transit buses in the state.
  • $ 2 billion for a range of “clean energy” efforts, including decarbonizing buildings, long-term energy storage, and offshore wind development.
  • $ 1.2 billion in new forest health and fire protection spending. These include hiring and training more CalFire and other personnel, purchasing more firehawks, spending on home working, remote sensing, grazing, fuel breaks, mandatory burns, and afforestation.
  • $ 1.2 billion for 40,000 electric vehicles and 100,000 new charging points in California by the end of 2023 and $ 1 billion for other zero-emission vehicle initiatives.
  • $ 1 billion in tax credits for companies that develop breakthrough climate change technologies or manufacture green energy technologies and offer profit sharing.
  • $ 757 million for state parks and access to them for all Californians regardless of income.
  • $ 750 million to fight the drought to “prepare for the long-term realities of a world that is being re-enlightened,” Newsom said. This includes spending on water conservation and efficiency, groundwater replenishment and supporting smallholders in the Salad Bowl State.

A KCBS reporter asked Newsom to comment on a California Public Utilities Commission solar policy plan that would cut solar incentives in the state and increase monthly utility fees for solar customers, effectively making rooftop solar systems more expensive for California residents.

Newsom said he had just seen the proposal and admitted, “We still have a lot to do.” Tesla, which runs a solar business, has asked its employees to stand up against this plan, CNBC previously reported.

In addition to proposing climate spending, the California blueprint also calls for billions for health, housing and homelessness, public safety, education, and small business support.

California has a budget surplus of over $ 45 billion, the governor said. Some of that money will likely go back to taxpayers, and if an amendment to the state’s constitution is passed, Newsom said, some of the excess dollars could go to the state’s reserves.

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