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California budget proposal includes $6.1 billion for EV initiatives

California Governor Gavin Newsom has presented a $286.4-billion budget proposal for the 2022-2023 fiscal year. This so-called California Blueprint includes $22.5 billion in climate-related investment, and some $6.1 billion of this consists of EV-related initiatives.

Newsom defended the aggressive scale of the state’s proposed investment, and gently chided the US federal government for its far more timid climate policies. He noted that the transportation sector is responsible for over 50% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Newsom said the state’s pro-electrification policies are attracting new zero-emission vehicle companies to the state (he didn’t name any specific businesses, but CNBC cited automakers like Rivian and Lordstown Motors, and charging infrastructure players like Volta and Ample. Alluding to Tesla, Newsom said, “Even those that resided historically in the state are growing in the state.”

Newsom also called California the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” referring to plans to extract the light white stuff from brine deposits near the Salton Sea.

Most of the proposed climate spending will take place over the course of five to six years. The governor’s $6.1-billion figure includes $3.5 billion from the state’s General Fund, $1.5 billion from Proposition 98, $676 million from the state’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, and $383 million in federal funds.

Significant investments include:

• Low-Income Zero-Emission Vehicles and Infrastructure—$256 million to subsidize EV purchases for low-income consumers, and $900 million to expand public charging in low-income neighborhoods.

• Heavy-Duty Zero-Emission Vehicles and Supporting Infrastructure—$935 million to add 1,000 zero-emission short-haul (drayage) trucks and 1,700 zero-emission transit buses; $1.5 billion to support electric school buses; $1.1 billion for zero-emission trucks, buses, and off-road equipment and fueling infrastructure; and $400 million to enable port electrification.

• Zero-Emission Mobility—$419 million to support sustainable “community-based transportation equity projects” that increase EV access in low-income communities.

• Emerging Opportunities—$200 million for demonstration and pilot projects in high carbon-emitting sectors, including maritime, aviation and rail.

Sources: California Department of Finance, Office of Governor Gavin Newsom, CNBC