Philadelphia News & Search
Mayor Kenney will not sign into law a controversial moratorium on electronic-vehicle permits passed by City Council earlier this month, saying a ban “sends the wrong message” about the benefits of electric vehicles.
The law still will go into effect without Kenney’s signature.
The mayor did agree with Council that the the city’s current electronic vehicle regulations are outdated and asked Council to take a fresh look at reforms.
“I will dedicate the resources of my administration to working with City Council to develop a comprehensive solution that encourages the growth of electronic vehicle usage, safeguards the needs of other residents, and promotes mass transit as well as active transportation,” Kenney said in a letter to Council sent Thursday.
The legislation, passed by Council in 11 to 6 vote, halts the issuance of new electronic-vehicle parking permits, which allow car owners to use charging stations that they purchase and construct outside of their homes. It also changes the rules for the city’s approximately 60 current permit holders, giving them 24/7 access to the spots but allowing empty spots to be used by the public for two-hour parking between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Electronic vehicle owners said it was unfair to change the rules on those who invested in the technology and argued that the ban, without a replacement plan, undermined the city’s commitment to environmental efforts. Councilmen David Oh and Mark Squilla, the bill’s sponsors, argued the moratorium was needed to curb the influx of permits and to allow the city to find a more equitable solution for charging stations city wide.
Kenney originally said he intended to sign the bill into law. His spokesman, Mike Dunn, said Kenney did not realize Council’s vote was not unanimous and given the disagreement among Council members “opted to conduct an additional review of the measure.”
On the day the moratorium passed, Squilla introduced a bill that would limited the moratorium to two years, a move he said would encourage Council to find a new solution quickly.
Kenney, in his letter to Council, said a moratorium is appropriate but for no longer than one year. The mayor was the sponsor of the city’s existing electronic vehicle legislation, passed in 2007. He wrote that in the decade since the electric vehicle industry has grown, and Philadelphia’s policy “needs to mature with it.”
He specifically asked Council to explore the behaviors of electronic vehicle drivers, technological advancements in the industry, potential incentives to encourage electric vehicle usage, and best practices from around the country.
The mayor suggested creating a joint working group with Council and the administrative to work on the issue.
Philadelphia News & Search