Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced this week that Chicago would be first to launch an incentive program to move public and private truck fleets from diesel fuel to electric power. The program kicks off in the spring, and Emanuel's office called it "the most innovative program of this kind in the nation."
“This first-of-its-kind incentive program will make Chicago the leader in building a robust public and private electric truck fleet and dramatically increase the number of these trucks on Chicago’s streets, allowing companies to operate more efficiently and creating economic opportunity in the process,” Emanuel said.
“This program is a creative way to achieve sustainability goals and business goals at the same time, and I’m pleased to be leading the charge on this effort,” he said.
Fleets operating in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties are eligible to participate. They will be provided a voucher for about 60 percent of the incremental cost of the electric vehicle.
Emanuel's office said the city is expected to issue about 250 vouchers.
“By offering a voucher at the point of sale, rather than as a post-sale rebate, we hope that more companies will be encouraged to participate in the program," CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein said.
The program is funded by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and its Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program selection committee, which awarded Chicago $15 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation funding.
During President Barack Obama's victory speech earlier this month in Chicago, he cited climate change, immigration reform and renewable energy as items on his second-term checklist.
Looks as though Emanuel was listening.
These last two weeks alone he stood among multiple politicians on both sides of the aisle to support driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants and oversaw a ceremony of 50 Chicagoans from 26 countries becoming U.S. citizens.
"Immigration reform is a bipartisan issue," Emanuel said last week, "and that should be the one lesson that came out of the election, the importance of immigration reform for the future of this country."
|The trucks have an electric, rather than diesel, engine.|