I'm typically cynical when it comes to the promises of government reform packages, but it seems like almost everyday there's another great project that is at least indirectly benefitting from the stimulus bill. Here's today's example.
The governors of California, Oregon and Washington are working together to turn Interstate 5 into the nation's first green freeway. They want to turn the heavily-traveled highway into one that caters to alternative-fuel and electric vehicles with biodiesel, ethanol, hydrogen and compressed natural gas filling stations, as well as battery charging and swapping stations conveniently located along the road's 1,382 miles.
While the plan is facing many rounds of approval before it can become a reality, it does fit into the new administration's push for green jobs and it would most likely qualify for stimulus money that would get the project going. If the plan does get approved, Washington would start its phase of the project as early as this summer. The state already has plans for alternative fueling stations at park-and-ride lots, a sales-tax exemption for battery charging and swapping stations, and converting the state automobile fleet from gas to electric.
The battery-charging and swapping stations would be the first businesses allowed to operate at rest stops. To encourage companies to participate, the states wouldn't charge rent at the rest stops until the companies started making a profit. The plan is facing some opposition from truck stop operators who think that putting charging or filling stations at rest stops will take away from their business.
No contracts have been offered yet for the fuel or battery charging stations, but at least one governor has met with Better Place to discuss their involvement.
I think this is a wondeful project. The infrastructure has to be in place for electric cars or alternative fuels to take off and it's great to see states coming together to make that happen.
via Seattle Times
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