Commissioners voted unanimously to approve a resolution to create a fleet electrification plan for the county with the intention of transitioning to a zero-emission fleet of county vehicles. The vehicle fleet is the third largest county contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, according to Travis County, following employee commutes, at which commissioners have already taken aim with a policy to have 75% of eligible employees telecommute.
The fleet electrification plan, when finalized, is set to include an "electric vehicle first" procurement policy and a budget for necessary charging stations and electric fleet maintenance.
"This is directing our staff to come back with a plan to transition our fleet to electric vehicles and to really continue the profound leadership at Travis County in beginning to fight climate change and work to reverse it," Precinct 2 Commissioner Brigid Shea said, who sponsored the resolution.
Travis County will collaborate with Bexar County when developing the plan; Bexar County, which, along with Travis County, is part of the recently established Central Texas Electric Transportation Compact to reduce tailpipe emissions in the Austin-San Antonio region, voted on a similar resolution this week.
“Transportation pollution is a major contributor of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and air-quality degradation, leading to significant impacts on the Earth’s climate health, health costs, the economy and environmental justice concerns," Shea and Bexar County Commissioner Justin Rodriguez said in a joint statement. "Climate change is causing an increase in the frequency of extreme weather events and was a factor in Winter Storm Uri, which had devastating impacts on millions of Texans and caused billions of dollars in damage."
The court additionally voted to sign the Race to Zero pledge, an initiative by the ICLEI150, a coalition of 150 local governments in the United States pushing to cut global emissions in half by 2030 and to zero by 2050. Shea chairs the ICLEI USA Local Governments for Sustainability.
By signing the pledge, Travis County promises to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero as soon as possible, no later than by 2050. The county will report its actions toward fulfilling the pledge by 2022, which ICLEI will publish globally.