Three women and one man in a government meeting

Pittsburg Looks to Add Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Three women and one man in a government meeting

Pittsburg City Council approved a resolution on Tuesday that could lead to the city getting new electric vehicle charging stations. (Screenshot captured by Julia Métraux / The CC Pulse)

By Julia Métraux

As more and more Californians drive electric cars, cities across the state are trying to add more charging stations to meet their residents’ needs. That includes Pittsburg.

The City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution to apply for a a Bay Area Air Quality Management District grant, following a presentation supporting the resolution from assistant to the city manager Sara Bellafronte. The grant would help provide funds for electric charging stations.

“This grant will help us implement projects in alignment with our developing sustainability plan goals.” Bellafronte said. “The plan aims to reduce greenhouse gases in the area of transportation as this is one of the top three activities that emit the most greenhouse gases in Pittsburg.”

According to its website, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District provides grants for “projects that reduce pollutants and greenhouse gases from mobile sources.” The district is a public agency that serves Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, southwestern Solano, and southern Sonoma counties.

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In addition to reducing issues of greenhouse gases, having more charging stations also reflects the changes in policy around driving vehicles that need gas. A press release from the California Air Resources Board says that “by 2035 100% of new cars and light trucks sold in California will be zero-emission vehicles, including plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.”

The electricity generated for electric cars may create some carbon pollution, but it is lower than that created by gasoline-powered cars. On its website, the United States Environmental Protection Agency writes that “even accounting for these electricity emissions, research shows that an EV is typically responsible for lower levels of greenhouse gases (GHGs) than an average new gasoline car.”

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If Pittsburg receives a grant, the city would have to complete installing these charging stations within a year, which could change which locations are used, according to Bellafronte.

“​​We want to work with the county as a region, in general, to kind of figure out where to strategically place these chargers so that we’re creating a path where people are going to want to use them,” she added, referring to Contra Costa County.

Council member Jelani Killings said that having good charging stations available “could be a draw,” getting people to visit Pittsburg to charge their cars.

“For people who are coming off the highway if there were signs of visibility as far as fast charging, getting off the highway, coming to Pittsburg,” Killings said.

Bellafronte also said that the city is in a position where there is a possibility a higher amount of funding would be provided if the grant is approved by the district.

“Under the charge program, Pittsburg’s actually considered a disadvantaged and low-income community, and this potentially qualifies us for a higher tier of program funding beyond the typical 85%,” she said.

The next regular Pittsburg City Council meeting is scheduled for March 6.

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