Portland Business Journal

In a speech at the Meeting of the Minds transportation conference Wednesday, Gov. Ted Kulongoski announced several sustainable transportation initiatives to the 2009 Legislature, including “shifting to electric cars.”

“The rising cost of energy, our dependence on foreign energy sources, and the threat of greenhouse gases to our planet’s survival — all pose serious economic, environmental and social challenges,” Kulongoski said. “If we held this conference even two years ago — the critical question would have been: How we might need to live differently in the future. Today the question is: How must we live differently.”

In April, the governor challenged his transportation vision committee to develop a series of recommendations for how Oregon can make improvements to the transportation infrastructure that will also help the state reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

Kulongoski said the committee thus far has recommended the state take action to:

He also announced that the state of Oregon is converting 10 hybrid vehicles to plug-in hybrid vehicles as part of a pilot project to further diversify the state fleet. These vehicles will be equipped with an advanced battery technology that allows the vehicle to run on electricity for much longer periods of time than a traditional hybrid.

The transportation vision committee is expected to deliver a comprehensive list of recommendations for the governor’s consideration in October, which will include additional initiatives around sustainable transportation.

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