SACRAMENTO – Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) has announced that Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 241 into law, her measure to support the use of neighborhood electric vehicles in Orange County. The Senate and Assembly previously passed SB 241 unanimously.
“Today’s bill signing represents a positive step forward in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Orange County in a manner consistent with conservative principles,” said Bates. “It gives stakeholders the additional time they need to fully study the impact of neighborhood electric vehicles in the Ranch Plan Planned Community.”
SB 241 extends the legislative deadline by five years to January 1, 2022 for the creation of a transportation plan that supports the use of neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) in the Ranch Plan Planned Community in Southern Orange County. In addition, the bill would extend the deadline for Orange County to provide a report to the Legislature on the use of NEVs until November 1, 2020. NEVs are small electric vehicles similar to golf carts and are designed for low-speed neighborhood use.
Rancho Mission Viejo is a community developer developing the final 23,000 acres of its property. The development includes a community-wide trail system with one of the state’s largest NEV transportation plans. The community’s transportation system encourages NEVs, bicycle and pedestrian alternatives to traveling by car. This will reduce the community’s greenhouse gas emissions and improve mobility within the community, while helping residents to live a more sustainable lifestyle.
Currently there are only six to 10 NEVs in operation in the community. The timeline extensions in SB 241 provide for additional project development and more NEV usage, which were both curtailed during the economic recession. The additional time will lead to the creation of a more informed transportation plan and report to the Legislature.
The Legislature has already authorized several local areas to establish NEV transportation plans, including Riverside County, Amador County, and the cities of Fresno, Lincoln and Rocklin. SB 241 is supported by Rancho Mission Viejo, the Association of California Cities – Orange County, the Automobile Club of Southern California, the Orange County Board of Supervisors and the Orange County Business Council.
Senator Patricia C. Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) represents the 36th Senate District in the California Legislature, which covers Southern Orange County, Northern San Diego County and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.