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Malibu Seeks Stimulus Funding for Electric Cars
 

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By Jorge Casuso

August 5, 2020 -- Santa Monica has long been a champion of converting its City fleet to electric vehicles, but this week Malibu outdid its southern neighbor's lobbying efforts to reach that goal.

The well-heeled beach City sent a letter to Congressional leaders Tuesday asking that the next stimulus bill include funding to help with Malibu's “conversion to an all-electric city fleet” of cars.

The letter signed by the Malibu City Council and City Manager Reva Feldman asked for federal funding for a number of "critical City environmental projects," according to a report on Fox News.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted municipal budgets across the country in ways that local governments could never have foreseen,” the letter said.

Sent to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the letter lists a number of critical projects "intended to improve our environment while reducing City costs."

These include "a solar energy project, conversion to an all-electric city fleet, streetlight upgrades, and resiliency projects related to wildfire and earthquake preparation, among others.”

These projects, officials said, "have been postponed indefinitely due to projected budget shortfalls.”

Speaking on the Senate floor, an incredulous McConnell mocked the City's request, Fox News reported.

“Yesterday, I received an urgent letter from the city of Malibu, California,” McConnell said.

“And -- I promise I am not making this up -- they asked Congress for hundreds of billions of dollars for state and local governments because they have had to delay their ‘conversion to an all-electric city fleet.'

“I guess that’s an emergency in Malibu -- when they can’t keep buying brand-new electric cars as quickly as they’d like.”

Malibu's request comes as Santa Monica has drastically scaled back or slashed environmental initiatives it has been funding for decades to help address a looming $224 million budget deficit caused by the Coronavirus shutdown.

In its new budget, the Council voted to spend $183,544 to continue the City's "climate resiliency policy and program work" and $144,990 to fund water conservation efforts.

"We don't want to lose ground in realizing some of the planning and work we have been doing to put us on a path to a sustainable future," Interim City Manager Lane Dilg said at the time ("City Restores $6.4 Million in Budget Cuts," May 27, 2020).

The funding is a far cry from the $800 million 10-year plan to fight climate change the Council had approved a year earlier.

The plan is likely the most costly and ambitious initiative of its kind for a city its size in the nation ("Santa Monica Adopts $800 Million Plan to Fight Climate Change," May 29, 2019).


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