Gov. Brown signs bill granting county neighborhood electric vehicle plan

SAN DIEGO — A bill giving cities in San Diego County and the county itself the authority to establish a neighborhood electric vehicle transportation plan was signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Existing law allowed Orange County to establish a neighborhood electric vehicle transportation plan, provided it complies with traffic rules and laws enforced by the state’s Department of Transportation and the California Highway Patrol.

Orange County also has to submit a report on the plan to the Legislature by Nov. 1, 2020. SB 1151 allows San Diego County and its cities to do the same.

“(Neighborhood electric vehicles) offer residents mobility choices and they are an innovative way to help the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said the bill’s author, Sen.  Patricia Bates, R-Laguna Niguel. “I thank the governor for signing my measure into law, which in the long run will improve San Diego County’s quality of life.”

The bill received support from environmental groups and local agencies including the Sierra Club, Center for Sustainable Energy, 12 cities in the county and the San Diego Association of Governments.

“By allowing cities and the County of San Diego to plan for the full use of Neighborhood Electric Vehicles, SB 1151 will help to expand mobility choices, enhance connections to transit beyond the first and last mile, and reduce drive-alone trips and greenhouse gas emissions,” said SANDAG Chairman Terry Sinnott.

A neighborhood electric vehicle is defined as a motorized vehicle with four wheels that can reach at least 25 mph and operate on a street with a speed limit of 35 mph or fewer.