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Phoenix mayor joins US Secretary of Transportation in climate change meeting

Posted at 6:47 PM, Mar 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-28 21:47:06-04

A group of mayors, including Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, joined U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg in a virtual event to talk about climate change Monday.

Buttigieg said the priority at all levels of government should be to invest in infrastructure that helps reduce emissions and pollution.

"In the US economy, transportation is the single biggest contributor to climate change," said Buttigieg. “We’re working to improve the gas mileage in cars, which lowers costs to families and reduces emissions."

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego spoke about the city's new Heat Response and Mitigation Office and efforts to combat the urban heat island effect.

“In addition to using cutting edge technology, we’re also trying to use some of the most established techniques to address heat. We have a major strategy to plant more trees, particularly in low-income communities," she said.

She also talked about investing in infrastructure to make electric vehicles more affordable.

“If we do more level-two charges and communities and really look at population centers and needs... that might be a way to make sure that type of resource gets distributed with equity in mind," said Mayor Gallego.

Mayor Gallego and SRP recently teamed up to unveil 20 new solar-covered charging stations at the Phoenix Zoo.

Chris Rosenau and his family were at the zoo visiting from Wisconsin. He said he rented a Tesla to check it out, as he's been considering making the switch to electric.

"The idea of never going to a gas station again is a fantastic, fantastic thought," he said.

Rosenau said more charging stations may help convince people like him to make the investment.

"I mean anything that we can do to get more of these on the road and get people behind the wheels of these things is great," he said. "I feel like we're right on the cusp of more options and better options -- more options and the price point going down a little more."

SRP is testing out different pricing options at the stations. Right now, it's free to charge your car. They're also gathering research on people's charging habits.