Of Loans and Limits (speed limits that is)

The importance of politics and policy is a point that I often come back to. Sure, they are not nearly as sexy as sleek prototypes, but sometimes it's bylaws not breakthrough technologies that are holding back change. Two solid examples of this have made the news this week. First, the British Colombian town of Oak Bay has announced its intentions to become the first city in Canada to allow electric cars on its streets. If you are wondering why there aren't already more electric cars on the road, you might be surprised to know that many models are in fact still illegal. It took new provincial legislation, as well as a municipal bylaw to allow slower moving and more affordable types of electric vehicles onto local roads. This is economically interesting as well, given that Canada has some great electrical vehicle manufacturers and that the traditional automotive sector is faltering.

In a similar vein, it's been announced that the State of California has enacted a law that allows municipalities to give low-interest loans to home owners and businesses that want to install solar panels or make high-efficiency improvements to their buildings. Loan repayments are then bundled in with property taxes and paid back over decades, which helps defray the high upfront costs of these types of investments. Although the plan was originally designed by the city of Berkeley (possibly based on a similar scheme in Toronto), it took the new state law to give cities the statutory authority to provide these types of loans.

So there you go, boring by true. Bylaws are where it's at.


2 Responses to "Of Loans and Limits (speed limits that is)"

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This is a blog for news and views on the future of sustainable cites. A major revamp is in the works. Until then I am keeping this version up as an archive of my past writing.

You can expect occasional updates, but not with the same frequency as in the past.

You can also find my writing on urban redesign and sustainability in ReNew Canada, The Mark, Sustainable Cities Canada, WorldChanging, and other more specialized academic publications.

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