Municipalities Are Facing Electric Vehicle Charging Deserts

charging station for an electric vehicle

Electric vehicles are becoming a prominent option for people around the world to escape traditional gas-powered options. According to Pew Research Center, 7% of U.S. adults have an electric or hybrid vehicle, with 39% saying they’d likely buy an electric car the next time they’re in the market for a new car. However, outside of big cities, these cars are not quite common. Why? It could be due to a lack of charging stations to power their cars. 

Agenda Discovery makes local governments more transparent for business owners across a wide range of industries. We ensure you stay on top of government matters that relate to your industry to ensure you’re not caught off guard. The future looks electric and local government agencies and businesses are looking to facilitate consumers’ needs. Read our article below and learn how the public and government sectors are reacting to charging deserts.

America is Facing an Electric Vehicle Charging Station Shortage

While commuters are becoming more interested in electric cars, many don’t invest in these incredible innovations. According to the New York Times, the biggest deal breaker for shoppers is the lack of chargers in apartments, communities, and long-distance drivers. One resident in the article describes how he has to drive a couple of miles away from his home and wait several hours before a full charge.

In an Insider study, surveyors asked people who owned electric cars why they went back to gas-powered vehicles. Their answer? Charging an electric vehicle is more of a hassle than simply filling your car up with gas. While these vehicles are undoubtedly the future, the United States is facing a problem and it’s driving away consumers. 

How are Local Government Agencies Responding?

You might have heard that President Biden has launched a campaign that invests in the advancement of electric vehicle charging stations. The Department of Transportation announced it will be offering grants that can be used to deploy a better charging infrastructure. This involves funding for new charger-related research, development, and installation. 

Municipalities across the United States have already begun strengthening their electric vehicle infrastructure. They’re normalizing electric cars by adopting them in their own vehicle fleets. Austin, Texas set a goal of having 330 vehicles in their inventory by 2020. Additionally, Los Angeles’ sanitation department is committed to an all-electric fleet by 2035. Most likely, local agencies adopting electric cars will implement more charging stations to accommodate their drivers and the public at large. 

In addition to normalizing electric vehicles, local government agencies are creating incentives for places to install charging stations. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is providing grants to offset the cost of purchase and installation of electric vehicle charging stations. Properties such as parking facilities, workplaces, government and educational facilities, non-profits, apartments and condos are eligible for the grant. 

Rural towns are also an important element in the electric vehicle infrastructure. Establishing a robust and continuous infrastructure is important if companies and agencies are looking to make these cars the new norm. This develops a partnership among all stakeholders and greater placement of charging stations across the U.S.

Keep Track of Electric Vehicle Agendas with Agenda Discovery

With Agenda Discovery’s easy-to-use legislative tracking tool, anyone can stay on top of local government agendas that could impact their business. Whether they’re in the utility, financial, or automobile industry, we’ve made it easy to track policies that matter to any business. By plugging an unlimited amount of keywords, business leaders can feel empowered and secure knowing they have our software on their side. Contact us today to receive a free demo and learn how we give you the power to stay on top of laws that matter to your business!

Will Your City Require Solar Power for New Buildings?

Solar power panels outside on a roof

Solar power is becoming a hot topic of discussion in America. Its innovation can benefit every aspect of our communities; from the businesses and organizations, right down to its individuals. Additionally, it promotes cleaner energy in a time where climate change is a concern for people across the globe. These reasons result in local governments adopting new regulations regarding this form of energy.

Agenda Discovery is your government relations assistant that alerts you on what’s happening in your local government. With us, you can stay on top of legislation that would impact your industry. Read the article below and learn how cities are adopting new regulations for solar energy and how our software helps you stay on top of new developments.

Why Are Cities Moving Towards Solar Power?

According to Solar United Neighbors, energy expenditures are typically the second-largest budget item in their operating expenses. Cities that adopt solar energy solutions are seeing reduced energy costs. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy states solar costs have fallen more than 60% since 2010, with another expected drop of 35% by 2022. Additionally, municipalities will receive full credit for every unit of electricity produced with their solar panels due to net metering

Solar power also has a tremendous impact on local economic development. Installing solar panels on buildings can help municipalities begin the process towards a clean energy economy. Leveraging community outreach resources to educate people about renewable energy systems during installation can help grow a local customer base. Also, municipalities can boost job creation by working with contractors on installation. This has led to more than 231,000 people employed in the solar industry. 

How Are Cities Transitioning to Solar Power?

In their transition to a more sustainable future, San Francisco and Santa Monica are the first major U.S. cities to pass laws mandating rooftop solar energy installations. California’s existing Title 24 Energy Standards law requires new small and mid-sized residential and commercial buildings to be solar-ready. Under this law, buildings with 10 floors or fewer must leave 15% of the roof free from obstructions so that solar panels can be installed. 

San Francisco and Santa Monica recently passed laws to add to Title 24. Now, property owners must install solar energy systems on the rooftops of any new building. Newly constructed buildings must have a minimum of 1.5 watts of solar power installed per square foot of building space. Multi-family homes, hotels, and commercial properties will need to install at least 2 watts for every square foot. 

Additionally, cities across the United States are adopting incentives for property owners to install solar energy. In June 2017, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed a bill that brought net metering to the state. The law allows new solar customers to be reimbursed for excess energy at 95% of the retail rate. This rate will decline as more solar systems are installed in Nevada. Also, the law created protection for homeowners, by offering a guaranteed net metering rate for 20 years.

How Does Agenda Discovery Help Monitor Solar Energy Regulations?

With Agenda Discovery’s easy-to-use legislative tracking tool, anyone can stay on top of local government agendas that could impact their business. Whether they’re in the utility, financial, or medical industry, we’ve made it easy to track policies that matter to any business. By plugging an unlimited amount of keywords, business leaders can feel empowered and secure knowing they have our software on their side. Contact us today to receive a free demo and learn how we give you the power to stay on top of laws that matter to your business!

Microtrenching: The Future of Fiber Optics

microtrenching and fiber optics

With the huge demand for high-speed internet connections, it’s no surprise that companies are investing heavily in fiber optic capabilities. One way urban developers and internet providers are meeting people’s demands is through microtrenching. It’s an incredible development that is further driving innovation and interest in fiber optics. 

However, with new innovation comes new government regulations to control and manage the technology. With Agenda Discovery’s legislative tracking software, we put the power of transparency and knowledge in your hands. Stay current on what’s happening in your industry and act accordingly. Read our article below and learn more about microtrenching.

What is Microtrenching?

It’s a technique that deploys cables from broadband networks at a lower cost than traditional methods. Typically it involves a cutting wheel that saws a 0.5-2 inch wide trench with a maximum of 2-foot depth. Once a microtrencher (the cutting wheel) cuts the slot on the side of the road, broadband installers will lay the cables’ protective ducts through which they pull and push the fiber optic cables. 

Once in place, the applicators will pour resin into the microtrench with two layers. One that is dyed orange to act as a safety indicator and a top layer that is pigmented to match the color of the road. 

The Benefits of Microtrenching

The advantages to this technique are tremendous, and communities who adopt it benefit greatly. New York City adopted microtrenching back in 2013 and now requires it unless there is good reason to use other techniques. Not only is this due to being a cost-effective alternative, but it requires a lot less labor. There is a significant amount of labor that goes into traditional trenching and lots of potential hazards that occur. This is especially true when developing trenches for broadband networks. Microtrenching reduces the amount of labor needed to build these fiber optic trenches while increasing broadband efficiency. 

More Local Municipalities are Adopting the Technique

As we’ve seen with New York City, microtrenching has become an excellent alternative to traditional techniques. In fact, more cities are adopting it into their own broadband networks. Cities such as Austin, Texas; San Francisco, CA; San Antonio, TX; and Charlotte, NC have all followed suit and are benefiting from it. Their city planners and engineers are using the technique to leverage overcrowded utility corridors in effective ways. This is resulting in high-speed broadband services that are meeting their people’s needs. 

As fiber optics becomes more available across the United States, it won’t be surprising if all cities adopt microtrenching. It’s incredibly beneficial and meets the high demands people want in their internet services.

Track Microtrenching Regulations with Agenda Discovery

With the huge demand for quality broadband services, cities are enlisting in microtrenching techniques to enhance their fiber optic infrastructure. With more and more cities adopting the technique there may be new regulations that could impact its usage. 
With so much data to monitor and analyze, it can be difficult to stay current on the latest discussions happening in local offices. That is why we’ve created the Agenda Discovery tool, an innovative solution to help business owners stay current on developing policies that may impact their industry. Request a demo today and learn how our software will benefit you.

How Local Governments Protect Water Quality

how to protect water quality

State and Federal regulations help protect water resources, but do not do the whole job. Local governments have a very important role to play in the protection of surface water, ground water, drinking water, and wetlands, often filling in the gaps in State and Federal regulations. If the local government does not do so with local zoning, those gaps may not be addressed. 

Roles of Local Government in Water Quality Control

Local governments are playing very important roles in environmental water quality management. One of their responsibilities includes establishing and implementing environmental water quality monitoring programs. Water quality monitoring programs include: 

  • Categories or parameters 
  • Identifying toxic substances 
  • Parameters and special parameters for living environment
  • Identification of other parameters including Phosphorus and Chloride ion
  • Identification of physical parameters such as weather, water flow rate, and atmospheric temperature

In addition to establishing and implementing water quality monitoring programs, local governments also undertake pollution control measures, which include: 

  • Regulating factories based on laws and ordinances 
  • Maintaining and constructing additional sewerage lines and sewage treatment systems 
  • Purifying water in waterways 
  • Controlling pollution from new high-tech industries such as the electronic industries 

One of the biggest topics addressed regarding water quality control is groundwater. Many steps are being taken to keep contaminants from getting into our groundwater supplies. Manufacturers are using fewer toxic raw materials and consumers have switched to phosphate-free detergents and other less polluting household products. Since groundwater is an important and vital resource for all people, it is important to protect it. 

How to Protect and Conserve Groundwater 

Conserving water is essential. By simply reducing the amount of water that we use, our water supply will last longer. The top 10 ways to protect and conserve groundwater include: 

  • Disposing of chemicals properly 
  • Take used motor oil to a recycling center 
  • Limit the amount of fertilizer used on plants 
  • Take shorter showers 
  • Shut water off while brushing teeth 
  • Run full loads of dishes and laundry 
  • Check for leaky faucets and have them fixed 
  • Abandon all wells that are not needed 
  • Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator
  • Get involved in water education 

By taking these steps, local communities can play a role in the conservation of groundwater in addition to the help of the local government. 

The Federal Environmental Protection Agency 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plays an important and unique role in keeping our environment clean, although most of the heavy lifting in American environmental protection is done by State and local governments. The EPA provides technical assistance to support recovery planning of public health and infrastructure, such as waste water treatment plants, technical assistance for long-term cleanup to minimize public health threats, and provides environmental surveillance. 

In addition, the EPA subsidizes state and local programs, oversees states, and conducts scientific research, but state and local governments do the day-to-day work of environmental protection. 

Functions such as water supply and sewage treatment are critical environmental services typically performed by local governments. State and local governments have no choice but to keep our waste and poison out of our water supply. 

Stay Current on Policies That Matter with Agenda Discovery

You can expect to be the first to know about current policies when you invest in Agenda Discovery’s legislative tracking software. With it, you will consistently be updated on the latest developments happening in your local government and how their policies may impact you. Contact us today to schedule a demo and learn how our software can help you stay ahead of the curve.

How is Local Government Spending COVID-19 Stimulus Dollars?

dollar bills on white background local government stimulus money

In early March, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which allocated $350 billion to state and local governments across the United States. In addition to that, another $175 billion is being provided for education programs, primarily those in K-12. While this is a significant amount of relief for those facing dire situations due to the COVID-19 crisis, there is a framework on how the stimulus dollars can be used. 

Agenda Discovery is a legislative tracking tool that allows businesses and non-profit organizations the ability to stay on top of developing laws that can impact their operations. With the string of stimulus dollars making their way into local government hands, it’s important to be aware of where it is going towards. We’ve written this article to educate you on the areas and industries benefiting from these dollars. 

Local Governments are Using Stimulus to Support the Education Sector

Since the beginning of the pandemic, public and private schools have been hit extremely hard. To maintain the health and safety of school staff, students, and parents; schools across the United States made the transition to virtual learning to adapt to these unprecedented times. 

To obtain funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, schools will submit proposals that mitigate strategies for safe reopening, evidence-based interventions, and how the spending will meet the needs of disadvantaged students. Additionally, schools will outline any other spending plans to ensure successful educational programs.

Most of the money allocated to K-12 schools will go directly to school districts based on the proportion of funding they receive. Some things schools have been using their stimulus money with are:

  • Staff training on proper sanitation and personal protective equipment use
  • Purchasing hardware and software to efficiently conduct remote and hybrid learning
  • Repairing school facilities, like ventilation systems, to improve air quality and reduce the risk of spreading the virus
  • And much more

The American Rescue Plan Act Will Significantly Impact Health Insurance

Under ARPA, it will eliminate an income cap that restricts people from Affordable Care Act tax credits to help reduce monthly insurance premiums. This law has a tremendous effect on our local communities, as it allows people above the poverty level to enjoy these tax credits. Additionally, it limits the amount of money people pay for marketplace health insurance to 8.5%, as opposed to the previous 9.83%. It’s a huge advantage for community members, but we will see how this impacts the local healthcare industry.

The Stimulus Benefits Local Health and Human Services Across the U.S.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Services (HHS), $150 million will be allocated to community-based health care providers to aid in their response to COVID-19. Its goal is to strengthen relief efforts and enhance services and infrastructure across the country. This ensures that these critical institutions get the resources they need to continue to operate and serve their communities. 

How the ARPA Benefits Local Transportation

The U.S. Department of Transportation has indicated that the American Rescue Plan Act will provide immediate relief for the transportation industry and its workers. This ensures local transportation systems continue to operate and its workers are equipped with personal protective equipment, essential goods and services, and vaccines to combat the pandemic. 

The ARPA contains a $30.5 billion stimulus specifically to assist with operating costs, including payroll and PPE expenses. Dedicated funds will support transportation services for the elderly and individuals with disabilities, and urban, rural, and tribal transit systems.

Track Local Law Developments with Agenda Discovery

This is only a fraction of what is being done with the ARPA stimulus. With the Agenda Discovery legislative tracking software, you can stay on top of any developments as a result of their newfound funds to assist during the pandemic. Contact Agenda Discovery today to learn how this innovative software keeps local government transparent.