County sets $5 as maximum fee for vehicle recharging stations

May 19, 2011

By Staff

NEW — 8 a.m. May 19, 2011

King County Council members set a $5 fee as the cap for motorists plugging in electric and hybrid vehicles for a charge at county recharging stations.

The ordinance adopted by the council Monday establishes a per-use fee, and directs the county Department of Transportation to set a fee up to $5 per use. The proposed maximum fee is based on maintenance costs, vendor costs and electricity.

“The $5 cap fee approved today should give the economic viability of electric cars a real jolt,” Vice Chairwoman Jane Hague said in a release. “‘Green’ vehicles are the future of transportation and providing commuters with a variety of practical options is definitely a good thing.”

Technological advances make electric vehicles — battery and plug-in hybrids — more economically feasible to own.

In 2009, the council called on the county executive to establish policies for developing and operating electric vehicle charging stations on county-owned or -leased property.

“It is exciting to have the grant support from partners to develop charging stations at park-and-ride facilities,” Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, the Issaquah representative, said in a release. “This modest cost-recovery measure will provide citizens with convenient access to charging stations now and into the future, and will prepare our infrastructure to meet the needs of a growing number of ‘green’ vehicles on the road.”

The council approved a program last year to install up to 200 charging stations at county-owned, -leased or partnering organizations’ facilities, such as Metro Transit lots. The cost to operate the facilities should be covered by the fee.

“Our goal is to make driving electric vehicles convenient and affordable in King County because they’re the wave of the future for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on foreign energy,” Councilman Larry Phillips said in a release. “Operating electric vehicle charging stations at county facilities makes use of existing capacity, and offering recharging services for a low cost means they will be accessible to drivers while covering their cost of operation.”

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