Thursday, November 13, 2008

Utilities in the business of transportation

Oregon's Transportation Vision Committee released its report to Gov. Kulongoski last week, laying out a multi-year strategy for infrastructure investments and policy changes. Reading through it more closely today, something odd jumped out at me.

The long list of committee members mostly consists of the usual suspects in transportation planning -- the Oregon Department of Transportation, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, Associated General Contractors, etc. -- but somewhat new to the scene are Oregon's two largest utilities. Pat Reiten, the president of Pacific Power, was front and center in the report, as the author of the introduction and committee chairman.

When I spoke to Pat just before the release he emphasized the report's focus on plug-in hybrid electric cars and the governor's proposed retooling of the Residential and Business Energy Tax Credits toward the purchase and development of those vehicles. I was surprised because PGE has been very vocal about its support of hybrid cars, launching its pilot program for electric car charging stations this summer. But Pacificorp has been more cautious.

It now seems that Pacificorp is gearing up for the transition to electric vehicles, too.

No comments: