President’s Day is a day of celebration in honor of our nation’s leaders. Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Lincoln, and Kennedy are among those on my list of most admired presidents, but JFK tops the list for his inspired leadership.
President John F. Kennedy, addressing a joint session of Congress on May 25, 1961, established the national goal of reaching the moon by the end of that decade. His moonshot inspired our nation to achieve what seemed like a near-impossible dream at the time. Today, we all know Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong stepped off the lunar module’s ladder and onto the moon’s surface on July 20, 1969. Without the president’s leadership, vision, and action, we may never have achieved that milestone.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced his own “moonshot” last week: to make his city a national leader in promoting the use of electric vehicles (EVs) over the next several years. He envisions adding something along the order of 10,000 EV charging spaces to the city’s parking facilities in less than a decade. It’s an ambitious goal, and the mayor’s leadership on the topic is to be admired.
The EV push is getting support from another mayor.
Late last month at the Department of Energy’s Workplace Charging Challenge, I had the privilege of meeting Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. Mayor Ballard has implemented aggressive and innovative efforts to move most of his city’s fleet of vehicles to electric power (heavy-duty vehicles will be powered by compressed natural gas), and hopes to replace its 3,100 gas-powered cars and trucks with EVs by 2025. Contrary to what you might expect, Mayor Ballard is not a left-wing tree hugger: he is a Republican and a Marine Corps veteran of the first Gulf War. He explained that moving aggressively on electric vehicles is motivated by his desire to never send troops to foreign lands to fight for oil, and to allow his city to reap important and significant cost savings. For him, EVs are about national security, both military and financial.
To be sure, Bloomberg and Ballard come from very different ideological places. Each, however, is exhibiting leadership on the sustainability front which is having tremendous impact on the parking industry.