County Outlines Plans for Sustainable Transportation

FREDERICK, MD –Frederick County Government is accelerating efforts to be more climate resilient. At Mobilize Frederick's annual Climate Summit today, Frederick County Executive Jessica Fitzwater announced two new initiatives by the Division of Energy and Environment to speed up the use of electric vehicles by the County and the public. The Alternative Fuel Vehicle Fleet Transition Plan for County Government and the Community-wide Electric Vehicle Readiness Plan will guide the County as it transitions toward sustainable transportation.

“With these plans, we are turning sustainability ideals into meaningful actions,” County Executive Fitzwater said. “As our transportation infrastructure evolves, we not only pave the way for ‘greener’ vehicles, we also support innovation and economic growth. Our goal is to ensure a resilient future for Frederick County’s businesses and residents.”

Data from across Frederick County show the transportation sector accounts for about 48% of all greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. Community input during the formation of the Livable Frederick Master Plan and feedback provided to the County Executive's transition team spoke to a desire to address this and create a more sustainable transportation system.

This need was accentuated when Governor Moore announced that the state would require car manufacturers to increase the share of electric vehicles they sell, reaching 100% of passenger car and light truck sales by 2035. By preparing now for a shift to EVs, Frederick County will be well-positioned to leverage federal and state funding to invest in infrastructure and resilience projects.

This work has already begun in Frederick County Government's operations. Staff from across County Divisions assessed which county vehicles were suitable for replacement with EVs or adoption of biodiesel. The process examined the status of existing vehicle technology, the kinds of tasks County vehicles perform, and the total cost of vehicle ownership. The resulting Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Fleet Transition Plan shows that it is possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector while lowering long-term fleet costs.

To make a substantial impact, others must be able to replicate and adopt these steps. The Electric Vehicle Readiness Plan (EVRP) provides a starting point for this process. The Plan identifies barriers to vehicle electrification and examines the need for expanding EV charging infrastructure.  

Key highlights of the County's Community-wide EVRP initiative include:

  • Collaboration with stakeholders: Frederick County is actively collaborating with stakeholders, including large employers, utility providers, and community organizations, to foster a collaborative approach.
  • Evaluation of charging infrastructure: The EVRP includes an inventory of current and projected charging needs, as well as an examination of the costs, challenges, and benefits of community EV adoption.
  • Consideration of equity: Understanding barriers to EV adoption and identifying communities at a disadvantage for this transition will help form equitable policies and develop strategies to ensure inclusive opportunities.
  • Policy recommendations: An assessment of local ordinances, building codes, permitting processes, and parking and zoning regulations will help remove impediments to EV adoption.
  • Implementation strategies: The EVRP examines opportunities for utilizing existing infrastructure in new ways, best practices for siting charging stations, and outreach efforts that can assist the community.
  • Identifying funding opportunities: From federal funding to purchasing programs to grants and rebates, the County is outlining an array of economic incentives to fuel the transition to a zero-emission transportation system.

Shannon Moore, Director of the Division of Energy and Environment, expressed appreciation for the County's commitment to creating a more energy-efficient transportation system. “Working collaboratively across county agencies and in partnership with community stakeholders, we are creating a business and community-friendly way to reduce our carbon footprint and position Frederick County as a leader in the regional response to climate change.”

The public is encouraged to review the new plans and submit feedback as part of the County’s online survey. To do so, please visit frederickcountymd.gov/EVReadiness and frederickcountymd.gov/GreenFleet. To learn more about the Division of Energy and Environment’s diverse array of programs and their commitment to balancing social justice, economic growth, and environmental care, please follow their work on Facebook and Instagram @SustainableFCMD.