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Streetsblog Board Member Lands Major Job with Biden White House

Gabe Klein will lead the White Houses’s key energy and transportation initiative.

Well, we’re movin’ on up!

Gabe Klein, a former Chicago and D.C. transportation agency leader — and a Streetsblog NYC and USA board memberhas been chosen by “Electric” Joe Biden to head the administration’s Joint Office of Energy and Transportation, which was established by the bipartisan infrastructure bill and will hand out $7.5 billion in funding for the coming EV charging network.

Klein embraced the job as a “mission.”

“I will seize the opportunity to steward a critical shift in our transportation economy from fossil fuels to clean, electric energy systems, as there has never been a more important mission in our recent history than solving the climate crisis,” Klein said in a statement.

His future boss likened electric vehicle conversion to a “revolution.”

“We look forward to working with Gabe to … ensure that every community — from the largest cities to the most rural areas — can reap the benefits of the electric vehicle revolution,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement.

Sales of electric vehicles have been sluggish as many Americans express fears of not being able to recharge (and city dwellers balk because there are almost no plugs on the streets), but EVs are expected to rise dramatically thanks to recent law changes — California, for example, has required all new cars to be powered by electricity or hydrogen by 2035 — and a push by the Biden Administration to install 500,000 chargers along America’s highways.

Transportation remains the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, but that share won’t decrease as rapidly as many hope because electric cars still require the burning of fossil fuel in their manufacturer and fueling (until we have an entirely green grid).

But, given his experience as a board member of Streetsblog’s parent company Open Plans, it’s likely Klein won’t merely be Joe Biden’s electric car salesman. As a partner in the consulting firm Citifi and during his time running the transportation departments in D.C. and Chicago, Klein urged more adoption of car sharing and bike systems like Divvy in Chicago.

And racial justice promises to be on the agenda for Klein, who is White. Klein has previously called for a reckoning with the racist history of urban planning, and the Biden administration says 40 percent of its climate change and clean energy investments must flow to disadvantaged communities.

According to the White House, per a CNN report, Klein owns an electric car and an electric bike, both of which he charges with solar.

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