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Raleigh to launch voucher program for e

Mar 27, 2023Mar 27, 2023

Raleigh hopes to get more residents riding battery-powered bicycles.

E-bikes can be pricey, as some models cost $2,000 or more, but Nicole Goddard says they have many benefits. She's with the city's Office of Sustainability.

"E-bikes are capable of replacing most car trips," Goddard told the city council at a work session this week. "The Department of Energy estimates that 75% of U.S. vehicle trips are less than 10 miles which is a distance that can be covered comfortably on an E-bike. Even without electric power, they still function as a bicycle. So if your battery drains you can still get home."

The council approved a pilot project to encourage e-bike ridership. Residents can apply for $500 vouchers which could be used for the purchase of new e-bike. People with lower incomes can qualify for larger vouchers.

"If they could offer proof of income at or below 80% of AMI (area median income), they would qualify for an income qualified voucher. And that would be $1,500 per person," Goddard said.

The pilot program is funded through a federal grant. Council member Jonathan Melton asked city staff to develop a long-term program using money from Wake County.

Other cities around the country — including Denver, Austin, and Burlington, Vermont — have launched similar voucher programs.