by Dustin Gardiner, SF Chronicle
California is on the verge of spending $1.5 million to study what it would take to “significantly reduce” emissions from vehicles — including phasing out new gasoline-powered cars — after a San Francisco legislator used a budget maneuver to bring the idea back from the dead.
For two years, Democratic Assemblyman Phil Ting has unsuccessfully pushed bills that would clear the way for the state to end the sale of new cars that emit greenhouse gases by 2040. The bills have never even received committee hearings, due to opposition from moderate Democrats.
But Ting found another route in the state’s new budget, which lawmakers passed Thursday, thanks to a little-debated $1.5 million appropriation. It helped that Ting was vice chairman of the conference committee that negotiated a budget deal among the Assembly, Senate and Gov. Gavin Newsom.