Both Minneapolis and St. Paul will be the beneficiaries of a cash injection from the charity run by notable billionaire Michael Bloomberg.
The former New York Mayor was in the Twin Cities on Monday to announce that both cities are among 20 nationally to benefit from Bloomberg Philanthropies' $70 million Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge program.
Minneapolis and St. Paul have been added to its "two-year acceleration program" that will see them provided with resources and support to "help meet or beat the city’s near-term carbon reduction goals."
Both cities have given some ideas of how it intends to use the money over the next two years:
– Developing a "Mobility-as-a-Service" pilot, which would offer a subscription service for unlimited transit use, and a limited amount of use for shared cars, bikes, scooters and ride-sharing.
– Increase the use of low-carbon transportation by "non-traditional users" by 10 percent, via incentives, education and encouragement.
– Introduce city-wide solar strategy focusing on low-income onsite and community solar garden subscriptions.
– Build 35 "mobility hubs" to offer low-carbon transportation options and electric car charging, bringing 90 percent of city residents within 10 minutes of human-powered, electric or low-carbon transportation options.
– Retrofit and improve municipal buildings to reduce carbon emissions.
– Develop solar workforce training and programs, to run alongside a plan to increase opportunities for solar installations.
Both Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey and St. Paul mayor Melvin Carter made the announcement with Bloomberg in Minneapolis on Monday.
The two cities were picked for the program because of their "innovative and ambitious climate action plans" to reduce pollutions and emissions.
Bloomberg, who is the UN Special Envoy for Climate Action, said that cities are increasingly taking the lead on climate change action, amid skepticism at the federal level about the impact of human behavior on global warming.
"We were looking for cities with ambitious and realistic plans to cut emissions in ways that improve people’s lives, and mayors committed to getting the job done," said Bloomberg. "Each of these winning cities brings those ingredients to the table - and we’re looking forward to working with them and seeing what they can accomplish."