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150 vouchers available to Raleigh residents for e-bikes

 Raleigh hopes to get more residents riding battery-powered bicycles.
Next Bike UK
via Flickr
Raleigh hopes to get more residents riding battery-powered bicycles.

The Raleigh City Council recently approved a voucher program for electric bicycles, also known as e-bikes.

Council member Jonathan Melton proposed the idea based on a program in Denver, where the city has issued more than 5,500 vouchers since last year. It has also launched e-bike libraries where residents can "check out" a bicycle.

"I'm always looking for good ideas," Melton said.

Raleigh city staff are developing an application process for the pilot program. 150 vouchers will be offered.

"There will be third-party vendors who are local that we partner with, and you apply through the city, if you're approved, then you go to the third-party vendor," Melton said. "And when you make the purchase, voucher is applied right there a point of sale."

75 vouchers will be available to all Raleigh residents. They will receive a $500 voucher, good for the purchase of a new e-bike. Another 75 will be reserved for people with low incomes.

Melton says recipients will be asked to share data with the city about their e-bike usage "so we can track the impact on vehicle miles traveled, we can track any infrastructure improvements we may need."

The pilot program is funded through a grant, but Melton says he's looking for permanent funding from Wake County or other sources.

"I do know that there are other grant opportunities that would be available," Melton said. "We also suggested that we look at the private sector to see if we could get some contributions or donations towards this program. "

Bradley George is WUNC's AM reporter. A North Carolina native, his public radio career has taken him to Atlanta, Birmingham, Nashville and most recently WUSF in Tampa. While there, he reported on the COVID-19 pandemic and was part of the station's Murrow award winning coverage of the 2020 election. Along the way, he has reported for NPR, Marketplace, The Takeaway, and the BBC World Service. Bradley is a graduate of Guilford College, where he majored in Theatre and German.
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