FRANKFORT, Ky. - On Tuesday, Gov. Steve Beshear signed an executive order directing the Transportation Cabinet to immediately develop and implement an emergency regulation authorizing the use of low-speed electric vehicles on Kentucky's roadways.
"Kentuckians, like all Americans, are hard hit by record-high gas prices," Gov. Beshear said at a news conference announcing the order. "These tough times call for creative solutions, and I believe allowing Kentuckians the option of using an electric vehicle is one of those solutions. Electric vehicles may help ease the burden on the pocketbooks of hard-working Kentucky families, as well as reduce their carbon footprint."
"In addition, my administration will also aggressively pursue any economic development opportunities to recruit manufacturers and the jobs that come with this growing field," the Governor added.
Following a recent review of low-speed electric vehicles ordered by the Governor, the Transportation Cabinet reported that under certain conditions, such vehicles can operate safely on Kentucky's highways.
"We're in favor of new and innovative transportation technologies," Transportation Secretary Joe Prather said. "We will work diligently to develop and implement standards to ensure safe operation of these vehicles on Kentucky roads."
The executive order calls on Secretary Prather to immediately develop and implement the standards for authorizing the use of Low Speed Electric Vehicles upon Kentucky's roadways; defines a low-speed electric vehicle; and identifies rules under which a person may operate these vehicles.
The executive order also calls on Secretary Prather to report to the Governor by Dec. 1, 2008, any recommendations for legislation, additional regulation, or other policy and procedures needed to facilitate the safe use of low speed electric vehicles in Kentucky.
In addition, the Cabinet for Economic Development and other state and local agencies are currently engaged in efforts designed to retain and recruit major manufacturers of low-speed electric vehicles.