The Drive will keep you up to speed with the latest on Twin Cities commuting.

New MnDOT commissioner will drive an electric car

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: March 6, 2013 - 2:27 PM

Of all the news delivered at today's St. Paul Transportation Summit, the most surprising was Charlie Zelle telling attendees that he will drive an electric car.

Zelle, who was recently appointed at MnDOT's commissioner, wryly said  that he was unaware that he got a company car to go with his new job,but when it came down to choosing one he opted for a Chevy Volt.

In refering to a study that MnDOT is conducting on electric vehicles, Zelle said "We now have a larger study." He also pointed out that the sale of a Chevy Volt provides more motor vehicle sales tax dollars than the sale of a Chevy Cruze

Don't feel too badly for our roads," he said.

In his remarks, Zelle said transit and roads are not separate systems, and that part of his vision as commissioner is to bring them together.

Zelle was one of several speakers to step to the podium during the 5th annual St. Paul Smart Trips Transportation Summit, which highlighted contributions and accomplishments by organizations dedicated to improving transportation in the capital city.

A few hundred representatives from government agencies,transportation organizations, downtown workers, bloggers and "people who are passionate about transit," said Mary Heer-Forsberg, marketing and communications director for St. Paul Smart Trips.

Representatives from Metro Transit, Transit for Livable Communities, the City of St. Paul, St. Paul Smart Trips and the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce and Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce also spoke.

As part of the summit, several organizations handed out literature about their initiatives and goals for the next year. Hourcar plans to expand its car sharing program, but I can't say more until tonight's official announcement at 5 p.m.

In the coming weeks, you'll be hearing more about efforts to expand biking and walking opportunities and a push to enact a sales tax that would be dedicated to building out our transportation systems.

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