The city will begin installing charging stations for electric vehicles in municipal parking lots across Boston and will require them in new private garages, as well — one of several efforts Mayor Martin J. Walsh laid out Thursday to reduce carbon gas emissions.
“To be clear: What will cost us the most is doing nothing,” Walsh told a crowd at the annual meeting of the Boston Municipal Research Bureau. “If we don’t act, carbon emissions will pose a threat to both public health and economic growth,” he said.
The mayor’s annual speech to the bureau is typically one of his most high-profile of the year, and for 28 minutes he laid out a plan to address what he called three pressing policy issues: alleviating transportation congestion, increasing school funding, and addressing climate change caused by carbon gases.
It was also the last meeting for longtime Municipal Research Bureau president Samuel Tyler, who announced in January that he would retire after serving as a fiscal watchdog during four mayoral administrations.
Walsh praised Tyler for his years of service. He also welcomed the incoming president, Pam Kocher, the first woman to lead the bureau in its nearly 90 years.
“The people in this room . . . are the people who make up the city,” he said to the crowd, which included leaders from the business sector and charitable and civic organizations who represent the bureau’s membership.
Looking to make an imprint in his second term in office, Walsh ticked off what he described as recent accomplishments to develop affordable housing and to raise funds to combat homelessness. A recently created City Academy to train residents for municipal jobs has graduated its first class, he said.
But the mayor also laid out policy areas where “trends are coming to a head and testing our capacity for collective action,” noting transportation, education, and climate change.
“To put it simply, we can’t grow our economy if we don’t move people where they want to go; we can’t share opportunity if we don’t invest in the next generation; and we won’t have a future if we’re underwater,” the mayor said, referring to rising sea levels caused by climate change.
His plans for charging stations for electric cars will require all new spaces in city parking garages to support electric vehicles, and all new private garages must have chargers in 25 percent of their spaces, with the rest wired for future use.
The mayor called on the Legislature to fix a school-funding formula for urban districts such as Boston’s, which he said supports the state’s most at-risk students.
And the mayor proposed a series of fixes to the transportation system, from reducing the city’s speed limit to 20 miles per hour in neighborhoods to putting new burdens on ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft, which have contributed to congestion on city streets.
Some of the proposals would need state approval, but Walsh called for a regional partnership to address transportation and climate change, which he called “the defining challenge of our time.”
“We need every level of government, every industry, and every individual in our region, to move forward with us,” the mayor said.Milton J. Valencia
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