The City of Sacramento has hired Neal Best, former Senior Vice President of Business Development for the Greater Sacramento Economic Council (GSEC), as its lead consultant representing the City on the proposed California Mobility Center.

The California Mobility Center, potentially located in Sacramento, would foster innovation in clean transportation including electric-vehicle technology that would further cut emissions and improve air quality. The center also would help established automakers and mobility startups create, prototype and scale new technology and hardware in cost-efficient ways.

Best has been involved with the proposed project since its inception more than a year ago as a joint proposal from the City of Sacramento, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), California State University, Sacramento, and the German engineering consulting group PEM Motion. He was part of a delegation that recently toured a similar mobility center in Germany that has succeeded in creating new jobs and boosting the local economy.

“I am delighted to be working on this project for the City,” Best said. “This is a collaborative effort involving SMUD, GSEC, the City and many other local partners. Having seen firsthand the PEM Motion facility in Aachen, Germany, this is an amazing opportunity for Sacramento to capitalize on, and I am excited to continue the work I started while at GSEC.”

Vice Mayor Eric Guerra, who also was part of the Germany delegation, added: “We need to keep the positive momentum going if Sacramento is going to lead the nation on the future of zero-emission mobility. Neal has been an instrumental part of this initiative and will serve our city well.”

The proposed California Mobility Center would tie in the work the City started in 2017 when it declared the region an Autonomous Transportation Open Standard Lab (ATOS), making it a testing ground for future urban mobility from both a technology and policy perspective.

“Having Neal on board to lead this project from the City’s standpoint is what is required to continue the collaboration that has already started,” said Assistant City Manager Mike Jasso. “This is a pivotal moment for the City, and we have the rare opportunity to become the national epicenter for this emerging technology.”

More recently, Best has been integral to the development of two feasibility studies for the center, which have been funded by SMUD. The studies are expected to be completed this spring.

“This mobility center is crucial to the future of Sacramento when we consider mobility, clean air, economic development and innovation,” said Arlen Orchard, CEO and general manager of SMUD. “I can’t think of a better person to lead this effort, and I look forward to helping bring this to fruition.”

The proposed California Mobility Center has the potential to not only make the region a hot spot for transportation incubation, but to help drive and diversify the local economy as well.

“We have all the key players at the table working on mobility and what it will look like for the region and ultimately the state,” said Barry Broome, CEO and President of the Greater Sacramento Economic Council. “When we think about the center for future mobility, we are definitely on the right track to getting the ball over the goal line. The greater Sacramento region is well situated to actualize this monumental project.”