Two more states have put legislation on the table to back an electric vehicle (EV) future – one with millions of dollars.
The Vermont House recently passed a transportation package within two bills that would invest $22 million in cutting the cost of buying EVs and $19 million in charging infrastructure, according to VT Digger. In Connecticut, a bill is being considered that would permit operators of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) to use high occupancy vehicle lanes and another would allow for the installation of and increased access to EV charging stations by renters.
VT Digger reports that more than 40% of Vermont’s carbon emissions come from transportation. Much of the funding will come from a $1 trillion federal infrastructure package that Vermont will receive $2.2 billion from. More than $131 million of the state’s American Rescue Plan Act money will also be used for transportation under H.740, which is this year’s transportation bill in the state. The bill would require charging stations within one mile of every interstate highway exit. Just over $6 million is earmarked for the installation of the stations.
“This is the most significant investment in clean transportation, far and away, that Vermont has ever made,” Climate & Energy Program Director at VPIRG Ben Edgerly Walsh told VT Digger. “That is an enormous deal. It cannot be overstated. It’s not enough. But it’s a huge step in the right direction.”
H.740 earmarks the following transportation spending for fiscal year 2023 with the Rescue Plan Act money:
- $2 million to the Agency of Transportation to support the continued build-out of public EV charging infrastructure along highway networks; and
- $2 million to the Department of Public Service for load management and storage efforts to help “income-sensitive customers” with access incentives and incentive rates for the purchase of electric transportation, heating and cooling equipment as well as to enable smaller municipal and cooperative utilities to “capture and share benefits” of load management and funding for municipal back-up electricity storage installations.
In fiscal year 2023, $40 million would be appropriated from the General Fund under the bill for EV charging infrastructure, electrification incentives, and advanced metering including:
- $10 million to for-profit, nonprofit, municipal, and other governmental entities to install Level I and Level II public EV charging stations at multifamily dwellings, workplaces, and community attractions;
- $3 million for use by the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation to purchase and install level 1 and 2 charging stations at state parks and public fishing access areas and/or to provide grants for others to purchase and install level 1 and 2 charging stations in parks and at fishing access areas;
- $12 million for a new PEV incentive program for that was established in 2019;
- $2 million for a public-private partnership with Drive Electric Vermont to support the expansion of the plug-in electric vehicle market in the state;
- $3 million to support the MileageSmart Program, which was established in 2019 to help state residents purchase “newer, cleaner” vehicles by providing up to $5,000 toward the purchase price;
- $3 million for the Replace Your Ride Program, which was established in 2021;
- $2 million for other electric incentives including $1 million for eBikes and $1 million for electric snowmobiles and electric all-terrain vehicles; and
- $5 million to offer up to 50% reimbursement to rural and cooperative electrical distribution utilities for the implementation of a system of advanced metering infrastructure as approved by the Public Utility Commission.
The bill was passed by the House on March 25 and read by the Senate on March 30. The Senate referred it to its Committee on Appropriations.
H.736, as passed by the House on March 25, would authorize the Agency of Transportation to spend up to $6.25 million during fiscal year 2023 to install Level 3 EV charging infrastructure with the goal of having a public station within one mile of every exit of the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways and within 25 miles of another Level 3 charging station.
The bill would require the agency to file an up-to-date map by Jan. 15 every year that shows the locations of all Level 3 public charging stations in the state. It states, “Every reasonable effort shall be made to obligate and deploy the monies authorized for expenditure under this section in fiscal year 2023 in order to achieve a pace of EVSE [electric vehicle supply equipment] deployment necessary to meet the emissions reduction requirements of 10 V.S.A. § 578(a) and the recommendations of the Climate Action Plan (CAP) issued under 10 V.S.A. § 592.”
The bill was read by the Senate on March 30 and referred to the Committee on Transportation.
Connecticut EV legislation
In Connecticut, S.B. No. 389 would allow battery electric vehicles (BEVs) to operate in high occupancy vehicle lanes regardless of the number of passengers. A high occupancy lane is defined in the bill as being “reserved for the exclusive use of vehicles with an operator and one or more passengers.” Drivers wishing to use the lanes would need to get a decal from the Department of Motor Vehicles to do so.
The bill is meant to mitigate traffic and outlines other efforts to do so including traffic incident management training for police officers, the requirement for vehicles involved in an accident to move off of the roadway, and the use of unmanned aerial vehicles to investigate car accidents and traffic incidents.
S.B. No. 389 was filed with the Legislative Commissioners’ Office on March 25 and referred to the Office of Legislative Research and Office of Fiscal Analysis on Monday. If passed, the BEV lane occupancy portion of the bill would be effective Oct. 1.
H.B. No. 5117 was also introduced in February to allow for the installation of EV charging stations and increased tenant access to them at their dwelling units or common areas. The bill is with the Joint Committee on Energy and Technology.
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