Levin, Ocasio-Cortez introduce bill to create electric vehicle charging infrastructure

Published on February 10, 2020 by Kevin Randolph

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U.S. Reps. Andy Levin (D-MI) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) unveiled on Feb. 6 the Electric Vehicle (EV) Freedom Act, which would create a nationwide system of high-speed electric vehicle charging stations.

“President Dwight D. Eisenhower once implemented a radical idea – a system of highways that would bring America together,” Levin said. “Six decades later, it’s time to expand on that idea and bring America’s infrastructure into the 21st century.”

The EV Freedom Act, H.R. 5770, would direct the Secretary of Transportation and the Secretary of Energy to create a plan to establish a nationwide network of high-speed EV chargers, submit the plan to Congress and create the network within five years.

“If we are to avoid the doomsday scenario of climate change, we have to transform our transportation system and end our reliance on fossil fuels,” Levin added. “By doing so, we have the tremendous opportunity to supercharge our economy and create the jobs of the future, further unify our country in a sustainable way and lead the world in green energy infrastructure.”

The legislation drew praise from environmental groups and some electric utilities.

“We’re excited by a future that makes #electriccars available wherever you live,” Detroit-based diversified energy company DTE Energy tweeted after the bill was announced. “Thanks @RepAndyLevin for working on this important issue.”

The bill also includes Buy America and prevailing wage requirements and ensures that the chargers in the network keep up with new technology. Also, it promotes interoperability and requires secure, convenient and equal-access payment methods and ADA compliance.

“Cars, above all else, have historically represented America’s problem with dirty oil. Establishing a nation-wide network of electric vehicles charging stations helps us reduce emissions, creates good-paying jobs, and will help transition the U.S. economy to a cleaner future,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

The legislation has the support of various labor, environment and climate groups, including Blue Green Alliance, League of Conservation Voters, Union of Concerned Scientists, Sierra Club, Earthjustice, Ecology Center, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC), Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA), United Steelworkers (USW), United Automobile Workers (UAW) and the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE).

The legislation will be considered by the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee and the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.