Congress members introduce bill to move America’s freight fleet to electric

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A bicameral group of Democrats legislators introduced legislation Wednesday designed to slash the transportation sector’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The Medium- and Heavy-Duty Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Act would increase access to charging infrastructure for medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles. It was introduced by U.S. Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Alex Padilla (D-CA), and Edward J. Markey (D-MA), and U.S. Reps. Nanette Diaz Barragan (D-CA), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Ann Kuster (D-NH), and Yvette Clark (D-NY).

“Climate chaos is not a distant possibility. Oregonians suffering from smoke; farmers enduring drought; residents preparing to flee this harm as wildfires advance all know that this crisis is already here—and it’s serious,” Merkley said. “We can’t sit on our hands. We need to tackle this problem head-on, and we can’t do that without cutting transportation pollution. This bill will help us on that mission, so we can protect our communities, families, and economies from the worst of climate chaos’ consequences.”

Medium- and Heavy-duty trucks, with tractor-trailers, large pickups and vans, delivery trucks, buses, and garbage trucks produce 23 percent of the transportation sector’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The bill would establish a rebate program administered by the Environmental Protection Agency to promote the purchase and installation of charging stations for medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles. Additionally, the bill would establish two bonuses that would increase the size of the rebate – a Community Benefit Bonus for trucks based in nonattainment area counties and a Rural Bonus for trucks in rural areas. The rebates would cover 80 percent of the capital purchase and installation costs for public and non-profit purchasers and 50 percent of the capital purchase for for-profit purchasers.

“Medium and heavy-duty vehicles are one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants in the United States, and this bill is an important step to fight our addiction to fossil fuels and ensure the right of overburdened communities to breathe clean air. We need to clean up our freight sector now, or continue to see adverse health impacts and an ever-worsening climate crisis,” Markey said.

The legislation is endorsed by the Union of Concerned Scientists and is co-sponsored by several U.S. Representatives.