CEDAR FALLS -- On June 30, the U.S. House is to vote on a transportation infrastructure package that focuses on cutting carbon pollution. One policy in the bill will have the opposite effect.
This bill encourages utility companies to raise rates on their customers to fund building electric vehicle charging stations. Also, these utility companies could also get federal grants to cover the construction costs.
This might sound good in theory, but this policy will make it impossible for the private sector to compete, since they will have to use private funds for construction. Without private sector investment, less charging stations will get built, which slows the transition to electric vehicles. Less competition means higher prices.
Democrats have an admirable goal of cutting emissions from the transportation sector, which is key to reducing our carbon footprint since transportation is the number one carbon emitting sector. But the “utility model” they’re supporting will make it less likely that consumers transition, since the availability of charging stations has been shown as a concern for people considering switching.
I encourage Representatives Axne and Finkenauer to push to update the transportation bill to promote fair private sector competition in the charging station market, or oppose this legislation.
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