Merkley, Alexander introduce EV bill
By Christina Williams
Editor, Sustainable Business Oregon
Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley is putting his name on a bill that would fund and support electric vehicle deployment.
The "Promoting Electric Vehicles Act" was introduced again Wednesday in Washington, D.C., by Oregon Democrat Sen. Jeff Merkley and Tennessee Republican Lamar Alexander.
The bill would create and support electric vehicle early-adopter cities — called "deployment communities"— across the county and help companies that want to switch their fleets from gas to electric vehicles.
A similar bill with the same name was in play in last year's Congress, also supported by Sen. Merkley and Sen. Alexander, but never made it to a vote.
Julie Edwards, spokeswoman for Sen. Merkley, said this version of the bill is updated and stands a much better chance of moving forward given rising gas prices and an increased focus on electric vehicles from President Barack Obama.
The bill carries a price tag of about $3 billion over a five-year period that would go toward two grant programs. One would be a competitive, cost-shared grant program for the selected deployment communities, providing money to build out infrastructure and track deployment best practices.
Another competitive grant process would be available under the bill to companies looking for financial help in buying electric fleet vehicles.
“With gas prices again surging, every American understands all too well the price we pay for our addiction to imported oil,” Sen. Merkley said in a statement. “A third of all oil is burned in cars, so the rapid deployment of electric vehicles can be a major tool in breaking that addiction. We win three ways: by strengthening our national security; by keeping our energy dollars at home creating American jobs; and by improving our environment.”
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