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WATCH: Levin, Ocasio-Cortez Unveil Key Legislation to Enact Biden’s Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Goal

May 5, 2021

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Andy Levin (MI-09) and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) today unveiled their updated Electric Vehicle (EV) Freedom Act, which will create good-paying, union jobs nationwide, electrify America's highway system and take necessary and profound steps to combat climate change.

You can watch a press conference here.

"The EV Freedom Act is the comprehensive policy we need to make President Biden's pledge to deploy 500,000 new public charging outlets a reality and prioritizes creating good, union jobs in industries supporting vehicle electrification," Rep. Levin said. "This bill demonstrates what good policy looks like when organized labor and environmental justice groups unify behind the banner of good jobs and a livable planet. The seriousness of the threat posed by climate change demands a transformative public policy response, and we must invest in the people and the communities that will put our plans in action. The EV Freedom Act includes strong labor provisions to focus on local workers and high-quality training programs to provide great new opportunities to a diverse population."

"Over two years ago, we introduced the Green New Deal, which allowed for an entirely new frame for us to approach the climate crisis. It outright rejected this idea that jobs and justice and environmental progress are in competition with one another – and in fact, we can create a just economy and millions of union jobs by actually transitioning and decarbonizing our economy and saving our planet. The EV Freedom Act is a piece of legislation that upholds those core Green New Deal principles," said Rep. Ocasio-Cortez.

"Actions policy makers take now can help ensure the U.S. leads in the deployment of the vehicles and infrastructure of the future—and that working people and communities see the gains from the clean economy. The EV Freedom Act charts a path to making critical investments in EV infrastructure while including provisions essential to ensuring that those investments safeguard and grow good jobs and boost domestic manufacturing," said Zoe Lipman, Director of Manufacturing and Advanced Transportation, BlueGreen Alliance.

"It's vitally important that as our nation looks to build toward the future, we're using our tax dollars to not only upgrade our physical infrastructure but also create and sustain good-paying jobs," said Roxanne Brown, United Steelworkers International Vice President. "Legislation like the Electric Vehicle Freedom Act, with its robust Buy America provisions for charging infrastructure, will help set us on the path both toward modernizing our highway system and ensuring that this investment in American infrastructure is also an investment in American workers."

"The EV Freedom Act significantly improves our ability to capture all of the domestic job-creation benefits coming from America's electric vehicle boom. The legislation introduced today makes notable improvements including stronger labor and environmental justice provisions we wholeheartedly support. Thank you Congressman Levin for spearheading this important policy initiative," said James Slevin, Utility Workers Union of America President.

"Electrifying our transportation system is going to be crucial in the fight against the climate crisis. Electric vehicles should be accessible to everyone regardless of socioeconomic status. The EV Freedom Act will dramatically open up accessibility by creating a nationwide network of publicly-available electric vehicle charging stations. We thank Representatives Andy Levin and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for their leadership on this important issue," saidAthena Motavvef, Associate Legislative Representative at Earthjustice.

"With transportation now the leading source of climate pollution in the U.S., we need to electrify our cars and light trucks quickly and ensure the charging network needed to make the transition successful gets built. We appreciate Rep. Levin's and Rep. Ocasio Cortez's leadership with the EV Freedom Act," said Ann Mesnikoff, Federal Legislative Director, the Environmental Law & Policy Center.

"We're excited to see Representatives Andy Levin and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez re-introduce the EV Freedom Act. This comprehensive policy would help to make pollution-free vehicles more accessible to drivers across the country. Furthermore, the EV Freedom Act prioritizes funding for environmental justice communities while creating good-paying union jobs. We urge Congress to fund clean transportation infrastructure as part of an American Jobs package to support climate action, jobs and justice," said Darien Davis, League of Conservation Voters Government Affairs Advocate.

"America's next big challenge is transit and the EV Freedom Act will help us meet that challenge while Building Back Better," said RL Miller of Climate Hawks Vote.

Specifically, the EV Freedom Act:

  • Establishes a comprehensive, nationwide network of high-speed EV chargers along the National Highway System within five years;
  • Helps secure the automotive and infrastructure jobs of the future and create thousands of good-paying jobs with strong labor standards to protect the hardworking Americans who will build an EV future, including Buy America, prevailing wage, labor neutrality, preference for local hiring, employee classification and training standards;
  • Enhances environmental justice provisions by ensuring at least 50 percent of grant funding goes toward frontline, vulnerable and disadvantaged communities,
  • Ensures the chargers built along the National Highway System keep up with new technology to achieve a simple goal—fully power up EVs in the time it takes to fill up gas and diesel tanks;
  • Promotes interoperability so drivers don't have to fear that chargers won't be compatible with their cars; and
  • Prioritizes accessibility by guaranteeing that payment methods are secure, convenient and equal access and that all charging stations are ADA compliant.

The EV Freedom Act directs the Secretary of Transportation and the Secretary of Energy to devise a plan to create the network of EV chargers, submit the plan to Congress and create the network of EV chargers within five years.

The EV Freedom Act has the support of a diverse group of labor, environmental and climate groups, including:

BlueGreen Alliance; Center for Transportation and the Environment; Climate Hawks Vote; CMS Energy; Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action; DTE Energy; Earthjustice; Ecology Center; Environmental Defense Fund; Environmental Law and Policy Center; Food and Water Watch; U.S. Friends of the Earth; Labor Network for Sustainability; League of Conservation Voters; Sierra Club; Union of Concerned Scientists; United Steel Workers (USW); Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA).

Issues:Climate