June 12, 2021
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Rep. Andy Levin, D-Mich. (above at right), and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. (above at left), reintroduced an updated version of the Electric Vehicle or EV Freedom Act on May 5 – a bill that aims to electrify America’s highway system and “take necessary and profound steps” to combat climate change.

Rep. Levin

“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 in a statement.

“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,” he said.

“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,” Rep. Levin noted. “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.”

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez

“Over two years ago, we introduced the Green New Deal … [which] outright rejected this idea that jobs and justice and environmental progress are in competition with one another,” Rep. Ocasio-Cortez noted.

“In fact, we can create a just economy and millions of union jobs by actually transitioning and decarbonizing our economy and saving our planet,” she said. “The EV Freedom Act is a piece of legislation that upholds those core Green New Deal principles.”

According to the particulars of the updated EV Freedom Act – which Rep. Levin and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez originally introduced in February 2020 – the bill would:

  • Establish a comprehensive, nationwide network of high-speed EV chargers along the National Highway System within five years.
  • Ensure the chargers built along the National Highway System keep up with new technology to fully power up EVs in the time it takes to fill up comparative gasoline and diesel fuel tanks.
  • Promote interoperability so drivers do not have to fear that chargers won’t be compatible with their cars.
  • Prioritizes accessibility by guaranteeing that payment methods are secure, convenient and provide equal access and that all charging stations are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Ensure at least 50 percent of grant funding goes toward front-line, vulnerable, and disadvantaged communities.
editor@aashto.org

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