By RIA ROEBUCK JOSEPH
THE CENTER SQUARE CONTRIBUTOR
(The Center Square) – “In awarding grants … the Secretary shall give priority to eligible entities that serve communities that have been historically marginalized or disproportionately impacted by environmental injustice,” says the EVs for All Act legislation being introduced by U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Rep. Nanette Díaz Barragán (D-Calif.-44).
Sen. Booker, one of the bill’s sponsors stated, “By expanding access to EVs for residents of public housing, we can empower low-income communities with clean transportation options and alleviate the burden of high gas prices and pollution. That is why I am proud to join Representative Barragán in introducing this legislation that represents our commitment to environmental justice and ensures everyone has a fair chance to benefit from the transition to electric vehicles.”
If enacted, the bill would award grants to entities to operate a proposed electric vehicle sharing service addressing “the infrastructure needs of the public housing project where that electric vehicle sharing service will be operated and the transportation needs of the community surrounding the public housing project.”
“By making EVs more accessible to residents of public housing—who face some of the worst air quality in the nation—we can begin to close the gap in access to clean and healthy transportation, safeguard clean air, and save working families costly trips to the gas pump,” Sen. Padilla said.
The act requires a program to be developed by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Transportation, which offers grants of up to $1 million to public housing agencies, local governments, or non-profit organizations.
Considerations would also be given as to whether an eligible entity has: a plan for outreach that is culturally tuned to the community and can educate residents regarding the proposed electric vehicle sharing service; the economic and operational sustainability of the proposed electric vehicle sharing service; a proposal to install fast-charging stations; a proposal to purchase union-assembled electric vehicles; a proposal to purchase electric vehicles that contain at least 50 percent domestic content and are powered by battery cells manufactured in the United States and proposal to purchase vehicles from certifiable fair labor and worker protection programs.
Annual appropriations of up to $50 million from Fiscal Year 2024 to 2033 provide for the expansion of EV accessibility for low-income residents as authorized by the bill.
Grant recipients are encouraged to hire at least 40% of local and disadvantaged workers who are Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP) certified or hold an NEVI electrician certification.
“A successful clean energy future requires that every resident, regardless of income, can take part,” said Rep. Barragán. “This model has proven popular at Rancho San Pedro public housing in my district, and I’m excited to reintroduce the EVs for All Act to expand it to every part of the country.”
“Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Energy , in coordination with the Secretary of Transportation and the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, shall carry out a program to award grants, on a competitive basis, to facilitate electric vehicle sharing services operated at public housing projects.”
In the addition to Sen. Padilla and Sen. Booker, the legislation is co-sponsored in the Senate by U.S Senators Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.). In the House, the legislation is also cosponsored by U.S. Representatives Jasmine Crockett (D-Texas), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.), Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), Donald Payne (D-N.J.), Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Pramila Jayapal (D-Calif.), Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Penn.), Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), André Carson (D-Ind.), Jesus Garcia (D-Ill.), and Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.).