Too Much Focus on EVs in Infrastructure Bill

Funding the electrification of personal vehicles won't move the needle on climate change nearly as much as investing in infrastructure that lets people get out of their cars, mode shift advocates argue.

August 9, 2021, 11:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Electric Cars

Sopotnicki / Shutterstock

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill includes $15 billion in funding for electrification of vehicles, down from the "whopping $100 billion in consumer incentives (and $15 billion more for EV fueling infrastructure)" proposed in President Biden's American Jobs Plan. But as Kea Wilson writes, transit and biking advocates say the bill remains too fixated on EVs as a solution for climate change. "Biden’s over-focus on electric vehicles as a silver-bullet climate solution will come at a steep cost to the modes that scientists agree hold the real key to saving the planet without accelerating the national traffic violence crisis: transit, biking and walking."

Electrifying personal vehicles, says John Stout of  the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, is "only part of the solution to our transportation woes. In addition to garnering the federal government’s support for a faster transition to EVs … we need to make it easier for people to drive less." Beth Osborne, director of Transportation for America, said in a statement, "[i]n its current state, this deal fails to accomplish the administration’s goal of reducing emissions, preserving both the status quo of easy money to build new highways (while neglecting basic repair needs) and the existing, complex hurdles to build transit."

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