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CT transportation committee advances electric vehicle bill

A Tesla vehicle receives a charge at a charging station.
Mike Stewart
A Tesla vehicle receives a charge at a charging station.

A key legislative committee in Connecticut voted to advance a bill that would begin to strengthen the state’s electric vehicle infrastructure on Wednesday.

Republican leaders are worried it will become an EV mandate.

The bill would create an Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Coordinating Council — a working council to explore the state’s options as they promote electric vehicle sales to slow greenhouse gas emissions.

Committee chair Senator Christine Cohen supports the bill.

“We need to help our constituents in the move towards electrification,” Cohen said. “We need to figure this out. We need to figure out, are there enough charging stations in rural areas? How are we going to account for multifamily dwellings and apartment buildings in our more urban centers and urban environments?”

The bill’s statement of purpose outlines the proposed legislation:

  • Establish the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Coordinating Council
  • Revise the Connecticut Hydrogen and Electric Automobile Purchase Rebate program
  • Authorize the state to issue bonds for the installation of electric vehicle charging; infrastructure and provision of incentives and rebates for electric vehicles
  • Specify the rate used to charge a customer for the provision of electricity to a separately metered level-2 charger
  • And study the feasibility of expanding mobility options in rural communities.

Republicans, like Senator Ryan Fazio, say the bill is too similar to the electric vehicle mandate that failed to clear the state’s Regulation Review Committee in November.

“I think electric vehicles are a valuable asset, a valuable innovation in our economy, and especially for our environment,” Fazio said. “But I don't see that this legislation is going to be an asset to our state and to our residents. I'm worried it's going to be a pretext to more mandates and higher costs and a less reliable grid.”

Governor Ned Lamont said he doesn’t think the bill goes far enough — he wants the legislature to do more to support electric vehicle infrastructure.

Molly is a reporter covering Connecticut. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.