Catherine Cortez Masto

06/27/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/27/2019 17:41

Cortez Masto Introduces Legislative Package to Promote Cleaner Vehicles, Fight Climate Change

June 27, 2019

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) today introduced four bills in the United States Senate: The Green Spaces, Green Vehicles Act; The ElectricTransportation Commission and National Strategy Act; The Clean Fuel Infrastructure Act; and The Greener Transportation for Communities Act. These bills are designed to promote the use of cleaner transportation options throughout America, encourage the construction of electric charging and hydrogen fuel cell infrastructure on federal lands, require a national strategy to promote electric vehicle use, and provide economic incentives for the construction of clean fuel infrastructure that will harness Nevada's role as the Innovation State and a renewable energy leader, and create jobs while also addressing climate change.

Transportation accounts for nearly 30% of all greenhouse gas emissions and is the largest single contributor to the climate change crisis in the United States. Light to heavy duty vehicles account for over 80% of these emissions, dwarfing those of aircraft, rail, shipping, and other forms of transportation. Under Nevada's Strategic Planning Framework, the state is working to build an 'electric highway' system serving the entire state by 2020, expanding on the initial plans to install publicly available charging infrastructure along U.S. Highway 95 between Reno and Las Vegas.

'I've introduced a series of bills today that will take Nevada and the entire country to the next level of leadership in renewable energy,' said Senator Cortez Masto. 'These bills provide opportunities for the federal government to invest in clean transportation infrastructure on public lands and require that the federal government take the lead in convening stakeholders around a national strategy. Additionally, these bills provide the economic incentives for companies, state and local governments to invest in this critical infrastructure that strengthens America's clean energy future, creates jobs and combats climate change.'

Full text of The Green Spaces, Green Vehicles Act is available here.

Full text of The ElectricTransportation Commission and National Strategy Act is available here.

Full text of The Clean Fuel Infrastructure Act is available here.

Full text of The Greener Transportation for Communities Act is available here.

BACKGROUND:

Senator Cortez Masto has been a leader in cleaner transportation alternatives through her passage of the Generating Revenue for Electric and Emission-Negligible (GREEN) Vehicles at Airports Act last year to expand zero-emissions technology at our nation's airports, as well as the recent introduction of the Renew America's Schools Act, which addresses the dangerous pollution our children breathe through the investment of energy improvements, such as electric buses, vehicles, and their necessary charging infrastructure, at schools.

The Senator introduced the following bills as part of her lower-emissions vehicles legislative package to promote cleaner transportation and combat climate change:

The Green Spaces, Green Vehicles Act:

This legislation would create a joint ''Green Spaces, Green Vehicles Initiative,'' run by the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service and the Department of Energy, to build the necessary charging infrastructure on certain public lands owned by the federal government so that millions of visitors who travel to scenic areas are able to access charging and refueling infrastructure. The Green Spaces, Green Vehicles Act would:

  • Build infrastructure on NPS and USFS land for charging and refueling.
  • Prioritize shuttle services that use zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) technology.
  • Convert National Park Service and United States Forest Service fleets to ZEVs.

The Electric Transportation Commission and National Strategy Act:

This legislation establishes a joint working group co-chaired by the Departments of Transportation and Energy with important local, state, non-profit and private stakeholders to strategize and report on the barriers and opportunities to national coordination on electric transportation in a way that addresses America's transportation and energy needs while keeping America globally competitive. As part of the Electric Transportation Commission and National Strategy Act, the working group would be required to compile a resource guide for consumers and businesses.

The Clean Fuel Infrastructure Act:

This legislation extends important tax credits and clarifies existing statutes to encourage the installation of charging equipment and clean fueling infrastructure. Until the end of 2017, charging equipment, in addition to fueling equipment for natural gas, propane, diesel blends and biofuel blends, was eligible for a tax credit up to 30%. This legislation extends the credit to 2021 and clarifies that if multiple stations are installed on one property, such as multiple EV charging stations in one parking lot, each counts as a property.

The Greener Transportation for Communities Act:

This legislation allows electric charging and hydrogen refueling infrastructure to qualify for exemptions within the federal tax code, which allows state and local governments to use tax-exempt bonds to finance certain private projects. In addition, the Greener Transportation for Communities Act would allow this infrastructure to qualify as tax exempt if it is installed as part of larger projects built with private activity bonds as part of major infrastructure projects like airports, affordable housing, docks, green buildings and other infrastructure.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, driving an electric vehicle in Nevada produces 1.9 metric tons of emissions per year, compared with 4.9 metric tons from an average new gasoline-powered car. In Nevada, EV sales grew 117% from 2017-2018, and drivers across the state save money when they switch to electric vehicles. On average, rural Nevadans saved $1,011 in 2018 by switching to an electric vehicle, while the average price to charge an EV at home in Las Vegas was $0.41 per gallon of gasoline in 2017.