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Clarke Introduces Legislation to Create 200,000 EV Charging Stations in Underserved Communities by 2030

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09) took significant action to equitably tackle the climate crisis and reduce local air pollution by introducing legislation to increase electric vehicle charging deployment infrastructure in underserved and disadvantaged communities. Companion legislation is being introduced in the Senate by Sen. Cortez Masto (D-NV).

Clarke said: “Decarbonizing the transportation sector is a critical piece of how we tackle the climate crisis, and equity must be front and center in this conversation. Unless we are intentional in our actions, the communities that have the most to gain from an electrified transportation sector will also be among the last and least to partake in its benefits. My legislation with Senator Masto, the Electric Vehicles for Underserved Communities Act, will ensure that all Americans benefit from the clean vehicle future by directing the Department of Energy to support the creation of 200,000 electric vehicle charging stations in underserved and disadvantaged communities over the next ten years.” 

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the transportation sector has become the single most significant source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Fossil-fuel burning cars, trucks, and buses are also extensive contributors to local air pollution, such as ozone and particulate matter, leading to dangerous lung and cardiovascular conditions and premature death. Underserved and disadvantaged communities are disproportionately vulnerable to these impacts, making equity an urgent concern for all efforts to electrify the transportation sector and move towards a clean energy economy.

Electrifying the transportation sector will require a significant build-out of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and equity concerns must be addressed at the onset to ensure that underserved communities are not once again left behind as new infrastructure technology is deployed across the nation. Rep. Clarke’s legislation, the Electric Vehicles for Underserved Communities Act, takes immediate action to increase deployment of electric vehicle charging stations in and around locations that will have a direct benefit to disadvantaged communities, including on-street and public parking, multi-unit dwellings, public and affordable housing, public parks, public buildings, places of work, commuter transit hubs, and more. In addition to supporting personal vehicles, charging stations will also help incentivize electric car-sharing and rideshare programs in areas that have received underinvestment in public transit and last-mile options.

“My legislation will provide unprecedented levels of grant funding and technical assistance to cities, states, community organizations, and small businesses so that electric vehicle charging stations can be deployed in communities that have been most impacted by transportation pollution,” Clarke continued.  “Not only will this support a zero-emission transportation sector, it will also be a major generator of good-paying local jobs that help put people back to work and revitalize our economy both in Brooklyn and across the nation.”

A copy of Rep. Clarke’s legislation can be found HERE.

The Electric Vehicles for Underserved Communities Act directs the Department of Energy to expand access to electric vehicle charging in underserved communities by:

  • Establishing an Electric Vehicle Charging Equity Program to create 200,000 charging stations nationwide in underserved communities by 2030.
  • Focusing relevant investment and programmatic resources towards electric vehicle charging infrastructure, clean and multimodal transportation, air quality improvement, and underserved and disadvantaged communities’ needs.
  • Performing a national assessment on the status of, challenges to, and opportunities for greater electric vehicle charging infrastructure deployment in underserved and disadvantaged communities.
  • Compiling and analyzing the various policies that states, local governments, and private entities use to incentivize and increase electric vehicle charging infrastructure deployment in underserved and disadvantaged communities.
  • Identifying the communities with the least electric vehicle charging stations per capita throughout the United States, at zip-code and census tract levels.

“Communities of color have been disproportionately affected by the climate crisis,” said Senator Cortez Masto, “so climate solutions mustn’t leave them behind. Electric vehicles protect the health of our children by reducing both pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. I’m proud to introduce this bicameral legislation in the Senate so that Nevada’s underserved communities can benefit from electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and I’ll continue working in the Senate for a clean energy economy that benefits every Nevadan.” 

Congresswoman Clarke is joined by 23 other members of the House of Representatives in introducing the Electric Vehicles for Underserved Communities Act, including Congressmembers Earl Blumenauer (OR), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Raul Grijalva (AZ), Nanette Barragan (CA), Chellie Pingree (ME), Peter Welch (VT), Andre Carson (IN), Emanuel Cleaver (MO), Mondaire Jones (NY), Gwen Moore (WI), Albio Sires (NJ), Nydia M. Velazquez (NY), Alcee Hastings (FL), Jackie Speier (CA), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ), Bennie G. Thompson (MS), Salud Carbajal (CA), Tim Ryan (OH), Mark Pocan (WI), Grace Meng (NY), Maxine Waters (CA), Jamie Raskin (MD), and Doris Matsui (CA).   

Clarke’s legislation has also received broad support from environmental and transportation organizations:

“We appreciate Rep. Clarke’s leadership on tackling climate change, and emissions from cars in an equitable way – those communities of color and low-wealth communities that are impacted the most by fossil fuel emissions and climate change must reap the early benefits of the clean energy transition,” said Matthew Davis, Legislative Director at the League of Conservation Voters.

“The Electric Vehicles for Underserved Communities Act of 2021 will ensure that public EV charging locations will be available everywhere. The benefits of EVs are clear—they support domestic manufacturing jobs, reduce monthly fuel and service costs and provide immediate emissions relief for families living near high-traffic corridors,” said Joe Britton, Executive Director of the Zero Emission Transportation Association (ZETA). “Not only will this bill direct the US Department of Energy to perform a nationwide needs assessment of EV charging in underserved communities, it also puts real money toward deploying those charging stations. On behalf of our more than 50 EV industry members, we thank Rep. Clarke and Sen. Cortez Masto for leading this bill, and strongly encourage Congress to pass it this year.”

“Earthjustice is proud to endorse Representative Clarke’s Electric Vehicles for Underserved Communities Act of 2021. Low-income communities and communities of color should be the first in line to reap the benefits of a clean energy economy as they are the first to bear the impacts of climate change. This bill presents an important step forward in this goal by opening up access to clean energy transportation for environmental justice communities,” said Associate Legislative Representative Athena Motavvef from Earthjustice.

“Electric vehicles and other e-mobility solutions have the potential to provide a cleaner and greener transportation future that would help address health, environmental, workforce and economic disparities, particularly for underserved communities that have been negatively impacted first and worst for decades,” said Terry Travis, Co-Founder of EVHybridNoire, the nation’s largest network of diverse EV drivers and enthusiasts. “In order to realize that vision, we have to advance smart approaches like the ‘Electric Vehicles for Underserved Communities Act’ which center equity into e-mobility programs from the beginning. EVHybridNoire is happy to have been engaged in the crafting of this bill, and we applaud Rep. Clarke for her leadership on this issue and urge Congress to advance this important initiative.” 

“While the transition to EVs will positively impact our environment significantly, we must also ensure it is done in an equitable way so that everyone has access and all communities benefit from this new economy,” said John DeBoer, head of Siemens eMobility Solutions and Future Grid Business in North America. “We at Siemens proudly support Congresswoman Clarke’s legislation and are committed to doing our part by promoting policies that ensure EV charging infrastructure is open and accessible to all.”  

“The transformation of our transportation system to electric vehicles is beginning, but in order for it to be successful, and for our country to fully reap the full economic, health and climate benefits, electric vehicles must be accessible to everyone,” said Elizabeth Gore, Senior Vice President of Political Affairs at Environmental Defense Fund. “We commend Representative Yvette Clarke for introducing the Electric Vehicles for Underserved Communities Act and working to ensure that the transition of our transportation system to zero emissions vehicles is equitable and just. Low-income communities and communities of color are impacted first and worst by extreme weather events, air pollution and other harms associated with climate change. Yet they are too often left out of the solutions that aim to create a cleaner environment. Importantly, this legislation focuses on these underserved communities by equipping them with tools and funding necessary to make clean vehicle technologies more accessible.”

“Increased deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure is crucial as we move toward a cleaner, electricity-powered transportation future. We are proud to support the Electric Vehicles for Underserved Communities Act to improve access to charging infrastructure in low-income communities and communities of color across the country,” said Michelle Robinson, Director of Clean Transportation Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. 

“As we take climate action and address decades of inequitable exposure to air pollution we cannot leave any community behind. The Sierra Club is proud to endorse this legislation that will build out our nation’s clean energy infrastructure and prioritize underserved communities,” said Will Anderson, Sierra Club Associate Director of Legislative/Administrative Advocacy – Transportation.

“We need to ensure that the communities most harmed by pollution — and most at risk from our climate crisis — benefit from cleaner technologies, and see those benefits as soon as possible,” said Khalil Shahyd, Senior Policy Advocate at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). “Bringing electric vehicle charging stations to underserved communities is a key way to do this, and this legislation would be an important step to bring that about.”

“We applaud Rep. Clarke’s leadership to bring electric vehicle charging infrastructure to traditionally underserved areas. Lyft is committed to reaching 100 percent electric vehicles on our platform by 2030. We support the Electric Vehicles for Underserved Communities Act to help bring equitable access to charging infrastructure and provide consumers with more options for sustainable and zero-emission transportation,” said Anthony Foxx, Chief Policy Officer, Lyft.

“EVs are for everyone. Rep. Clarke’s Electric Vehicles for Underserved Communities Act of 2021 will ensure that there is adequate charging infrastructure going into the areas for low-income communities and disadvantaged communities, thus helping to overcome the concern of where to charge – particularly for those who do not have a dedicated parking spot or workplace charging yet. We are excited that the benefits of driving electric can continue to be experienced by all drivers, regardless of the community you live in,” said Joel Levin, Executive Director of Plug In America, the voice of the EV consumer. 

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Yvette D. Clarke has been in Congress since 2007. She represents New York’s Ninth Congressional District, which includes Central and South Brooklyn. Rep. Clarke is a Senior Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, including the Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee, and a Senior Member of the Committee on Homeland Security.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 

February 24, 2021

Media contact: 

Remmington Belford e: Remmington.belford@mail.house.gov c: 202.480.5737