Crow, Dingell, Torres, and Moore Introduce Legislation to Improve EV Charging Infrastructure Equity

August 3, 2021
Press Release

The Community Vehicle Charging Act Would Promote Electric Vehicle Infrastructure in Environmental Justice Communities

WASHINGTON - Today, Reps. Jason Crow (D-CO), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Ritchie Torres (D-NY) and Gwen Moore (D-WI) introduced the Community Vehicle Charging Act, legislation that would help make clean vehicles accessible to all. 

A transition to zero-emission vehicles is essential to avoiding the worst impacts of climate change, but widespread adoption of zero-emission vehicles is dependent on adequate and equitable access to alternative fuel sources, such as electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure. This infrastructure has not been distributed equitably thus far, as zip codes with higher median incomes often have higher per capita electric vehicle chargers. 

The Community Vehicle Charging Act would establish a $375 million grant program at the Department of Transportation for projects that address barriers to accessing electric vehicle charging infrastructure faced by environmental justice communities over the next five fiscal years. 

“Environmental justice communities have disproportionately borne the impacts of vehicle pollution and must be able to benefit from the clean air and clean transportation that electric vehicle infrastructure can provide,” said Rep. Jason Crow. “Climate change is the defining challenge and opportunity of our age and our future depends on how we rise to meet it. The Community Vehicle Charging Act is one way we can make smart investments in a clean future and target those hit first and worst by the climate crisis. 

“29 percent of the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions are transportation related. It’s clear we need to transition from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles and other zero carbon technology if we’re going to combat the climate crisis,” said Rep. Dingell. “This transition comes with the need for critical charging infrastructure that is distributed equitably across communities. The Community Vehicle Charging Act would address barriers to charging infrastructure for lower-income communities and ensure we can transition smoothly for a cleaner future.”

“As the climate crisis continues to devastate communities throughout the country, we must take innovative steps to tackle the greatest sources of pollution and emission in order to reverse the course of climate change. This legislation lays the groundwork for a just and equitable transition to electric vehicles by expanding access to charging stations and ensuring that communities hit hardest by the climate crisis get the necessary resources to transition to different sources of energy. I applaud Rep. Crow for his leadership on this issue and look forward to working with my House colleagues to get this bill passed,” said Rep. Torres.

“Clean vehicles must be accessible to all, which means making charging stations available in every community, especially communities that have been disproportionately affected by environmental hazards such as air pollution. I am honored to join my colleagues in this effort to make sure the transition to electric vehicles does not leave these communities behind by making intentional, needed investments that level the playing field,” said Rep. Gwen Moore. 

This is the House companion of legislation introduced by Senator Ed Markey (D-MA). 

“It has never been more important to accelerate the shift to clean vehicles, a transition that will not be possible unless it is accessible to all,” said Senator Markey. “Without targeted investment into zero-emission refueling infrastructure for environmental justice communities, air pollution will continue to increase for these areas already facing the worst impacts of our climate crisis. As we work to pass bold infrastructure packages, it is critical that we center environmental justice and strong climate action at the heart of every dollar spent in order to meet our emission-reduction goals and ensure health and safety for these historically overburdened communities. Every community should be able to plug in to the clean energy revolution.”

The Community Vehicle Charging Act would:

  • Establish a grant program at the Department of Transportation for community-scale programs to install electric vehicle infrastructure.
  • Provide resources and increased technical support for projects in environmental justice communities.
  • Require identification and data collection related to barriers that residents of environmental justice communities face to access electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
  • Require community input and outreach in project design.
  • Promote educational activities surrounding zero-emission vehicles and alternative refueling infrastructure.

The Biden Administration strongly supports electric vehicle infrastructure and the American Jobs Plan would invest $15 billion to create a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations.

In June, the House passed the INVEST in America Act, which included Crow’s amendment to help ensure equity in EV infrastructure by targeting communities of color and low-to-moderate income communities.