Sen. Mensch Introduces Bill To Develop Infrastructure For Electric, Natural Gas, Hydrogen Vehicles

On April 30, Sen. Bob Mensch (R-Montgomery) introduced Senate Bill 596 designed to promote the development of clean transportation infrastructure to support electric, natural gas and hydrogen vehicles.

“Shifting Pennsylvania’s transportation systems to cleaner, more efficient resources offers a unique opportunity to advance our energy, environmental and economic development goals,” said Sen. Mensch.  “Every year, we see new electric and naturally-powered vehicles introduced in the market, and these cars, trucks and buses are rapidly becoming more affordable and well-suited to our lifestyles.

“We’re also seeing increasing opportunities to use electricity for off-road uses in our ports, airports and heavy equipment to drive our economy forward,” explained Sen. Mensch.  “As increasing numbers of Pennsylvania consumers and businesses consider choosing alternative energy vehicles, and our businesses look for opportunities to invest in cleaner, more efficient equipment, we must ensure that well-planned charging and refueling infrastructures are deployed in the state.”

The legislation would--

-- Establish a state goal of increasing electrification by at least 50 percent over currently forecasted levels by 2030;

-- Require the development of regional electrification infrastructure frameworks for metropolitan areas;

-- Direct electric utilities to develop infrastructure implementation plans to support the development of these networks under Public Utility Commission oversight; and

-- Direct the Governor to submit recommendations to the General Assembly and PUC on strategies to promote other clean transportation options, including CNG and hydrogen.

“Alternative fuel vehicles provide a great opportunity to help our economy and our environment at the same time. Through good planning and regional collaboration, we can move Pennsylvania to leading edge of adopting these technologies,” said Sen. Mensch.

Additional Steps

Transportation generates 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in Pennsylvania, according to DEP’s draft 2018 Greenhouse Gas Inventory. Gov. Wolf’s January 16 Executive Order on climate change requires that 25 percent of state government passenger cars be replaced with electric vehicles by 2025.

The updated Climate Change Action Plan released by Gov. Wolf on April 30 includes a series of recommendations related to clean vehicles and developing the infrastructure it needs.

On February 13, the Department of Environmental Protection released a plan to increase the use of electric vehicles in Pennsylvania that would result in almost $2.8 billion in benefits from lower greenhouse gas emissions, help reduce respiratory disease, increase consumer savings, and create jobs.

On December 18, Pennsylvania and a coalition of 8 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia announced the formation of a regional Transportation and Climate Initiative and their intent to design a new regional low-carbon transportation policy proposal that would cap and reduce carbon emissions from the combustion of transportation fuels, and invest proceeds from the program into low-carbon and more resilient transportation infrastructure.

On November 5, DEP announced the Driving PA Forward Initiative to use $118 million from the EPA settlement with Volkswagen related to emissions cheating to offer grants and rebates to replace dirty vehicles with clean  alternatives and build related infrastructure.


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[Posted: May 2, 2019]


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