Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley teamed up with U.S. Senators Alex Padilla (D-CA) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and U.S. Representatives Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA-44), Doris Matsui (D-CA-6), Ann Kuster (D-NH-2), and Yvette Clark (D-NY-9) today to introduce the Medium- and Heavy-Duty Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Act—legislation to slash the transportation sector’s greenhouse gas emissions by increasing access to charging infrastructure for medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles.
Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, with medium- and heavy-duty trucks, with tractor-trailers, large pickups and vans, delivery trucks, buses, and garbage trucks producing 23 percent of the sector’s pollution.
“Climate chaos is not a distant possibility. Oregonians suffering from smoke; farmers enduring drought; residents preparing to flee this harm as wildfires advance all know that this crisis is already here—and it’s serious,” said Merkley. “We can’t sit on our hands. We need to tackle this problem head on, and we can’t do that without cutting transportation pollution. This bill will help us on that mission, so we can protect our communities, families, and economies from the worst of climate chaos’ consequences.”
“From record-breaking heat waves and wildfires to extreme storms and hurricanes, our nation is facing a climate crisis and we must do everything in our power to combat it,” said Padilla. “This critical legislation takes us one step closer to tackling this crisis by reducing emissions and improving air quality for Californians and people across the country. It’s past time we prioritize eliminating transportation pollution and this legislation is a critical step forward to reduce the significant emissions from medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.”
“Medium and heavy-duty vehicles are one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants in the United States, and this bill is an important step to fight our addiction to fossil fuels and ensure the right of overburdened communities to breathe clean air. We need to clean up our freight sector now, or continue to see adverse health impacts and an ever-worsening climate crisis,” said Markey.
“In Los Angeles, truck traffic in our freight corridors is a major cause of unhealthy air, especially in communities of color,” said Barragán. “By establishing rebates for charging equipment that focus on one of the hardest to electrify parts of our transportation system, we will jumpstart the adoption of zero-emissions trucks and bring cleaner air to our region.”
“As we tackle the challenges of the climate crisis, we must use every tool at our disposal to curb transportation emissions, which continue to be the largest source of U.S. carbon pollution,” said Matsui. “Medium and heavy-duty vehicles (MHDVs) play an outsized role in polluting our communities. While they make up only 5% of the vehicles on the road, MHDVs emit 23% of toxic transportation emissions that put lives at risk, disproportionately impacting people of color and lower income families. Therefore, it is absolutely crucial that we make bold investments to accelerate MHDV electrification. I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing the Medium and Heavy Duty Vehicle Electrification Act of 2021 to take this critical step to incentivize the transition to cleaner trucking, fight environmental injustice, and combat the climate crisis.”
“Transportation is the number one source of carbon emissions in the United States, but we have made great strides in developing technology to tackle the climate crisis by switching over to electric vehicles,” said Kuster, a member of the Energy and Commerce Energy Subcommittee. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing the Medium and Heavy Duty Vehicle Electrification Act of 2021 to incentivize the transportation sector to go green by reducing the financial burden of transitioning to electric vehicles. This legislation will help to expand our nation’s clean energy infrastructure to reduce carbon pollution, build a clean energy economy for the 21st Century, and protect our planet for generations to come.”
“I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this critical legislation that will pave the way forward for the electrification of our transportation sector,” said Clarke. “Not only are fossil-fuel burning trucks and busses a major contributor to the climate crisis, they are also significant sources of harmful air pollution that disproportionately impacts communities of color. The unprecedented funding that our legislation provides will address this injustice by supporting investments in electric vehicle charging infrastructure to enable a fully electrified transportation sector free from air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that our legislation is incorporated into the major infrastructure packages moving through Congress.”
The Medium- and Heavy-Duty Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Act would establish a rebate program administered by the Environmental Protection Agency to promote the purchase and installation of electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) for medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles.
Individuals, tax districts, ports, airports, rural electric co-ops, private companies, or state, local, tribal or territorial governments that operate centrally fueled vehicle fleets would be eligible for the rebates. The bill also establishes two bonuses that would increase the size of the rebate: a Community Benefit Bonus, for trucks based in a county that is designated as a nonattainment area under the Clean Air Act, and a Rural Bonus for trucks in rural areas. The rebates would cover 80 percent of the capital purchase and installation costs for public sector and non-profit recipients, and 50 percent of the capital purchase for for-profit recipients.
“The time is now to electrify our larger vehicles — our transit buses, delivery vans, commercial trucks, and everything in between — for climate action, public health, and environmental justice. The Sierra Club is proud to support the Medium- and Heavy-Duty Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Act of 2021, a piece of legislation that will help build out the infrastructure needed to deliver cleaner air for communities across the country, especially the frontline communities of color most exposed to this daily toxic pollution,” said Will Anderson, Associate Director of Legislative/Administrative Advocacy for Sierra Club’s Clean Transportation for All campaign.
“The electrification of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles is a critical step toward reducing emissions. These vehicles are among the most polluting vehicles on the road, so they exact a heavy toll on our economy, environment, and public health—particularly in frontline communities. By creating rebates for the purchase and installation of electric vehicle supply equipment to power these vehicles, the Medium and Heavy Duty Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Act will accelerate electrification and emissions reduction in this important segment of the transportation sector. ZETA is proud to endorse this landmark, bicameral legislation,” said Joe Britton, Executive Director of the Zero Emission Transportation Association (ZETA).
“It is critical that Congress invest in clean energy infrastructure at the scale that science and justice demands,” said LCV Government Affairs Advocate Darien Davis, “Air pollution from medium and heavy-duty vehicles disproportionately impacts low-wealth families and communities of color. In part due to the racist redlining policies of the past, these communities already face a legacy of toxic pollution and are hit first and worst by climate change. We are excited to see Rep. Barragan and Sen. Merkley champion a bill that would help to rapidly decarbonize the transportation sector while reducing air pollution in environmental justice communities.”
“CALSTART applauds Senator Merkley and Congresswoman Barragán for advancing an incentive that will help decarbonize goods movement,” said Kyle Winslow, Federal Policy Director at the clean transportation nonprofit CALSTART. “We need a number of tools to defray the cost of infrastructure investment needed to support zero-emission truck fleets. This legislation would help public and private fleet operators tackle infrastructure requirements for zero-emission trucks, spur the use of clean trucks operating in or domiciled near frontline communities, and unlock private sector investment in depot and on-route charging for commercial electric vehicles.”
“Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles make up 5% of all vehicles on the road, yet account for a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions. We must electrify our fleet if we want to protect our underserved communities and combat climate change,” said Athena Motavvef, Associate Legislative Representative at Earthjustice. “The Medium- and Heavy-Duty Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Act of 2021 promotes the purchase of charging equipment for medium and heavy-duty vehicles, providing the foundation we need to deploy a zero-emissions vehicle fleet. We thank Sen. Merkley and Rep. Barragán for their leadership on this issue.”
“Scaling the adoption of zero-emission medium- and heavy- duty trucks is essential for reducing dangerous air pollution, which often disproportionately burdens low -income communities and communities of color. This transition is essential to meeting our nation’s climate goals” said Elizabeth Gore, EDF Senior Vice President, Political Affairs. “Building out charging infrastructure is a vital part of electrifying our transportation sector, so we are grateful for the leadership of Sens. Merkley, Padilla, and Markey and Reps. Barragan, Matsui, Kuster, and Clarke on this important issue.”
The legislation is also endorsed by the Union of Concerned Scientists, and is cosponsored by U.S. Representatives Emmanuel Cleaver (D-MO-5), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA-47), Chellie Pingree (D-ME-1), Jared Huffman (D-CA-2), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE-AL), and Ritchie Torres (D-NY-15).