Infrastructure Bill Could Revolutionize Georgia Electric Vehicle Market Despite Republicans’ ‘No’ Votes

Of the 13 House Republicans in the United States who crossed the aisle last weekend to help push through the trillion-dollar infrastructure bill, none are from Georgia.

“The question then is, why has every Republican in Georgia opposed this popular and historic legislation?” asked Representative Nikema Williams, who also chairs the Georgia Democratic Party.

The infrastructure bill passed by Congress invests, among other things, $ 135 million to build a network of electric vehicle charging stations in Georgia.

“What this bill does is ensure that vehicle electrification is not just for the few, [but] that we can present this to the masses to make sure we are reducing our carbon footprint, ”said Williams.

The move towards more electric vehicles in the state has the support of some Republican lawmakers in Georgia, but not all. Among those who voted no on the infrastructure bill was Republican Representative Andrew Clyde. He says spending millions on charging stations is “a waste” even though his district includes Commerce, Georgia, where thousands of workers will soon be building batteries for electric vehicles.

Georgia Civil Service Commissioner Tim Echols, another Republican, said Clyde’s take on electric vehicles was not unusual.

“It’s been slow for Republicans to come in,” Echols said.

But Echols, a strong advocate for electric vehicles, says jobs and the introduction of electric vans could help influence rural Georgians.

“I think this battery factory and these trucks are going to be an important ‘political justification’ if you will, which my Republican colleagues need to fully embrace them,” Echols said.

Echols congratulates Governor Brian Kemp for forming the Alliance for Electric Mobility and Innovation over the summer. He also encourages the GOP-controlled legislature to reinstate the electric vehicle tax credit that expired in 2015.

Atlanta signs a pledge

The city of Atlanta has signed an international pledge to phase out gasoline car sales over the next several decades. The statement stems from the international climate change talks currently taking place in Glasgow.

Cities and states that have signed the pledge say they will work to convert their fleets to zero-emission vehicles by 2035 and put other policies in place to help encourage the growth of emission-free transport. Atlanta is one of a handful of US cities that have signed on.

The United States itself has not joined the dozens of countries that have signed the pledge. Those who did have pledged to work to ensure that all new cars and pickup trucks sold within their borders are zero-emission by 2040. Auto makers that have joined include Ford, GM and Mercedes-Benz .

Molly Samuel of WABE contributed to this report.

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