February 25, 2021

Cortez Masto Outlines Aggressive Legislative Strategy to Promote Cleaner Transportation, Fight Climate Change

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) today introduced a comprehensive package of bills designed to promote the use of cleaner transportation and improve the health and safety of Nevada communities. The bills, which are part of the Senator’s Innovation State Initiative, would require a national commission and strategy to promote electric vehicle adoption, ensure all communities have access to clean transportation technology, encourage construction of clean fueling infrastructure on federal lands, and provide economic incentives for the cleaner vehicles and fueling infrastructure that will further foster Nevada’s leadership in reducing harmful pollution from our transportation sector.

“I’m proud to introduce this package of green bills to help Nevada and the nation reduce pollution, slow the climate crisis, and foster good-paying green jobs. By promoting electric vehicles and the infrastructure that comprehensively supports them, we can have a huge impact on the health of our communities and our planet. I’ll continue to work in the Senate to support Nevada’s clean-energy economy, protect our children’s health, and safeguard the planet’s future.”

BACKGROUND:

Transportation accounts for nearly 30 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions and is the largest single contributor to the climate change crisis in the United States. Motor vehicles account for over 80 percent of these emissions, eclipsing those of aircraft, rail, shipping, and other forms of transportation. Nevada’s Strategic Planning Framework requires the state to build an “electric highway” system, with publicly available charging stations.

Senator Cortez Masto has been a leader in cleaner transportation alternatives. In 2018, she secured passage of her Generating Revenue for Electric and Emission-Negligible (GREEN) Vehicles at Airports Act to expand zero-emissions technology at our nation’s airports. Her Renew America's Schools Act, which will be re-introduced soon, would also address dangerous pollution at schools by investing in energy improvements, electric buses, and charging infrastructure.

This package of legislation to combat climate change and create more green jobs in Nevada and across the country includes the following bills:

  • The Clean School Bus Act: This legislation establishes a Clean School Bus Grant Program at the Department of Energy (DOE) to replace diesel school buses with electric school buses, invest in charging infrastructure, and support transportation workforce development. The grants will prioritize support for lower-income students, replace the most polluting buses, and leverage partnerships with local utilities to decrease pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. This bill is co-led by Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.-05).
  • The Green Spaces, Green Vehicles Act: This legislation creates a ‘‘Green Spaces, Green Vehicles Initiative’’ run jointly by the National Park Service, the Forest Service, and DOE to build charging infrastructure on public lands managed by the federal government—allowing millions of visitors to the nation’s scenic areas to access charging and refueling infrastructure. The Act would also work to convert Park Service and Forest Service fleets to zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) technology, with priority for service shuttles. This bill is cosponsored by Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and it was previously introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Mike Levin (D-Calif.-49).
  • The Electric Transportation Commission and National Strategy Act: This legislation establishes a joint working group between the Departments of Energy and Transportation to strategize and report on the barriers and opportunities to national coordination on electric transportation. The working group would be required to compile a resource guide for localities, consumers, and businesses. This bill is cosponsored by Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).
  • The Electric Vehicles for Underserved Communities Act: This legislation requires DOE to study access to EV charging stations, particularly in low-income communities and communities of color, and implement the findings through a new grant program. The Department would also have to ensure that its programs benefit communities of color by providing access to electric vehicle infrastructure, addressing clean transportation needs, and improving air quality in such communities. The bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.-09).
  • The Greener Transportation for Communities Act: This legislation allows tax exemptions that permit state and local governments to more easily fund electric charging and hydrogen refueling infrastructure projects, particularly when those projects are part of airports, affordable housing, docks, green buildings, and other major infrastructure. The bill is cosponsored by Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) and was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Brad Schneider (D-Ill.-10).
  • The Green Bus Tax Credit Act: This legislation provides a tax incentive for more domestic manufacturing of electric and hydrogen fuel-cell buses, making these innovations more affordable and creating jobs in the field of green technology. This bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.-20).
  • The More Access to ZEV Equipment (MAZE) in Transit Act: This legislation allows Federal Transit Administration programs to fund zero-emission vehicles charging infrastructure at transit stations and parking lots. 

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