Last week, Rhode Island legislators Sen. Alana DiMario and Rep. Terri Cortvriend introduced bills setting a target of 100% of new cars registered being electric vehicles by 2030. The legislation (H. 7653 and S. 2448) creates a process to plan for the infrastructure and other changes involving cars, trucks, and public transportation in order to meet the 2030 target, which is critical for the state to meet its 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reductions under the Act on Climate. Following Rhode Island’s withdrawal from the Transportation and Climate Initiative, the bill represents a new approach to tackling pollution from transportation, the region’s largest source of emissions.
The bill, known as the Electric Transportation Act, is similar to a bill passed by the Washington State legislature in 2021, and reflects a conviction that Rhode Island will need to act decisively to limit emissions from cars, trucks, and buses. The bill was drafted by Sen. DiMario and Rep. Cortvriend with assistance from our organization and our allies at Coltura.
The Electric Transportation Act will:
Several elements of the Electric Transportation Act have been filed in various bills in the Massachusetts legislature. In the Bay State, Green Energy Consumers is in discussions with key legislators and allied organizations about pulling the pieces together to develop a comprehensive approach to reducing transportation emissions. We are optimistic that another climate bill will be passed in 2022 and that it will include provisions to electrify cars, trucks, and buses and also provide support for cleaner public transportation
In both states, electrifying transportation is a high priority for Green Energy Consumers. When the governors of Massachusetts and Rhode Island withdrew from the regional Transportation Climate Initiative, a huge problem was created because there has been no announcement about a “Plan B” that would reach the targets laid out in climate laws prevailing in both states – An Act on Climate in Rhode Island and a Roadmap to a Next-Generation Climate Policy in Massachusetts.
In the last year, we’ve written about how polling shows that the public supports a phaseout of gas-powered cars starting in 2030. We also hosted a webinar on how countries around the world and other states are preparing to transition to 100% all-electric vehicle sales for new cars. Now is as good a time as ever for Rhode Island and Massachusetts to prepare for the future of electric vehicles.
We also understand that cleaner cars can’t aren’t the only solution; the total number of miles travelled by vehicles (VMT) is projected to grow from 7.7 billion in 2019 to 8.9 billion in 2032. That number needs to start trending downward to reduce emissions, improve our health, and reduce car dependence overall, especially for low-income people who struggle with the costs of car ownership. That’s why the Electric Transportation Act commits Rhode Island to a 4% reduction of vehicle-miles-traveled by 2030 to support the full implementation and funding of the transit master plan and bicycle mobility plan, as well as encourages incentives for e-bikes to replace gas-powered cars.
Sign up for one of our upcoming webinars for more information about the Electric Transportation Act and how you can be involved in supporting transportation electrification legislation in both states.