An amendment, modeled after the EV-COMUTE Act, that would allow the General Services Administration (GSA) to construct, install, and operate electric vehicle (EV) charging stations for private vehicle use at federal facilities at no cost to taxpayers was adopted by the US House of Representatives on November 3, 2015.
Federal agencies currently have no authority to install and operate EV charging stations, so federal employees and contractors are unable to charge their vehicles while at work.
The amendment to the Surface Transportation Reauthorization & Reform Act of 2015 was sponsored by Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY), Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA). Congressman Massie modeled the amendment after the EV-COMUTE Act (H.R. 3509) of 2014 written by Congresswoman Lofgren. The amendment added language to the original bill that will give jurisdiction to the GSA for the installation and operation of the charging stations at Federal facilities.
“In 2012, Congress passed legislation to allow electric vehicle recharging at the U.S. Capitol for congressmen and their staff for a fee, but neglected to extend this authority to other federal agencies and employees. Our amendment would correct this disparity,” said Rep. Massie, who serves on both the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Science, Space, and Technology Committee.
Will give Federal employees more options in their commute.
“I first learned of this issue after a constituent wrote me a letter last year,” said Rep. Lofgren, who introduced the EV-COMUTE Act that served as template for this amendment. “In it, he said he was ‘surprised and dismayed’ that it is illegal for federal facilities to provide electric vehicle charging stations for the public or their employees, even at no cost to taxpayers. My family has an electric car and I know they are an important part of improving efficiency and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. As this amendment was adopted on the House floor today, it served as a powerful reminder of the role citizens play in generating new ideas and legislation.”
“In my personal and public life, I consistently support an all-of-the-above energy strategy for the United States,” concluded Rep. Massie, an MIT graduate who drives a Tesla electric car daily in Washington, D.C. “I’m proud to sponsor this amendment because it will expand transportation options for many Americans at no cost to taxpayers.”
The House is expected to vote later this week on the Surface Transportation bill, H. R. 3763.
Eshoo, who also introduced the original EV-COMUTE legislation said, “As the nation’s largest employer, the federal government should lead by example in offering workplace charging. Silicon Valley is home to thousands of electric vehicle owners, yet the more than 5,000 federal employees in my congressional district have no access to charging facilities at work because of a quirk in existing law.”
UPDATE: The Surface Transportation Reauthorization & Reform Act passed the House and is now headed to conference with the Senate. Congress faces a November 20th deadline to prevent a gap in highway funding.
About the author: Lanny Hartmann runs PlugInSites.org, a website that delivers news about electric car charging stations in DC, Maryland, Virginia & beyond. We encourage readers in the area to check it out!