Watertown State Rep. Backs Legislation Promoting Electrification of Vehicle Fleets

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State Rep. Steve Owens.

The following piece was provided by State Rep. Steve Owens’ office:

At a hearing held today by the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) joined colleagues and advocates to support her legislation promoting the electrification of fleets and vehicles.

Efforts to advance a transition to electric vehicles in statute are part of a broader trend that recognizes the pressing need to decarbonize the transportation sector, both within and beyond the United States. Massachusetts and California have already indicated commitments to have all new cars sold in each state be electric by 2035. The United Kingdom and Norway have made similar commitments, making plans for car sales to be zero-emission by 2035 and 2025, respectively. Automakers have also recognized the significance and urgency inherent in the transition, with Volvo planning to go fully electric by 2030, Honda setting a goal of all electric vehicles by 2040, and General Motors aspiring to zero emissions in its light-duty vehicles by 2035.

Bills filed by Representative Meschino in Massachusetts further pursue the electric transition. Jointly filed with Representative Christine Barber (D-Somerville) and Senator Joseph Boncore (D-Winthrop), An Act to promote electric vehicle fleets by 2035/An Act to promote zero-emission vehicle fleets by 2035 (H.3255/S.2139) require that all publicly owned and leased vehicle fleets be electric by 2035. Critically, the legislation also prioritizes fleet deployment at locations serving environmental justice populations. The bill establishes goals and incentivizes the transition of fleets, including those used for ridesharing and ride-hailing, to electric vehicles.

Representative Meschino also filed An Act promoting zero-emission vehicles (H.3347/S.2151), co-presented with Senator Brendan Crighton (D-Lynn) and co-sponsored by Representative Steven Owens (D-Watertown), which facilitates the transition of the private passenger fleet. The legislation extends the MOR-EV program and enacts provisions that will better support low- and-moderate income residents. The bill also calls for additional and accessible charging stations, supports local programs in their efforts to install charging stations in residences, and establishes criteria for parking facilities to be wired to support charging.

“These bills offer robust pathways to reduce emissions in the transportation sector and promote green jobs,” said Representative Meschino. “To meet our state commitments to achieve a net- zero future by 2050 and a 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, the electric vehicle transition must function in service of our climate goals while continuing to advance equity and
environmental justice.”

“By electrifying vehicle fleets, H.3255 creates permanent change to positively improve the health of our communities for decades to come,” said Representative Barber. “Over 40% of greenhouse gas emissions in Massachusetts are from transit. Residents of color are exposed to 26-36 percent more pollution from vehicle emissions compared to the exposure of white residents. H.3255 prioritizes the deployment of electric vehicles in environmental justice neighborhoods. Electrifying fleets addresses air pollution and provides a solution to improve health, rooted in equity, for cleaner energy and transportation that will benefit all residents of the Commonwealth.”

“Not only is a transition to electric vehicles necessary to meet our climate goals, but it is also an
important component of public health.” said Representative Steve Owens. “The past 16 months have taught us that bad air that led to increased rates of asthma in vulnerable communities resulted in worse COVID outcomes. Reducing the emissions caused by our transportation sector is good for the climate, our lungs and – with gas prices rising – our pocketbooks.”

Though they were not heard today, two more bills before the Joint Committee on Transportation also reflect these legislators’ commitment to furthering the electrification of the transportation sector. Representative Meschino’s An Act relative to an electric transportation future (H.3541) mandates that all light duty vehicles registered in Massachusetts starting in 2035 be electric. Representative Owens, Representative Barber, and Senator Crighton also filed An Act relative to public transit electrification (H.3559/S.2292), which sets interim targets and requires the MBTA to operate a fully electric bus fleet by 2030 and a fully electric commuter rail system by 2035. The bill also requires regional transit authorities to operate fully electric bus fleets by 2035 and mandates air monitoring stations around bus maintenance facilities to protect the health of nearby residents and workers. These bills have yet to be assigned a hearing.

H.3255/S.2139 and H.3347/S.2151 are pending before the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy, and now await action by the committee.

3 thoughts on “Watertown State Rep. Backs Legislation Promoting Electrification of Vehicle Fleets

  1. MA is such a small state, the results of these electric conversions will be like a grain of sand on a beach. Are we going to block the pollution coming from other states as winds change? Look at how much smoke we recently got from the western fires. We will be imposing strict and expensive demands on our communities and businesses and thus hurting low income people here even more. We don’t have the technology and support for all of these demands yet and we are rushing to put them in place. With countries like China, Russia and others not reducing their pollution, they will continue to become economic powerhouses over the US and reduce our economic progress and growth, making us weaker and poorer. All of the pie-in-the-sky legislators and planners don’t seem to ever look at how all these green ideas will negatively affect us. What happens when we have a major electric failure incident? They just want to have their names out there as such innovators. Why do MA and CA always have to be first in pushing all these mandates on us!! We end up paying more for everything. That’s why people who can are moving out of this state.

    • Dear Concerned, the next time you are in the company of young children, take a good look at them. Think about their future. We owe it to them to do something to slow down and possibly reverse the degradation of our environment that currently threatens the human race.

      If you need any convincing as to the crisis situation, consider the smoke that fouled our air last week. Consider the extreme weather in many parts of the nation including New England. Consider the impact of rising sea levels.

      When you consider the stakes, hopefully you will conclude that any price to be paid is piddling.

  2. “Why do MA and CA always have to be first in pushing all these mandates on us”. -that’s what leadership means and we ought to be doing more of it. There’s only so much of the planet’s resources that we can consume before its over and thinking people need to plan ahead. Nobody is saying that we shouldn’t also be working internationally to broker commitments and agreements from other states and nations -and aggressively so- but how do you even walk into one of those meetings if you can’t say with a straight face that you’re doing it in your own back yard.
    Finally, conversion to new and more efficient tech and government incentives end up saving us in the long run and rest easy knowing that China and other nations are doing their fair share of that just like we are. New industries don’t often spring up out of the blue and prosper. Companies successful in the economies and supply-chains of automobiles and petroleum thrive in our present-day economy as a result of several generations of government subsidies and especially when they were just getting started. Don’t waste your tears worrying about the retirement savings of their poor executives.

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