All those electric vehicles pose a problem for building roads | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

All those electric vehicles pose a problem for building roads

Last week, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee—the guy who, while running for president two years ago, proposed a nationwide ban on sales of gas-powered cars by 2030—vetoed a statewide ban on gas-powered car sales by 2030.

The reason for the puzzling move, Inslee said in a statement, was a provision tucked into the legislation. The language said the 2030 target would take effect only if lawmakers created a program to charge drivers based on how far they drive each year.

The bill had been hailed as path breaking for electric vehicles and US climate policy, more aggressive than deadlines from states like California, Massachusetts, and New York, which have set their sights on 2035. Washington plans to follow California's rules and phase out the sale of gas-powered cars by 2035.

But there’s a hitch in those plans: the nation uses gas taxes to fund the construction and upkeep of everything from roads and bridges to buses and ferries. As more electric vehicles—including the Ford F-150 Lightning, which goes on sale next year—hit the road, gas sales will decline, along with the revenue from taxing them.

Matthew Metz, founder and co-executive director of the Seattle-based environmental group Coltura, says he was surprised and disappointed that Inslee missed a chance to set the earliest zero-emission sales deadline in the country. He says signing the legislation, even with the attached per-mile tax program, would have staved off future angst about paying for the state’s infrastructure. Lawmakers “can keep kicking this issue down the road, but eventually it’s going to have to stop,” Metz says.

Comments

SHARE THIS ARTICLE WITH YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA