Biden infrastructure plan to make U.S. the EV car leader – Los Angeles Times


President Biden wants more than $170 billion to turn the nation from a laggard in the electric vehicle market into a leader. He’s challenging Congress to OK billions more in spending to convince Americans to part with their gas-powered cars and take public transit, and even to electrify a chunk of nation’s yellow school bus fleets. And he’s demanding the country get serious about getting some of the dirtiest diesel trucks off the road, a moved aimed in part to improve air quality in neighborhoods choked by smog.

Biden’s $2.25-trillion proposal to overhaul the nation’s infrastructure is about much more than bridges and highways. It’s a blueprint for executing his ambitious goals of decarbonizing the country’s economy by 2050 and restoring America’s role as a leader on fighting climate change.

It includes huge promises, some of which will be difficult to enact because they require the federal government to spend billions of dollars in coordination with states and the private sector.

Among them are pledges to spend $165 million to boost the country’s aging public transit systems, address Amtrak’s repair backlog, and replace thousands of miles of track. It would provide funding to electrify 20% of school buses and build 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations across the United States by 2030.

The Biden plan would also speed the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, extending tax credits by 10 years for wind, solar and energy storage facilities. It calls for investing $35 billion in research on new ways to reduce emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases and increase the resiliency of the grid.

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Even the country’s beat-up mail trucks would get an upgrade: The plan calls for the government to “utilize the vast tools of federal procurement to electrify the federal fleet, including the United States Postal Service.”

All of this hinges on congressional approval, which is likely to be difficult, even though Democrats have a slim majority. And there’s no guarantee of strong support even from within the party.

As details of the proposal became public Tuesday morning, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) tweeted: “This is not nearly enough. The important context here is that it’s $2.25T spread out over 10 years.”

Other progressive lawmakers are likely to join her call for more spending and emphasize their own demands, such as setting a date to phase out gasoline-powered vehicles. The current proposal does not include anything along the lines of California’s requirement that all new cars sold be zero-emission vehicles by 2035.

Meanwhile, some centrists within the party are unhappy at the prospect of being asked to approve another expensive spending package so soon after Biden’s sweeping $1.9-trillion stimulus bill. At least four House Democrats are insisting that the proposal should reverse limits that President Trump placed on the deduction of state and local taxes from federal income taxes.

Biden’s proposal comes the same day that the Environmental Protection Agency made public its plans to restore “scientific integrity” at the agency by removing the members of two important scientific advisory panels, many of them industry figures appointed by the Trump administration. Current members can apply for reinstatement.

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