Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg speaks during a news conference held in front of new EVGo electric vehicle charging stations in the parking garage of Union Station in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. Photo by Sarah Silbiger/UPI | License Photo
April 22 (UPI) -- The Biden administration on Thursday announced progress on its goals to deploy electric vehicle charging stations and "alternative fuel corridors" in observance of Earth Day.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and national climate adviser Gina McCarthy delivered remarks on the administration's commitment to facilitate the use of electric vehicles in order to reduce fuel emissions during an appearance at a fast-charging facility near Union Station in Washington, D.C.
"The transportation sector is the U.S. economy's largest contributor to greenhouse gases and that relationship to the problem of climate change means that we in transportation can also be the biggest part of the solution. And that solution clearly includes zero-emission vehicles and charging stations," Buttigieg said.
The Department of Transportation released a report Thursday clarifying how existing programs within the agency can provide $41.9 billion in federal grant funding to expand the United States' electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
President Joe Biden's American Jobs Plan includes $15 billion to build a network of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations throughout the nation, adding that the installation process will help to create jobs.
The Transportation Department also announced a fifth round of highway segments designated as alternative fuel corridors, which include infrastructure allowing travel on alternative fuels including electricity.
The cumulative designations of all five rounds include 134 interstates and 125 U.S. highways and state roads spanning more than 166,000 miles throughout 49 states and Washington, D.C.
"These routes, which connect communities large and small, signal the clear demand for cleaner, more affordable transportation across the country," Buttigieg said.
Additionally, the Council on Environmental Quality and the General Services Administration said the Biden administration has acquired more zero-emission vehicles since Inauguration Day than were acquired in the previous fiscal year, placing it on track to triple the total of zero-emissions vehicles in the federal fleet.
When asked about Republican proposals to introduce a fine for electric vehicle drivers who do not pay fuel taxes, Buttigieg noted the American Jobs Plan dictates that the administration will not implement plans that increase the tax burden on Americans making less than $400,000 a year.
"That's the starting point and that would be a consideration for any kind of revenue model that we'll see," he said.
McCarthy said the administration has not set any deadline for the end of sales of gasoline-powered vehicles.
"I know that a lot of the manufacturers are talking about delivering 100% EVs by 2035," she said. "We're not making any promises and we're not making any demands right now because this is about basically using the market to generate the kind of reductions we need."