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Zero Emission Transportation Association Endorses Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure for Farmers Act

13 Jan 2022

The Zero Emission Transportation Association (ZETA) proudly endorsed the bipartisan Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure For Farmers Act that was introduced earlier today by Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) and Representative Tom Rice (R-SC-07). This bill expands the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) to include electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure. REAP is administered by the United States Department of Agriculture and provides grants and loan guarantees to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to help purchase renewable energy systems, among the program’s other provisions. This bipartisan legislation will accelerate the deployment of EV charging infrastructure in the United States’ rural communities, ensuring that they are not left behind as the transportation sector electrifies.

"Representatives Spanberger and Rice understand the needs of rural communities and are committed to ensuring that these communities are not left behind as we begin to deploy electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the country, " said Joe Britton, the Executive Director of the Zero Emission Transportation Association. "Investing in America's charging network will deliver economic benefits for consumers and businesses alike, and those benefits should not be limited to urban areas. Whether on the farm or in town, we must seek to drive economic development through electrification."

This bill will facilitate the electrification of agricultural vehicles and pave the way for rural small businesses to install EV chargers in their parking lots, making it easier for their customers and employees alike to transition away from gas-powered vehicles. This bill will support good-paying jobs in EV charger manufacturing and installation—which create more jobs per dollar of investment than highway maintenance or traditional auto manufacturing—and it will help enable all Americans to enjoy the economic, public health, and environmental benefits of transportation electrification.  

“As we watch the rapid development and production of new electric vehicles, we need to prevent rural America from getting left behind in the conversation. Electric vehicles of the future are not just for cities — they also stand to deliver major benefits to farms, agribusinesses, and rural communities in Virginia and across the country,” said Rep. Spanberger. “The Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure for Farmers Act takes a successful and popular program — the REAP program — and makes sure its funding can be used to support expanded EV charging networks in all of our communities, large and small. This commonsense change would give our farmers and agribusinesses a competitive economic edge, greatly benefit our environment, and establish new markets for homegrown manufacturers of electric pickups, tractors, combines, and more.”

“While farmers explore ways to be more energy efficient, this legislation will expand the types of systems and equipment eligible for grant funding under USDA’s Rural Energy for America program,” said Rep. Rice. “If passed, agriculture producers will have greater flexibility to use their grant funds to help electrify both light-duty vehicles and heavy-duty equipment such as pickup trucks, combines, and tractors.”

“The United States’ transition to an electrified transportation system will create millions of jobs and generate billions of dollars in consumer cost savings and local economic investments in the years to come,” continued Britton. “ It is vital that America’s rural communities gain the benefits of this transition. This bill puts these communities on a path to do just that.”

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