Local leaders want federal investment in electric infrastructure

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Environmental advocates including Morgantown Mayor Jenny Selin, Delegate Evan Hansen and Kelly Bragg, West Virginia Clean Cities Coordinator held a press conference calling federal investment in clean transportation infrastructure and highlighting the benefits of electric buses.

” Call upon our senators, Manchin and Capito, as they negotiate at the federal level to be sure we include a robust amount of spending for electric vehicle infrastructure in West Virginia,” Hansen said.

Hansen also wants to work in concert with all levels of government to maximize the benefits for the residents of West Virginia.

As of 2019, there were more than 10,000 West Virginians working in clean energy.

” One of the things I’m pushing is the need for the federal government to work in step with the state government and local government,” Hansen said,” As long as our policies are aligned we can create even more jobs in West Virginia.”

As technology turns away from fossil fuels and evolves to all electric there will benefits for states that embrace the industry early.

“The majority of the vehicles sold in the future are going to be electric vehicles,” Hansen said,” So, all the jobs that are created to build out that infrastructure and to build the vehicles- we want to capture as many of those jobs in West Virginia as we can.”

Transportation accounts for nearly 30 percent of all US emissions and the single largest source of climate-harming greenhouse gas pollution in the US. Investments in clean transportation are essential to meeting our nation’s climate and environmental goals, improving public health and stimulate the economy.

“We have a long way to go in the country in order to reduce emissions to a level that we don’t have catastrophic climate change,” Hansen said,” There’s still a lot of work to be done.”

Electric busses are rolling out in cities like Gulfport, Mississippi; Portland, Maine and Wichita, Kansas. Electric busses account for less than .5 percent of the fleets in the U.S., while in Europe electric bus usage is in the 10 to 14 percent range. Technology improvements are regularly making electric busses more appealing for municipalities.

” The technology is improving day-by-day,” Hansen said,” I know they’re being used elsewhere and I know they could be used in West Virginia too.”

The event is one of many across the country as the U.S. Congress and the Biden administration consider broad infrastructure proposals.