Padilla, Colleagues Introduce Bicameral Legislation to Expand Access to Electric Vehicles for Low-Income Communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) joined Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Representative Nanette Díaz Barragán (D-Calif.-44) in introducing the bicameral EVs for All Act, legislation that would increase access to electric vehicles (EVs) for residents of public housing across the nation. Many of these individuals currently face limited or no access to EVs, while grappling with high gas prices and disproportionate exposure to pollution from conventional vehicles.

“California has been a leader in transitioning from polluting, gas-powered cars to zero-emission vehicles,” said Senator Padilla. “But we have work to do to make electric vehicles accessible and affordable to all. By making EVs more accessible to residents of public housing—who face some of the worst air quality in the nation—we can begin to close the gap in access to clean and healthy transportation, safeguard clean air, and save working families costly trips to the gas pump.”

“If we want a greener and more sustainable future, we must prioritize accessibility and equity,” said Senator Booker. “By expanding access to EVs for residents of public housing, we can empower low-income communities with clean transportation options and alleviate the burden of high gas prices and pollution. That is why I am proud to join Representative Barragán in introducing this legislation that represents our commitment to environmental justice and ensures everyone has a fair chance to benefit from the transition to electric vehicles.”

“A successful clean energy future requires that every resident, regardless of income can take part,” said Representative Barragán. “Electric vehicle car share programs can improve the economic mobility and quality of life of residents whose communities face disproportionate air pollution and climate impacts. This model has proven popular at Rancho San Pedro public housing in my district, and I’m excited to reintroduce the EVs for All Act to expand it to every part of the country.”

The EVs for All Act includes several key provisions to drive the expansion of EV accessibility and infrastructure in low-income communities:

  • Development of an EV Car Sharing Program: The U.S. Department of Energy, in coordination with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Transportation, will establish a program that offers grants of up to $1 million to public housing agencies, local governments, or non-profit organizations. These grants will support the implementation of EV car sharing services specifically designed for public housing projects. Additional funding will be available for the installation of direct current fast charging equipment.
  • Annual Appropriations: The legislation authorizes annual appropriations of up to $50 million from Fiscal Year 2024 to 2033. This funding will provide numerous communities across the country with the opportunity to expand EV accessibility for low-income residents.
  • Comprehensive Support: The EVs for All Act covers various expenses associated with EV adoption, including the cost of purchasing EVs, installing and maintaining charging infrastructure, community education and outreach initiatives, subsidized fares, maintenance and repairs, monitoring and data collection, as well as technical assistance to run the service.
  • Job Creation and Workforce Development: The legislation mandates prevailing wage requirements and encourages grant recipients to hire at least 40 percent of local and disadvantaged workers. Workers must also possess an Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP) certificate or a certificate from a registered apprenticeship program for electricians, in line with the Biden Administration’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Standard.

In the addition to Padilla and Booker, the legislation is cosponsored in the Senate by U.S Senators Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.). In the House, the legislation is also cosponsored by U.S. Representatives Jasmine Crockett (D-Texas), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.), Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), Donald Payne (D-N.J.), Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Pramila Jayapal (D-Calif.), Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Penn.), Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), André Carson (D-Ind.), Jesus Garcia (D-Ill.), and Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.).

The legislation is supported by a coalition of organizations advocating for environmental justice, clean technology, housing, and climate solutions. The full list of endorsing organizations can be found here.

Full text of the bill is available here.