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House committees hold hearings on electric vehicles and transportation

Thursday, February 18, 2021

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Today, the House Climate and Energy Finance and Policy Committee and the House Transportation Finance and Policy Committee both held hearings on electric vehicles and transportation.  

“In Minnesota, transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions,” said Rep. Jamie Long, Chair of the Climate and Energy Finance and Policy Committee. “In order to combat climate change, we need to find clean and convenient ways for Minnesotans to travel in their communities and throughout the state. Investing in electric vehicles and other bold solutions will help protect our air and our planet for generations to come.” 

“Today we heard bold and visionary strategies to electrify the transportation sector,” said Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL – Minneapolis), Chair of the Transportation Finance and Policy Committee. “Electric vehicles are a key part of addressing the climate crisis and creating jobs in the clean energy economy.” 

During the first hearing, the Climate and Energy Finance and Policy Committee considered four bills that would create electric vehicle (EV) rebates and help utilities and automobile dealers prepare for EVs, provide funding for the Metropolitan Council to invest in electric buses, allow utilities to work with school districts to establish an electric school bus pilot program, and install EV charging stations in state parks.  

After an introduction from Brendan Jordan of Drive Electric Coalition, members heard testimony from Jukka Kukkonen, Shift2Electric and Dean Taylor, Plug In America who provided an overview of the state of electrification and assessed how Minnesota is doing compared to other states. Josh Fisher, Alliance for Automotive Innovation and Wayne Kugel, CEO of Zeus Electric Chassis testified about the possibilities of electrification and provided examples from their work in the auto industry.  

In addition to hearing from several of the environmental advocates, union representatives and workers, and automobile manufacturers who spoke earlier, members of the Transportation Finance and Policy Committee heard testimony from Kjell Burgh, Chairman of Borton Volvo; Erik Bigelow and Joel Donham, Center for Transportation and the Environment; John Lovenburg, Environmental Vice President of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway; and Nathan Wilcox, EV Hybrid Noire. 

Video of the hearings will be available on House Public Information Services’ YouTube channel. More information, including documents from both hearings, are available on the Climate and Energy Finance and Policy Committee’s webpage and the Transportation Finance and Policy Committee’s webpage.