Congressman Peter Welch has introduced legislation that’s designed to make electric vehicles more affordable for consumers.
Under the bill, the maximum tax credit for buying an electric car would increase to $10,000 and the credit would be applied at the time the vehicle is purchased. Currently, these credits are applied when an individual files their income tax return.
The program would be financed by reducing an existing $40 billion tax credit for the nation’s oil industry.
Welch unveiled the proposal at an electric charging station in Montpelier that’s located right next to the Statehouse.
“This is an opportunity to give consumers more choice,” said Welch. “It’s an opportunity to let folks choose something that’s going to save them fuel money but also allow them to drive without compromising the environment.”
Welch says the legislation could have a significant impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Vermont because the transportation sector accounts for a large part of the state’s overall emissions.
Welch says he’s also concerned that the federal Highway Trust Fund is going to run out of money this summer. The fund has been depleted because many states have embarked on a lot of ambitious transportation projects.
Vermont officials say they will have to cancel dozens of important projects if the federal money runs out. Welch says he’s willing to raise the federal gas tax to provide new revenue for the fund.
“You cannot have a highway infrastructure without paying for it and the potholes do not fix themselves,” said Welch. “And Washington is in this sort of fantasy world when it comes to meeting our obligations and the longer we wait on repairing infrastructure the more expensive it gets.”
Several years ago, the federal Highway Trust Fund faced a similar deficit. At that time, Congress used one time money from the budget to balance the fund. Welch says he hopes that lawmakers choose a more permanent solution this year.