Senator Hwang’s comments on the Electric Vehicle Roadmap bill

March 20, 2024

Senator Hwang Comments and Vote on Transportation Committee’s Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Advisory Council

Today, The Connecticut General Assembly’s Transportation Committee voted on HB 5485: An Act Concerning Transportation Infrastructure for Electric Vehicles. A long-time environmental advocate, Senator Hwang acknowledged he remains a strong advocate for the reduction of fossil fuel use and air pollution to address climate change. But cautioned that much work needs to be done by engaging all shareholders working together to reduce transportation emissions in Connecticut.

“We’ve had a roadmap since 2020 that was passed on a bipartisan basis without the tinge of political partisanship we see right now. For the past four years, there were components of that roadmap assigned to DEEP to implement. But, personally, as a user of an electric vehicle, I have first hand experience that we are woefully behind in even implementing a roadmap we put in place.”

Senator Hwang highlighted deficiencies in charging infrastructure statewide, as well as issues with battery fires and cold weather starting issues for certain EVs. He stated that the automobile marketplace is changing dramatically.

“I urge caution that before we impose any additional policy guidelines on CT consumers, perhaps our state agencies should fulfill their commitments to full EV standards first. Senator Hwang stated, “Before you impose it on the consumer, maybe our state agencies propose an all-electric vehicle structure.”

Senator Hwang also illuminated the imbalance in the composition of the proposed council that would create an EV roadmap with an uneven weight and bias to predisposed ideology instead of practical implementation.

“Under this current proposal, I am looking at an overwhelming one-sided legislative majority party mandate. There would be a 14-6 majority in their appointments in addition to the Governor’s Office and committee leadership appointments.” Senator Hwang warned, “We have a responsibility to engage all shareholders, we need to have the confidence they are all being heard.”  HB 5485 in its current language gives the perception of the majority party putting their thumb on the scales, to possibly create a skewed output from this council that would not be reflective of all voices and perspectives.

“One of the proudest moments we have as chairs and rankings is to be able to produce a product, stand side by side, and say, ‘We worked on this in a bipartisan and collaborative manner toward a practically effective solution.’ So I hope that despite my no-vote asking for more policy input, we will be able to do that before the end of the legislative session, but as of today, I will be a no-vote.” Senator Hwang concluded.