Testimony in Opposition to LD 1572, An Act to Ensure Proper Funding of the Highway Fund by Imposing a Surcharge on Electric Vehicle Registration
Senator Chipman, Representative Williams, and members of the Committee on Transportation, my name is Josh Caldwell. I am the Climate and Clean Energy Outreach Coordinator at the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM). NRCM has been working for more than 60 years to protect, restore, and conserve Maine’s environment, on behalf of our 25,000 members and supporters. I’m here today to testify in opposition to LD 1572, An Act to Ensure Proper Funding of the Highway Fund by Imposing a Surcharge on Electric Vehicle Registration.
Establishing sustainable funding sources for our transportation system is vital, and has been the subject of high-level deliberation, including the work of a Blue Ribbon Commission in 2019 and 2020. These processes identified several possible options for increasing transportation funding, and we believe that we should pursue options that don’t run directly counter to achieving Maine’s climate goals.
Maine’s Clean Transportation Roadmap identifies vehicle electrification as the number one strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our most polluting sector.¹ Accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) throughout Maine is a top climate priority, and establishing a surcharge for EV registration would undermine this aim. Dampening progress toward our EV adoption goals is not the right approach for our climate or for the thousands of Maine consumers seeking to purchase an EV.
Maine’s Climate Action Plan calls for 219,000 EVs on the road by 2030, the very first goal listed in the Plan and perhaps the most ambitious.² Millions of dollars are being invested in a statewide charging network. The two-year Climate Action Plan progress report that came out at the end of 2022 found that Maine now has more than 8,500 EVs on the road, an exponential jump from years previous.³ Despite that progress, we are still a long way off from our 2030 goal, and we cannot afford to slow down our EV adoption trends with a surcharge on EV registrations.
We look forward to working with this Committee to decarbonize our transportation sector and establish sustainable funding sources to support that work, but this bill is not the way to do so. For these reasons, we urge the Committee to vote Ought Not to Pass on this legislation. I welcome any questions you may have.