By David Shepardson and Nichola Groom
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden’s vast infrastructure plan includes $174 billion to boost the markets for electric vehicles and billions more for renewable power – both provisions aimed at weaning the U.S. off of fossil fuels and combating climate change.
The $2 trillion plan, which also seeks to invest in traditional projects like roads and bridges, is a centerpiece of the administration’s ambitious agenda to decarbonize the U.S. economy by 2050 and restore the nation’s leadership in addressing global warming.
It also vows to spend $165 billion on public transit, Amtrak and other rail projects – moves that could shift more Americans out of private cars and onto trains and transit systems.
The plan still must be approved by Congress.
The White House said the new EV funds will result in more U.S. production of EV components and batteries and fund new consumer rebates and tax incentives “to buy American-made EVs, while ensuring that these vehicles are affordable for all families and manufactured by workers with good jobs.”
The Biden plan proposes grants and incentives “to build a national network of 500,000 EV chargers by 2030.” It also calls for replacing 50,000 diesel transit vehicles and electrifying at least 20% of school buses and $20 billion to improve road safety.
But it does not follow California’s lead in setting a date to phase out gasoline-powered vehicles.
It also calls for $25 billion for U.S. airports and to “utilize the vast tools of federal procurement to electrify the federal fleet, including the United States Postal Service.”
The proposal seeks to extend tax credits for wind, solar and energy storage facilities by ten years, driving down the cost of the technologies for energy buyers. The plan will also leverage the government’s purchasing heft and require that federal facilities be powered around the clock with carbon-free sources.
It also calls for $15 billion for projects that demonstrate emerging energy technologies like carbon capture and storage, advanced nuclear and hydrogen.
At the same time, the plan vowed to do away with subsidies and tax loopholes for fossil fuel companies and to require polluters to pay into a fund for environmental cleanup.
To assist workers displaced by the transition away from fossil fuels, the plan also includes $16 billion to employ hundreds of thousands of workers to plug orphan oil and gas wells and clean up abandoned mines.
(Reporting by David Shepardson and Nichola Groom; Editing by Christopher Cushing)