Reducing reliance on foreign oil: State lawmakers promote electric vehicle options in FL

Electric-vehicle charging stations are becoming more common in Florida. Credit: Getty Images

Predicting a surge in the use of electric vehicles in the Sunshine State, Florida lawmakers are sponsoring various bills to promote transportation technologies and specifically electric vehicle charging stations.

“Experts believe that by 2030 up to a third of new cars sold will be electric,” said Sen. Jeff Brandes, a Pinellas County Republican. He announced his SB 1230 legislation this week.

“EV technology can reduce the costs families pay for transportation, mitigate our impact on the environment and, importantly, reduce our reliance on foreign oil,” Brandes said.

FL Rep. Dan Daley, D-Broward

South Florida Democrat Rep. Dan Daley filed HB 943 to require the state Department of Transportation to develop a master plan for providing electric vehicle charging stations on state highways.

The Senate Committee on Infrastructure and Security filed SB 7018 to create a government framework in the Public Service Commission, DOT and the Office of Energy to supply electric vehicle charging technology.

Sen. Jeff Brandes is sponsoring EV legislation. Photo: Colin Hackley

Brandes, a Pinellas County Republican, wants the state Department of Transportation to incorporate “innovative and emerging technologies” into its road and highway projects. His legislation also would authorize grants intended to increase the availability of electric vehicle charging stations throughout the state.

Fl Rep. Jason Fischer, R-Duval

In June, legislation Brandes sponsored along with Rep. Jason Fischer, a Jacksonville-area Republican, was signed into law paving the way for development of autonomous-vehicle technology (self-driving cars) in Florida. Brandes also is sponsoring legislation to support use of electric bicycles.

Brandes’ proposed grant program would use revenue from electric vehicle licenses for charging-station projects. Describing that part of the bill, Brandes said state agencies, public universities, public transit agencies, ports, airports and local governments would be eligible.

SB 1230 calls for a $5 million state appropriation. Brandes serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee and its subcommittees on Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development and on Innovation, Industry and Technology.

“With the expansion of infrastructure, Floridians will have a greater ability to choose the vehicle that’s right for them, their families and our environment,” Brandes said in his announcement.