PHOENIX, August 17, 2021 – Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego today joined business leaders to call for modernizing the transportation sector by investing in advanced vehicles and transportation infrastructure, as well as expanding electric vehicle (EV) tax incentives.
At the press conference hosted by the Arizona Technology Council, Advanced Energy Economy, Ceres, Mayor Gallego and other clean vehicle advocates urged Congress to pass a budget that makes ambitious investments in EVs, creating jobs and spurring economic opportunity for all Arizonans. Speakers also urged U.S. Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly to expand the EV market through tax credits and support ambitious investments in the infrastructure needed to support EVs.
“Those of us working on the ground in cities like Phoenix have recognized the dividends that investments in clean infrastructure will pay out in the long term,” said Mayor Gallego. “We’re looking at the growth of business, high-quality jobs for Arizona families, better air, better health outcomes and cost savings in the city budget. We’re aligning our policies with those priorities however we can, but it will take the resources of the federal government for this effort to reach its full potential. If Senator Sinema and Senator Kelly can deliver a bold investment in clean transportation, costs will go down, manufacturing capacity will go up and the City of Phoenix can go further in electrifying our transit system.”
The transportation sector is the nation's largest source of carbon pollution. Pollution-free vehicles and investments in clean transportation infrastructure are some of the most effective tools to combat climate change, which has made extreme weather events like heat waves, droughts and wildfires more frequent and intense. In fact, Arizona experienced 13 extreme weather events from 2010 to 2020, costing the state up to $10 billion in damages.
“As the leader of a coalition of over 650 Arizona companies, I can tell you the business community recognizes the continued explosion in clean technology growth as a certainty,” said Steven G. Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council. “We want to do everything in our power to see that Arizona capitalizes on its opportunity to see the benefits of this transformation. We have the willpower and the goals. A budget with major investments in clean infrastructure will boost technological innovation and bring the economic development that Arizona needs to become competitive in the EV space.”
Speakers at the press conference shared how investments in and expanded tax credits for EVs would help reduce air pollution and protect our health. Air pollution exacerbates respiratory diseases like asthma, which afflicts more than 132,000 children and nearly 550,000 adults across Arizona, according to the American Lung Association.
“Investing in transportation electrification could create 83,000 jobs in Arizona and save Arizona families, businesses and governments $270 million a year in gasoline,” said Shelby Stults of Advanced Energy Economy. “We are looking at an opportunity to deliver concrete consumer savings to Arizonans and bolster a growing local industry. Senator Kelly, Senator Sinema and all of our representatives in Congress need to do everything possible to secure the resources Arizona needs to accelerate this transformation and deliver real progress for Arizona families and businesses.”
Supporting our nation's transition to advanced vehicles will create economic opportunities in Arizona. 274,000 jobs already are associated with advanced vehicle technologies nationwide, including 3,200 in Arizona. The Biden administration has an ambitious plan to build 500,000 new EV charging stations across the U.S. by 2030, bolstering our nation’s growing clean vehicle economy. Speakers encouraged Senators Sinema and Kelly to help grow Arizona’s electric vehicle infrastructure.
“In July, we announced plans to nearly triple the size of our state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Arizona,” said Daniel Witt, Head of State and Local Public Policy at Lucid Motors. “With strong federal support targeting the growth of a domestic industry and broader consumer adoption, Arizona companies can become a national leader of transportation electrification and bring thousands of high-quality jobs to our state.”
Zach Friedman, director for federal policy at Ceres, spoke of the support for wide-scale electrification efforts among some of America’s largest businesses. In July, 26 of America’s largest companies — representing an aggregate fleet of more than 1 million vehicles — signed onto a Ceres-led letter calling for Washington to take major action to accelerate vehicle electrification and expand our electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the country.
“Companies from IKEA to American Airlines recognize the urgent need to electrify their fleets and clean up their supply chains,” said Zach Friedman of Ceres. “Corporate America, state and local governments, policy experts, and a decisive majority of the American people are all in agreement that climate action is overdue. Congress must honor that consensus by passing a budget with robust investments in clean transportation that will spark innovation, new jobs, and economic development across Arizona. While the bipartisan infrastructure package marked a helpful first step, we call on Senators Kelly and Sinema to lead on climate and help deliver a budget that brings lasting progress on vehicle electrification.”
For a video of the press conference, click HERE.