Today the United States Senate Rules and Admin Committee will consider Senate Bill 739 (S.739). This bill ”authorizes the Architect of the Capitol to establish battery recharging stations for privately owned vehicles in parking areas under the jurisdiction of the Senate at no net cost to the Federal Government.”
This bill was introduced by Michigan’s own Senator Carl Levin and cosponsored by fellow Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow. As we all know Michigan is the home to the I-can-go-on-electric-and-gas
Chevy Chevrolet Volt. The bill did earn the support of other Senators. Most notably, Senator Lamar Alexander from Tennsessee, who’s state is not only home to Nissan North America but also is a Nissan Leaf owner himself.
While this isn’t a monumental piece of legislation nor has it attracted widespread media attention, I do find it important. Contrary to popular belief lawmakers are people, as is their staff. They breathe the same air as we do, drive the same roads and some even own the same types of cars as us.
While we, the common people, assume legislators create their stick & carrot regulatory recipe from a throne cutoff from reality, this legislation is a hint they may be ready to sample their own dish. While this law will do little to address the global problem of sustainable human mobility, it does give us hope that members of Congress and their staff are willing to walk in our shoes…or in this case, drive congressionally prescribed vehicles.
While the introduction of charging stations has the wow-factor, I find it unnecessary to encourage an EV commute. Instead, having dedicated parking spaces/passes for EVs would have almost no cost and be a much simplier process resulting in a similar outcome. To some drivers, the availability of parking is motivation enough to consider an EV. Then again, Capitol Hill offers free Metro fare to employees that choose to travel via electric rail – so I ask, “why drive in the first place?”