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Opinion: A response to “Let Missouri cities plan for the electric vehicle revolution”

  

A recent opinion piece “Let Missouri cities plan for the electric vehicle revolution” stated;

“ , a piece of legislation that currently sits before the Missouri Legislature could pull the plug on the expansion of EV chargers in cities across the state. Recently, HB 1584, which would inhibit cities and counties from adopting EV charging codes for new construction, was passed by the House and is headed to the Senate.”

The truth is, nothing in HB 1584 prohibits local governments, private business or property owners from paying for the installation, maintenance and operation of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.  The state will be receiving millions of dollars to build out EV charging stations and HB 1584 in no way restricts the use of these funds. 

The purpose of building codes is to protect public health, safety and general welfare as they relate to the construction and occupancy of buildings and structures.  

The local EV charging station ordinances did nothing to protect public health and safety: it simply pushed a political agenda.  The requirement that businesses install EV charging stations whenever they renovate, expand or change use of a building is an unfunded mandate that is simply unacceptable.  If allowed to stand it would require a shopping center with thousands of parking spaces to install hundreds of charging stations at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Parking spaces that would be available to shopping center customers will now be tied up for hours while EV’s are charging.  A drycleaner who resurfaces their parking lot would have to install an EV charging station even though nobody would stay in their lot long enough to use it.

Developers and retailers have all stated that if these ordinances are not overturned the results will be that shopping centers will soon be empty as they cannot afford to lease an empty space as the cost of installing EV charging would be prohibitive.  Grocery chains have stated that they would not be remodeling or expanding stores.  Small businesses simply will never improve their parking lot or expand as this is not a productive use of their limited resources. This will cost jobs!

The argument that a business will save money by mandating pre-installed EV infrastructure is absurd.  We do not require businesses to install gas pumps, so why would a retailer be required to spend any money to install EV infrastructure when it does not benefit their business.  

I agree that electric vehicles are in the future and investment will be necessary before they are in wide spread use.  However, EV infrastructure is far less important than broadband expansion yet we don’t require our businesses to foot the bill for this needed expansion.  Underserved communities will not benefit from EV charging stations yet their small business owners will be hurt by these local mandates.  

Federal infrastructure funding and grants from the automobile industry and electric utilities are available for installation of charging stations and this will allow for EV expansion.

As I stated, these building codes depart from the norm as they do not protect public health and safety as they relate to the construction and occupancy of buildings and structures ~ they simply push a political agenda. Ultimately the free market will determine the need and provide for the installation of AV charging stations. HB 1584 is necessary legislation to protect our businesses from this government overreach.