(The Center Square) — During the latest state legislative session, the Georgia House passed a measure that proponents say will “advance” the state’s electric vehicle industry.
The move comes after state officials have given millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded incentives to various EV projects, including $1.5 billion for a Rivian Automotive electric vehicle assembly plant in Morgan and Newton counties.
Senate Bill 26, the Georgia Electric Vehicle Future Act, permits the Georgia Department of Economic Development to launch a statewide electric vehicle manufacturing program. The agency would focus on developing, marketing and promoting investments and job creation for Georgia’s EV industry.
In a constituent newsletter, state Rep. Chuck Martin, R-Alpharetta, said the state economic development agency would work with state agencies, including the Georgia Department of Transportation, to deploy “the appropriate infrastructure,” including EV charging stations.
“Additionally, this legislation would establish the Georgia Electric Vehicle Manufacturing Commission,” Martin said. “Comprised of private sector and public officials, this commission would serve as an oversight body for our state-led EV initiatives, work to develop policy recommendations for the General Assembly to consider, as well as coordinate with our higher educational systems to determine our workforce needs and help train future workers for this industry.
“The Georgia Electric Vehicle Future Act would promote public-private partnerships to develop forward-looking EV solutions, support this job-producing industry and strengthen Georgia’s position in EV manufacturing and innovation,” Martin added.
Last year, the Federal Highway Administration signed off on Georgia’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Plan, opening the door to millions in federal taxpayer dollars for the state. With this approval, the Georgia Department of Transportation began planning how the state will spend roughly $130 million to pay for electric vehicle charging infrastructure over the next five years.
The state House and state Senate passed different versions of the bill. The state Senate’s version would have allowed development authorities and community improvement districts to hold meetings and public hearings via teleconference.
The Senate did not agree to the House’s substituted version before the end of the session. It will be pending when the state Senate resumes its session next year.
By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor