Gov. Polis vetoes bill that required EV charging in new apartments, large buildings
Electric vehicles are displayed before a news conference with White House Climate Adviser Gina McCarthy and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg about the American Jobs Plan and to highlight electric vehicles at Union Station near Capitol Hill on April 22, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Gov. Jared Polis on Tuesday vetoed legislation championed by environmental groups and local governments aimed at expanding the number of electric vehicle charging stations in new apartments and large commercial buildings.
House Bill 22-1218, passed by Democrats in the General Assembly last month, would have required certain percentages of parking spaces at new or renovated buildings to have chargers installed, or be pre-wired to make future installation more feasible.
Advocates pitched the legislation as a necessary long-term investment before the transition to EVs accelerates in the coming years, since it’s far less expensive to install the panels and conduits needed for chargers in new buildings or during planned renovations than to retrofit buildings for charging infrastructure later.
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In a veto statement sent to lawmakers, however, Polis echoed the past rhetoric that has consistently put him at odds with many of his fellow Colorado Democrats over clean-energy policy, faulting the bill for its “inflexible mandates” and placing faith in future technological advances to solve the problem of costly building retrofits.
“Unfortunately, HB-1218 does not include enough flexibility to adapt to changing infrastructure and is likely to increase housing costs at a time in which Coloradans are struggling with the high cost of housing,” Polis wrote in a veto statement.
Polis added that he’d be willing to work with lawmakers to craft a new version of the bill next year, provided that it includes a long list of provisions adding more flexibility for building developers.
Lobbying records show that some of Colorado’s most powerful real-estate and development interests, including the Colorado Apartment Association, the Colorado Association of Home Builders and the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, were opposed to the HB-1218. Groups lobbying in favor included EV manufacturer Tesla, the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project and the Colorado Sierra Club.
In a press release Wednesday, the environmental group Colorado Communities for Climate Action said it was disappointed in the governor’s decision.
“This bill would have helped ensure that Coloradans of all income levels have access to the benefits of electric vehicles,” Clear Creek County Commissioner George Marlin said in a statement.
“Although the veto is a disappointment, the Legislature adopted a wide range of important climate and energy bills that will reduce pollution, protect Colorado’s quality of life, and save money for Coloradans and Colorado businesses,” Marlin added. “We look forward to working with legislators and the Governor next year on an updated version of this bill.”
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