Coalition urges Michigan to invest $600M for EV infrastructure, workforce training
A coalition of nonprofits and businesses on Monday called upon the state legislature to invest $600 million for electric-vehicle and alternative fuel infrastructure, workforce training and site preparation to preserve Michigan's mobility leadership.
The 28 organizations' proposal builds upon existing programs and recommendations made recently by the Council on Future Mobility and Electrification report as the transportation industry undergoes a historic transformation toward alternative fuels with fewer emissions that require different workforce skills, charging stations and new facilities. The proposal comes as the legislature discusses how to use funds from the federal American Rescue Plan Act and excess money from the general fund.
"This a historic opportunity for us," said Frank Houston, regional program manager for the BlueGreen Alliance, an environmental and labor organization. "We're Michigan; we're positioned to come out ahead of this, but every report, every white paper, everything we've put out shows failure to invest now in the changes underway will cost our communities, our workers far more than making the $600 million investment we are calling for today."
The MI Clean Future proposal would allocate $100 million for site development. This comes after the state said it didn't compete for an $11.4 billion investment by Ford Motor Co. and partner SK Innovation for a new EV assembly plant and three battery plants in Tennessee and Kentucky.
The $100 million would ready six large sites and 30 smaller sites that could generate $11.4 billion in private investment, create nearly 20,000 jobs and support $10 million in public-private match funds, according to the report.
"This proposal will help Michigan be a real contender for the next big electric vehicle manufacturing facility," Jane McCurry, executive director of nonprofit Clean Fuels Michigan, said during a news conference from the steps of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing.
Another $100 million would go toward recruiting and retaining jobs in the transportation sector, which accounts for 20% of Michigan jobs. That includes $30 million for helping to transition workers for the new technologies and $10 million for public education efforts.
There would be $100 million for clean school buses and transit buses and $100 million for clean municipal and state fleet vehicles.
The proposal also includes $50 million for EV chargers and other alternative-fueling stations, which could function as matching funds should the federal government pass an infrastructure spending bill, and $40 million for EV chargers at low-income and multifamily housing. Pilot infrastructure projects also would receive $15 million, including charging hubs, in-road charging, connected vehicle projects and more.
There also would be a $5 million study and pilot to find a long-term solution for road funding in light of falling revenue from gas taxes.
"We have an opportunity today," Joshua Bylsma, CEO of Tradion, a Grand Haven-based EV charger provider, "to make the investment for our future tomorrow."
Member of the coalition include the following:
- Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America — Michigan Chapter
- Blink Charging
- BlueGreen Alliance
- Clean Fuels Michigan
- Ecology Center
- Environmental Law and Policy Center
- Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association
- Icom North America LLC
- ITC Holdings Corp.
- Lion Electric
- MI Air MI Health
- Michigan Clean Cities
- Michigan Clinicians for Climate Action
- Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council
- Michigan Environmental Council
- Michigan Propane Gas Association
- Michigan Soybean Association
- Navistar Inc.
- Navya Inc
- Powerlink Systems
- Rhombus Energy Solutions
- Roush CleanTech
- The Electrification Coalition