October 27, 2021

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Texas’ Troy Nehls goes after electric vehicle charging station funds in new infrastructure deal

Freshman Rep. Troy Nehls is picking a peculiar fiscal hill on which to plant his flag. In a recent interview with Fox News, the former Fort Bend County sheriff criticized President Joe Biden’s plan to use less than one percent of the massive proposed infrastructure bill to construct electric vehicle charging stations across the country. 

As electric vehicles become more popular, experts say the $5 billion currently earmarked for charging stations in the Republican-favored $1.2 trillion bill is nowhere near enough to keep up with the demand that’s expected in coming years. But for Nehls, a Texas Republican who described himself as being “about the oil and gas industry,” said the expenditure was too much for him to fork over. 

The congressman instead argued that the burden should be placed on private companies, like General Motors or Tesla, to build up infrastructure surrounding electric vehicles. 


“We shouldn’t be using taxpayer dollars to fund that,” Nehls said. “When has government ever built a gas station? Why are we spending billions of dollars on putting these electric vehicle stations around the country, when only 2 percent of our vehicles today are electric?”

Nehls’ comment that only two percent of vehicles today are electric appears to reference a Pew Research Center publication from June. The poll stated that the United States accounted for 2 percent of new electric vehicle title registrations worldwide between 2010 and 2020. Conversely, 7 percent of U.S. car owners polled told said they owned an electric or hybrid vehicle, indicating electric/hybrid vehicle ownership is three times the amount of new registrations. In the same survey, nearly 40 percent of drivers said they were seriously considering buying an electric vehicle in the near future. 

While outspoken against the vehicles, Nehls’ congressional actions show no efforts to amend the bill. The former lawman said he’d support the public works budget only if it included “meaningful infrastructure” centered around “roads and bridges.” Of course, the bill already includes $110 billion for roads and bridges, according to the Wall Street Journal. 

Seen in Nehls' own district, an electric vehicle charging station is shown outside a shopping center in Richmond.

Seen in Nehls’ own district, an electric vehicle charging station is shown outside a shopping center in Richmond.

Brett Coomer, Staff / Houston Chronicle

“This Green New Deal is being jammed down our throats and the throats of the American people, and we’re spending billions and billions of dollars,” Nehls said. “I’m all about the oil and gas industry, but there’s got to be a compromise.”

The compromise, as is stands, is the aforementioned bipartisan bill, which garnered support from Democrats and Republicans in Congress alike. The Senate is expected to give a final vote on the bill by the end of October. 



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