Gov. Ron DeSantis signed landmark electric vehicle roadmap legislation that requires the state to create a master plan for the development of electric vehicle charging infrastructure across Florida. Senate Bill 7018 received broad bipartisan support in the Legislature and was the first bill sent to the Governor’s desk since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Drive Electric Florida (DEFL), one of the most visible and effective voices for electric vehicle ownership and accompanying infrastructure growth, hailed the legislation as an important step forward in innovation and economic development within Florida’s transportation sector. The legislation points to the high priority the state’s leaders have placed on expanding electric vehicle charging stations to support growth in the use of electric vehicles.
“This legislation is truly an important first step toward more energy, economic, and environmental security in Florida,” said Matt Alford, DEFL’s Executive Director. “It will help make our state less dependent on imported energy while mitigating the worst impacts of climate change on Florida – which is the most vulnerable state in America to sea level rise caused by that climate change. I am thrilled by this opportunity to work with our partners in state government.”
The legislation directs the Florida Department of Transportation to work with the Public Service Commission and Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Office to develop a master plan for deploying electric vehicle infrastructure along evacuation routes and facilitating everyday travel on Florida’s roads. Together, they are to submit a set of policy recommendations by the end of 2020 and complete the master plan by July 1, 2021.
Florida’s transportation sector represents the state’s single largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Expansion of the state’s charging station infrastructure will pave the way for electric vehicle growth, which can contribute to reduced emissions.
“Florida’s economic and infrastructure needs continue to grow and change,” said state Sen. Tom Lee, sponsor of the legislation and chairman of the Senate Committee on Infrastructure and Security. “Developing electric vehicle charging infrastructure will create jobs for Floridians and may spur economic development even as the economy adapts to the long-term effects of COVID-19.”
The bill also enhances Florida’s security during natural disasters by authorizing FDOT to construct staging areas for responses during states of emergency.
“The start of hurricane season is Florida’s annual reminder that climate change is already impacting our lives, from our state infrastructure to public health. By moving forward on electric vehicles, the State of Florida can begin to address these issues, as well as reducing our reliance on dirty fossil fuels and creating clean energy jobs,” said Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez, an advocate for electric vehicles. “With innovative technology and community support, the road ahead is paved with opportunity.”