Peter Tsemberides: Rhode Island’s Wealthy Charge Taxpayers

Looking at the Rhode Island Department of Administration’s (DOA) recent hearing, citizens of the Ocean State who drive electric cars are getting a major upgrade… in the way of wasteful spending of taxpayer money.

In a hearing on September 21st, the RIDOA updated the Senate Committee on Finance on the American Rescue Plan Act. This bill, passed last March, gave additional relief to help the continued impact of COVID-19 on the country.

Though the act is only supposed to be in play for COVID-19, legislators aim to keep spending money as if it were going out of fashion.

To continue the facade of progress that continues to progress our nation’s debt, the House of Representatives has proposed H.R. 3684. This bill, named the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), aims to give millions of dollars to renewable energy throughout the country.

The bill just passed by the Senate, aims to spend over $83.5 billion in renewable energy projects. Looking as to how it attempts to improve our nation, $7.5 billion of the budget is slated to go towards funding electric vehicles that have been soaring in popularity in recent months. The funding is planned to go towards building out the first-ever national network of EV chargers in the United States, a large milestone the Biden-Harris Administration plans to achieve (because railroads take too long.)

Out of this $7.5 billion, RI would expect to receive $23 million over five years to support the expansion of an EV charging network in the state. In addition, the Ocean State will also have the opportunity to apply for the $2.5 billion in grant funding dedicated to EV charging in the bill.

While this may sound good on the surface to some: giving electric car owners more places to charge their glorified go-karts, it does nothing more than help the state’s wealthy.

Looking at RI’s median household income of $67,167, a large majority of RI residents cannot afford an electric vehicle, making the spending virtually useless. This coupled with the fact that electric cars will result in more carbon emissions in the environment as compared to regular vehicles within its lifespan, the proposal is just a performance cloaked as helping the environment when it does nothing more than hurt our state as well as our country as a whole. We can do better.

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