Report: Transportation Electrification Would Benefit IL Economy, Job Market

A new report showed the economy of Illinois could see major benefits from the Biden administration’s proposed $274 billion investment to electrify the transportation sector. It found funding in the American Jobs Plan would create nearly 11 million jobs nationwide, increase gross domestic product by $1.3 billion and save consumers, governments and businesses more than $230 billion. Those who are skeptical about electric vehicles often cite concerns over high upfront costs. Ryan Gallentine, policy director for Advanced Energy Economy, the trade group that released the report, insists the investment is worth it.

“Once you kind of get over that initial increased price at the beginning, you can really see a lot of savings,” Gallentine contended. “Because you’re just missing a lot of those parts with the internal combustion engine. Your maintenance and fuel costs are much less over the lifetime of the vehicle.”

The clean-energy sector employs 124,000 Illinois workers, and jobs are expected to grow this year by 7% in energy efficiency, energy storage, solar, hydro, nuclear power, electric vehicles and more. The report pointed out such investments are vital if the U.S. wants to meet its climate goals. Gallentine noted the funding would give states the opportunity to modernize their transportation systems, and address air-quality issues in communities. Negotiations are ongoing in Congress, and he noted both Republicans and Democrats seem to be in favor of at least some electric-vehicle policies.

“It does appear that there is some bipartisan consensus that electric-vehicle technology is a good investment for our infrastructure,” Gallentine observed.

He added, on the ground, investments will range from consumer rebates to incentives for businesses and municipalities to electrify vehicle fleets and more funding for charging infrastructure. Illinois lawmakers came back this week for a special session aimed at passing the Clean Energy Jobs Act, but so far, progress has stalled.

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