This week, Maine Governor Paul LePage and Québec Premier Philippe Couillard announced an exciting public-private partnership to expand electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure between Portland and Québec City.
It’s no secret that CLF and the LePage Administration have had a charged relationship over many environmental issues, but this week’s announcement shows that finding common ground is always possible. As Governor LePage said, “Electric vehicles have made significant progress and are coming to Maine. It’s vital we have a plan to make Maine open to this important technological change.”
We couldn’t agree more. In fact, hundreds of EVs are already on the road in the Pine Tree State. In a recent report, CLF, Sierra Club, and Acadia Center outline key recommendations for increasing the number of EVs in New England. Part of that plan includes putting in place charging stations that allow EV owners to drive seamlessly throughout the region.
We applaud the Governor’s forward-looking plan, which will include the public and relevant stakeholders such as local businesses and national electric vehicle companies, in a transparent process to develop the infrastructure. Expanding electric vehicle use in Maine benefits the environment, Maine’s economy and tourist industry, and local communities. The more EV charging stations Maine has, the easier it is for EV drivers to travel to and through Maine.
We also encourage Governor LePage to sign the zero-emissions vehicle memorandum of understanding (MOU) that many of our sister states have signed. The MOU commits the states to work cooperatively to put 3.3 million zero-emissions vehicles on the road by 2025. After all, charging infrastructure is only one piece of the puzzle. First, we need electric vehicles on the road to make use of all those new charging stations.
To forward EV efforts in the state, a diverse group of stakeholders, which includes CLF, has convened an electric vehicle working group—Drive Electric Maine. Partners include several Maine governmental departments, municipalities, renewable energy businesses, auto dealers, environmental organizations, and more. Governor LePage has stated that he plans to work with Drive Electric Maine on the charging infrastructure project.
CLF looks forward to continuing to work with the State of Maine to make this plan a reality.