Electric vehicle charging stations funding bill debated in House

February 17, 2023


Missouri News Network

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri House debated a bill Tuesday that would require municipalities to foot the bill for electric vehicle charging stations if they require the stations to be built. The bill needs one more vote before being fully passed out of the house.

House Bill 184, sponsored by Rep. Jim Murphy, R-St. Louis, would make municipalities that require businesses to install electric vehicle charging stations to pay for all costs associated with installation. It also would forbid municipalities from requiring more than five charging stations in any parking lot.

Murphy said he is sponsoring the bill because vehicle charging technology will only improve and stations installed now may become defunct in the future.

“So, today we have electric charging stations that match today’s vehicles; it’s almost certain that it’s going to change,” Murphy said.

He said it is not right for governments to tell businesses to spend money on something that has nothing to do with the business.

He said St. Louis County passed an ordinance requiring one electric vehicle station for every 10 parking spaces, which was discouraging developers from improving their infrastructure because of the cost of installing the stations.

“Is it proper for a government to tell a business you have to do something that has nothing to do with your business? It will bring you no profit,” Murphy said.

Rep. Dane Diehl, R-Butler, said small businesses from across his district told him that being forced to install charging stations is bad for their balance sheets.

Rep. Ashley Aune, D-Kansas City, said she worried about how the bill would affect local control because every city and county has its own objectives.

“I think that what’s right for St. Louis County is certainly not going to be right maybe for Greene County... We all have different objectives in our communities,” Aune said.

Rep. Adrian Plank, D-Columbia, proposed an amendment to the bill that would set up a task force to create a comprehensive infrastructure plan for charging stations. The amendment saw minimal debate and was voted down.

Rep. Michael Burton, D-Lakeshire, also failed to add an amendment that would make the state pay for the charging stations set up because of city ordinances. He pointed out the state’s $5 billion budget surplus and called for the state to be a leader in combating climate change.

“When it comes to the environment I want the state of Missouri to be a leader, not a follower,” Burton said, “you’re moving the state backwards... and you’re taking away local control.”