Albany, NY...A bill introduced by State Senator Jen Metzger (S6836) to protect electric vehicle (EV) drivers’ access to public charging facilities was signed into law Wednesday. The bill, passed with wide bipartisan support, makes it a violation of Vehicle and Traffic Law for a non-electric car to park in a space reserved for EV charging—a common occurrence that has frustrated electric vehicle drivers in need of a charge. The bill also requires that electric vehicles must be charging while using the designated spaces, and not just parking.
New York State has set a goal of one million EVs on the road by 2025, and sales for plug-in vehicles continue to grow. While EV owners typically meet most of their charging needs by charging at home overnight, the wide availability of charging facilities is necessary to fully accommodate all driving needs. Local governments are increasingly making this infrastructure available in municipal parking lots and on public streets, but there has until now been no deterrent to parking in these spots, and drivers of gas-powered cars commonly use them as parking spaces.
“EV drivers need access to charging stations just as non-EV drivers need access to the gas pump, and this law will discourage abuse of these designated spaces in public parking lots and on the street," said Senator Metzger (SD-42). “To make the switch to an electric vehicle, drivers need to have the confidence that these facilities will be available, and I’m very pleased to see this bill signed into law.”
Assemblymember Amy Paulin (AD-88) said, "Reserving parking spaces for electric vehicles must be enforceable. This is important for practical as well as public policy reasons. Practically, owners of electric vehicles need to be able to charge their vehicles when they are away from home. On a public policy level, this legislation will provide a further incentive for drivers to purchase electric vehicles and help reduce carbon emissions."
The transportation sector accounts for more than a third of New York's greenhouse gas emissions, the main cause of climate change, and the shift to clean vehicles will be essential for meeting the state's targets for an overall reduction in emissions by 40 percent by 2030 and 85 percent by 2050.
Senator Metzger has been a leading proponent in the State Senate for shifting to a clean energy economy, and has introduced a package of bills to accelerate adoption of electric vehicles in New York. In December, the Governor signed into law Metzger's bill (S5820) directing the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to identify areas across the state where EV infrastructure is insufficient and develop a plan to close the gaps. Earlier this year, Metzger announced the introduction of a bill (S8765) that would increase the number of zero-emissions trucks on the road, reducing harmful pollutants that cause asthma and other health problems while helping New York to meet the goals of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act passed last year.
Jen Metzger represents the 42nd Senate District, which includes all of Sullivan County and parts of Delaware, Orange, and Ulster Counties. Senator Metzger serves as Chair of the Agriculture Committee and sits on the Environmental Conservation, Education, Health, Energy and Telecommunications, Local Government, Women’s Issues, Domestic Animal Welfare, and Legislative Commission on Rural Resources Committees.