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Measure to make Illinois government vehicles zero emissions questioned over costs

Senate Bill 1769 would require state government entities to purchase or alter their vehicles into zero-emission vehicles by 2030. The measure excludes police and fire vehicles.

Published: November 10, 2023 3:45pm

(The Center Square) -

A measure aiming to make Illinois government passenger vehicles zero-emission or converted into zero-emission has some questioning the feasibility of the plan.

Senate Bill 1769 would require state government entities to purchase or alter their vehicles into zero-emission vehicles by 2030. The measure excludes police and fire vehicles.

During Wednesday's veto session, the measure was up for Senate concurrence, where conversations centered around the costs to taxpayers.

"What is the cost going to be to the taxpayers of this state," state Sen. Steve McClure, R-Springfield, asked the bill sponsor, state Sen. Rachel Ventura, D-Joliet.

"I do not have that estimate as it will be a rolling purchasing price," Ventura said. "However, each vehicle stands to save $12,000."

Emergency vehicles will be exempt, which state Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, said is due to the unreliability of electric vehicles.

"Why are we letting anybody out [of this requirement] if the goal is to be green and help the environment. Why shouldn't police cars be green," Rose asked. "The reason that [the Illinois Emergency Management Agency] and [Illinois State Police] and emergency vehicles are not in this is because we can't guarantee that they'd actually get where they're supposed to go."

Rose said the requirement is nothing more than an effort to garner good press for state government.

"The exemptions that have been put into this exposed the fallacy of the bill in the first place," Rose said. "This is nothing but another green press release to say that we are doing something."

In 2021, Gov J.B. Pritzker signed the Reimagining Electric Vehicles in Illinois Act into law, incentivizing EV production across the state. There are also state tax incentives for the purchase of electric vehicles. Last week, lawmakers also discussed Senate Bill 384, which requires multi-family residential buildings with parking spaces constructed to have capable EV charging stations.

SB1769 passed through the Senate by way of a 38-17 vote and can now be sent to the governor for his signature.

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