The Alaska Energy Authority has issued a request for proposals to spend up to $1 million to install between 10 and 14 Level Three electric vehicle chargers along the Railbelt, from Homer and Seward to Fairbanks. This is not about advancing sustainable infrastructure.The U.S. Postal Service will be rolling out the largest fleet of EVs in the country and they already have existing infrastructure for public vehicle traffic in practically every U.S. community, including sufficient locations to meet the requirements presented in this AEA RFP. This represents a ready-built public system that we should be investing in with upgrades.
What AEA is facilitating here is an example of neoliberal commodification of a potential public good. Understand that this minor investment of $1 million can not come close to providing the described infrastructure, but that’s not the objective of this AEA investment. This is an attempt to lay claim and capture what should be public infrastructure investment.There will not be EV corridors, just as there would not be roads in the first place, without massive federal investment, and projects like this AEA are hooks attempting to exploit and privatize public investment. It’s what could be called internal colonialism or neoliberal capitalism.
In any case, continuing with individual vehicles in an automobile-centered lifestyles, as is being promoted by the current U.S. administration in order to keep the automobile industry alive, is unsustainable and unjust. The materials and production energy required to replace internal combustion cars with EV cars will ensure that mineral extraction and greenhouse emissions continue to increase. The resulting global climate impacts harm those least responsible and most vulnerable in the world.
Regarding the long-term of such corridor infrastructure, it would ultimately require rate payers to maintain the system, many of whom will not be able to afford the automobiles the charging stations are intended to serve. It is time to abandon short-sighted neoliberal greenwashing of business as usual by agents such as AEA!
We need to begin imagining massive federal investment in care for people coming out of a pandemic and to the work of repairing the ecological damage that’s been done by the extractive economy. That will become more and more evident in the ever-increasing climate chaos we are facing across the country.
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