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Monday, September 21, 2009

Legislators push region as electric vehicle hub

From an article by Tom Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Southeastern Wisconsin shouldn't overlook its expertise in battery and energy research and development as it strives to become a center for water technologies, local lawmakers say.

With that in mind, state Rep. Jeff Stone (D-Milwaukee) and state Sen. Jeff Plale (D-South Milwaukee) on Monday will announce a series of proposals designed to make the region a hub for energy storage and plug-in electric vehicle research.

The proposal is linked to the region's being home to the headquarters and R&D center for Johnson Controls Inc. as it develops next-generation hybrid batteries for cars and trucks, said Stone. But it's also born of a desire to see plug-in vehicles on the road in larger numbers as a move to reduce air pollution.

Legislative proposals to be unveiled Monday, Stone said, would:

• Eliminate the sales tax for consumers who buy plug-in electric hybrid cars or all-electric cars.

• Scrap of the state's emissions-testing program, with the funds now spent on that program reallocated to a fund for grants for firms or universities conducting research into electric technologies and energy storage.

• Create tax credits for equipment used in research and development.

• Exempt electric-vehicle charging stations from the personal property tax for companies that want to install the charging stations in their parking ramps.

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