Electric vehicles to roll out across state departments

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has signed off on millions of dollars to buy electric vehicles and charging stations for state workers as a step toward efficient, clean energy, but opponents argue it’s a giant waste of taxpayer dollars.

“This is the first-of-its-kind in state government that will basically reduce the carbon footprint in New Mexico,” General Services Department Cabinet Secretary Ken Ortiz said.

It’s the first step in adding electric vehicles to the state’s fleet of 1,900 vehicles.

“I would love to get to a point where we have about 20 percent of our vehicles statewide doing electric,” Ortiz added.

The governor signed off on the GSD’s capital outlay request of $1 million for about 33 electric vehicles to be used by state workers and another $1.5 million for solar-powered, vehicle charging stations in Santa Fe, likely placed in the parking lots of state department buildings.

“We’re also looking for funding opportunities to implement renewable charging stations statewide,” Ortiz explained.

One Republican lawmaker, however, calls it a ridiculous use of tax dollars.

“They’re like a kid that you send off to college and you give them a credit card and you say, ‘Please just use this for emergencies.’ And, for these guys, going electric is apparently an emergency,” Minority Whip Rod Montoya said.

GSD said it comes down to saving money in the long term.

The department is still looking at where it will purchase the electric vehicles and charging stations. 

It says the new cars could be on the road by July.

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