OPINION: Support sustainable transportation to further economic development


Whenever anyone has to make an investment of any kind, large or small, they have to ask themselves the question, “What’s in it for me?”

One thing that binds us all is money. Whether it is the household budget for an individual consumer, the budget for a small family-owned business, a large corporation, a local city, the state or the feds, everyone wants to increase income and reduce spending.

We know that sustainable transportation options including alternative fuel and electric vehicles and their fueling and charging options provide excellent long-term returns on investment and significant cost savings over traditional gasoline and diesel options, especially now with gas and diesel prices at all-time highs.

The financial contributions to the state from the industries supporting the sustainable transportation sector are also providing valuable returns to the state’s economy as well. Steel produced here in Northwest Indiana is being used to build electric and alternative fuel vehicles and their components. The jobs in that sector are pumping revenue into Hoosier economy as well.

Indiana-based companies like Cummins, a Fortune 500 company with headquarters in Columbus, has a more than 100- year history of investments in Indiana and is a leader in the sustainable transportation field.

Indiana is extremely successful at retaining businesses and attracting businesses and industries, in part due to the state’s low taxes and business-friendly programs and policies.

The new businesses that support the sustainable transportation industry stand to pump billions into the Hoosier economy with new construction, sales and jobs while creating products that contribute to a healthier future.

Stellantis and Samsung SDI last month announced a $2.5 billion investment in a new electric vehicle battery manufacturing plant in Kokomo. The project is slated to bring with it 1,400 new jobs. The new plant is slated to be built adjacent to the existing Stellantis Kokomo facility in Kokomo and to produce batteries for a variety of EVs manufactured at Stellantis assembly plants throughout North America.

In October, Stellantis said it plans to invest $229 million in the existing Kokomo plant to help the company achieve its goal of 40% low-emission U.S. vehicle sales by 2030.

Officials said investment in the new Kokomo manufacturing facility could gradually increase to $3.1 billion.

A report released by the Economic Policy Institute in the fall projected if battery electric vehicles constitute half of all U.S. auto sales by 2030, up to 150,000 U.S. jobs could be created within that time frame to support them.

This is all good news for the state, the economy, our energy resiliency and our air quality. We can all breathe a little easier knowing Indiana is doing its part to support the transition to a more sustainable transportation system and a sustainable economy.

As more and more electric vehicles come on the market, knowing your investment could be supporting local industries and jobs right here in the state can make a difference in your purchasing choices as well.

When it comes time to make a purchase and you have to ask yourself, “What’s in it for me?” the answer could be a better quality of life for all Hoosiers.

Remember, it’s never too late to begin your environmental legacy.

This column originally ran in The Times of Northwest Indiana. Carl Lisek is the executive director of Drive Clean Indiana and vice president of Legacy Environmental Services. The opinions are the writers.


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