Bill would impose fines for owners of parking lots without EV charging stations

Updated: Feb. 14, 2017 at 11:01 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Lawmakers are pushing to establish fines for parking facility owners who don't provide electrical vehicle charging stations.

HB 793 mandates places of public accommodation like hotels, health care facilities and restaurants to have at least one EV parking space per 100 lots.

The Department of Transportation would issue a written notification of noncompliance to an owner who doesn't meet the requirement.

They'd have 365 days before being issued a first warning.

If the owner still fails to abide by the rules, DOT will give them another 180 days before issuing a formal notice of violation.

Then another 90 days until the owner is officially fined $200 for every day that the place of public accommodation remains in violation.

If the owner accrues more than $300,000, DOT will place a lien against the the property.

Impact investment firm, Ulupono Initiative, supports the bill.

"EV's grew at 28 percent in terms of new registration last year where as fossil fuel vehicles stayed flat, so it's growing fast," said Managing Partner Murray Clay.

Ulupuno Initiative reports Hawaii ranks second in the nation behind California in the number of electric cars registered as a percentage of vehicles, but not enough charging stations exist in the state.

Around 5,000 EV's are driven in Hawaii, nearly 4,000 of them being on Oahu and about 320 EV charging stations.

"It's always a struggle to find an open, working charging station," said EV driver Noreen Reimal. "I really have to plan out my trips, so if I know there are more charging stations around, then I can feel more comfortable going out to Ewa or Windward side."

Not everyone is plugging into the idea.

Tina Yamaki is president of Retail Merchants Hawaii and represents upwards of 2,000 storefronts.

She believes the market and customers should be influencers in business trends and operations, and not government mandates.

"It's not that we're against this, it's just another cost of doing business and another mandate we don't see is really productive for Hawaii," Yamaki said. "It really deters us from other people coming and investing here."

The bill would exclude parks, campsites, trailer facilities and other recreation facilities from meeting the charging station requirement.

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