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Electric vehicle parking spots bill moving to the House

FILE - An electric car is charged at the Motor Show in Essen, Germany, Dec. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)
Martin Meissner/AP
FILE - An electric car is charged at the Motor Show in Essen, Germany, Dec. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)

The future of the automobile industry may end up being electric cars, which means that the future of parking spots might involve charging stations. A bill under consideration in the General Assembly would address that issue.

Imagine the scenario: You're driving an electric car, and you need a charge. You find a parking space that has a charging station. But there's a gas-powered car parked there. That's why members of the General Assembly are considering a bill that would create a $250 penalty for drivers of non-electric cars that park in spots reserved for electric cars.

Senator David Suetterlein is a Republican from Roanoke County who voted against the bill.

"If someone happens to own an electric vehicle pulls there with no intent to charge, they cannot be fined even though they are parked there and preventing others from using it the way it's intended," he says.

Senator Scott Surovell is a Democrat from Fairfax County who says that's not a persuasive argument.

"I look forward to his bill that would allow parking in handicapped spots when every other spot is full," explains Surovell.

Senator John Cosgrove is a Republican from Chesapeake who voted in favor of the bill.

"This is a bill carried by a member of the other side of the aisle. But this is a good bill," he says. "This is a private property rights bill."

Those electric charging stations are not cheap. And Cosgrove says private property owners who have made that kind of investment deserve the right to make sure people who have electric cars have access to those spaces. Seven Republicans voted with all the Democrats in favor of the bill, which now heads over to the House of Delegates.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.