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Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg Says Pittsburgh Will Play Role In Switch To Electric Vehicles

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says Pittsburgh can play a key role as America switches from gas-powered cars to cleaner electric vehicles in the next few years.

In an exclusive interview on KDKA, the secretary outlined a $5 billion conversion program.

In his interview with Secretary Buttigieg, KDKA money editor Jon Delano noted three things that might encourage people to buy electric vehicles: more charging stations so you can travel anywhere, a much shorter time to charge or fill up with electricity and guaranteeing it's cheaper to drive an electric vehicle over a gas one.

"This is exactly why we are investing in creating a national network of electric vehicle chargers – a half-million of them by the end of this decade," replied Buttigieg. "We are starting with the highway system, making sure we have a backbone so that no matter how far your trip is, you know that there are going to be charging stations on the way to where you need to be."

Watch for chargers along all the local interstates, says Buttigieg, including so-called fast chargers.

"These DC [direct current] fast chargers out at a gas station, a retail location or out on the highway somewhere can charge a vehicle in a matter of minutes," he says. "We're going to make it easier than ever to know that you can get your vehicle charged. On the cost side, these vehicles are already cheaper to own. You're going to save hundreds of dollars a year filling up with electric rather than gasoline or diesel."

The Transportation Secretary sees Pittsburgh as playing a key role in the nation's changeover to electric vehicles.

"Everything from the kind of research jobs connected with Carnegie Mellon which is at the forefront of a lot of transformation and innovation to union electrical worker jobs installing these electric charging stations to jobs even in manufacturing them in the first place," he says. "A place with a proud industrial tradition as well as amazing educational and medical institutions, there is no question in my mind that Pittsburgh is positioned to be at the forefront of the electric vehicle revolution."

This is a five-year program, and this year Pennsylvania is getting $25 million to get started installing EV chargers along our major highways.

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