Terminology in the House-passed budget bill states in part, "every fleet vehicle replaced shall be replaced with a vehicle that has an internal combustion engine."  -  Photo: State of Kentucky/Canva/Government Fleet

Terminology in the House-passed budget bill states in part, "every fleet vehicle replaced shall be replaced with a vehicle that has an internal combustion engine."

Photo: State of Kentucky/Canva/Government Fleet

If the legislature-proposed two-year budget bill passes for the state of Kentucky, new vehicles purchased for the state fleet can't be fully electric. That's due to language included within the bill, which recently passed the Kentucky House.

What the Legislation Says

House Bill 6, the spending plan for the coming fiscal years, includes wording specifying what type of vehicles can be purchased for the state fleet with its $2.5 million-per-year fleet replacement budget. The bill states, in part,

"Every fleet vehicle replaced shall be replaced with a vehicle that has an internal combustion engine."

While that would exclude EVs, hybrid vehicles would be eligible since they use both an internal combustion engine and a battery.

The Republican-led House passed the bill after making several amendments, none of which included the language about fleet purchases.

Laura Goins, spokesperson for House GOP leadership, told the Kentucky Lantern that the language is, "consistent with the House Majority’s commitment to responsibly investing each taxpayer dollar."

She went on to say that due to the vehicles' necessity for governmental duties, they are critical, thus making the "proven reliability" of an internal combustion engine "preferable."

What Does the State's EV Fleet Currently Look Like?

David Fint, administrative branch manager for the Kentucky state office of fleet management, told Government Fleet in 2023 that the state's fleet department was transitioning some of its vehicles to EVs. 

He also said the department was requesting funding to install 165 more charging stations in addition to its existing ones at various state office locations in 2025 to help comply with Senate Bill 281, passed in 2023, which requires the state to replace at least half of its vehicles to alt fuel vehicles by 2026.

"Failure to fund this request of 165 EV charging stations will make it difficult, if not impossible, for Fleet to remain compliant in the coming years," the department's funding request stated.

The funding request is allocated in Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear's budget proposal. However, they are not included in House Bill 6.

Support for EVs from the Governor's Office

GF reached out to Gov. Beshear's office regarding the language used in the House bill and did not immediately hear back. However, the governor has shown support for the adoption of EVs and expansion of charging stations across state highways, attending an unveiling for a charging station along I-75 on Feb. 20.

Beshear has also voiced support for future EV manufacturing facilities coming to the state, including Ford's BlueOval SK Battery Park, a $5.8 billion investment set to bring 5,000 new jobs to the state.

The cover of Beshear's latest budget proposal is a photo of him at BlueOval SK Battery Park.

AESC Group, an EV battery technology company, is also building a facility that will produce battery cells and modules, bringing 2,000 more jobs to the state. Beshear attended the groundbreaking for the facility in 2022.

The bill was sent to a Senate committee to review on Feb. 6. If the bill passes in the Senate, it will be sent to Gov. Beshear for his signature.

About the author
Christy Grimes

Christy Grimes

Senior Editor

Christy Grimes is a Senior Editor at Bobit, working on Automotive Fleet and Government Fleet publications. She has also written for School Bus Fleet.

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