NORMAL (WEEK) — Senator Dick Durbin had high praise following a plant visit to Rivian Thursday morning.
“Central Illinois has an opportunity to become the ‘EV’ Silicon Valley of the 21st century,” Durbin said.
Appearing with Normal Mayor Chris Koos, the Senator touted increased funding for electric vehicle infrastructure under President Biden’s American Jobs Plan.
“These funds would support the growth of businesses like Rivian, accelerate the growth of charging stations, like this one, all across America, to become as commonplace or more commonplace than gas stations,” Durbin said.
The plan would make a $174 billion investment in electric vehicles, with some of that money coming to Central Illinois.
Companies like Rivian would use it to build more vehicles and more charging stations.
Mayor Koos said the plan may seem ambitious, but says the U.S. has been down this road before.
“When the automobile first started becoming popular and the Model-T’s were rolling off the assembly lines, there might have only been 500 or 600 gas stations in the entire United States,” Koos said. “10 years later, there was something like 30,000. So the market will drive that.”
Introduced a month ago, the American Jobs Plan is still far off from becoming the law of the land. The wide-ranging, $2 trillion plan faces significant obstacles both from Republicans and moderate Democrats.
Bur Durbin and Koos say rlrctric vehicles will be crucial to the future of the Twin Cities.
“This is the new Normal,” Durbin said.
Rivian’s Normal plant will start producing vehicles in June, and the plant is expected to have around 2,500 employees by the end of 2021.
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