U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) was present at the Alt Car Expo in Austin, Texas yesterday. This is quite the reasonable place for him to be, not just because he's the Representative from this area but because he's been a long-time promoter of more government support for plug-in vehicles.

Doggett said he came to the Plug-in movement through the recently-ended Plug-in Partners campaign, which started in Austin. He helped get plug-in tax credit legislation passed in the House six times, but he did not vote in favor of the final bill (the seventh passing) because it was part of the the huge bank bailout bill we heard so much about a few weeks ago. He's like that.

We spoke to Doggett about the bill and his efforts on behalf of PHEVs. He said the final version provides about half as much support for PHEVs as he originally intended three quarters of a billion dollars instead of $1.5 billion. The provisions were also - unfortunately, in Doggett's mind - changed from individual manufacturer cap to an overall cap. There is an industry-wide cap of 250,000 tax credits for consumers between now and 2014. "This was done perhaps with the idea in mind that General Motors would have the Volt out there and be ready to try and claim as many credits as possible against its competitors."

It's a long way from Austin to Detroit.

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