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It's a key step in unlocking $5 billion available for installing thousands of charging stations on highways around the country.
A majority of states got the green light from the federal government this week to begin building out electric vehicle charging networks along key highways, the Biden administration announced. Thirty-three states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., all got federal approval.
“With the first set of approvals we are announcing today, 35 states across the country – with Democratic and Republican governors – will be moving forward to use these funds to install EV chargers at regular, reliable intervals along their highways,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement Wednesday.
The federal approval means that state transportation departments can start to access their share of $5 billion Congress included in last year’s infrastructure law to build electric vehicle charging stations across the country. The Biden administration wants to install 500,000 new chargers in the next five years.
Congress specified how much each state will get as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. But states must submit plans every year, and get the sign off from federal transportation officials, in order to use those funds.
States can use the money to upgrade or build electric vehicle chargers, cover operation and maintenance costs, install electric equipment, train workers, consult with community members and stakeholders, erect signage, facilitate data sharing or conduct analysis.
The Federal Highway Administration must process the applications of the remaining 17 states by the end of September. At the same time, it is also reviewing feedback it received about the rules governing the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program.
The states that received federal approval Wednesday are:
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
The Federal Highway Administration and the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation indicated that they would continue to provide technical assistance to states to help them draft their annual plans and to roll out those plans once those plans are approved.
Daniel C. Vock is a senior reporter for Route Fifty based in Washington, D.C.