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ODOT commits $100 million to electric vehicle charging infrastructure


SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Oregon Department of Transportation says it's all in on transportation electrification.

The agency is committing $100 million over the next five years to build out Oregon’s public electric vehicle charging network on several major road corridors, and to increase access for all to EV charging in communities throughout the state, ODOT said in a news release Friday that continues in full below:

The funding comes from a mix of federal and state sources, and was approved by the Oregon Transportation Commission at their March 30 meeting.

Amanda Pietz, administrator for ODOT’s Policy, Data & Analysis Division, said more EV charging infrastructure will help motivate Oregonians to choose an EV for their next car, SUV or bicycle.

“We know that range anxiety is a big factor in people’s reluctance to make the switch to electric vehicles, especially in more rural parts of the state,” said Pietz. “This investment will build Oregonians’ confidence that an EV can fit into their life and get them where they need to go.”

Electrifying Oregon’s transportation system is a key outcome in ODOT’s Strategic Action Plan, and part of the state’s push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation and address the climate change crisis.

How and where the funding will be spent

About two-thirds of the funding — $52 million from the 2021 federal infrastructure bill plus a required 20% match — must be spent on EV charging infrastructure along “Alternative Fuel Corridors,” as per guidance from the Federal Highway Administration.

Alternative Fuel Corridors are roads approved by the FHWA on which states may use federal funding to build alternative fuel infrastructure. Electricity is an alternative fuel, and Oregon has seven corridors approved for federally-funded EV charging: Interstates 5, 84, 82, and U.S. 26, 101, 20 and 97.

ODOT will nominate more corridors for federal approval over the next five years.

The remaining third of the money — $36 million — will be used to close EV infrastructure gaps beyond those seven corridors. More charging sites in rural and urban areas, underserved communities, and at apartment complexes will allow more Oregonians to charge where they live, work, and play.

Charging site details

The new charging sites installed on Oregon’s seven EV corridors will be spaced roughly every 50 miles, and each site will have at least four fast-chargers. Sites will be “future-proof” and ready to accept more, faster chargers as more Oregonians opt into EVs.

ODOT does not install, own or operate public EV chargers. The agency relies on partnerships with private companies to build the state’s charging network.

Near- and long-term charging plans

The $100 million investment will be focused on charging infrastructure for light-duty EVs like cars, SUVs and trucks because demand is high and the technology is mature.

ODOT isn’t ignoring other types of electric vehicles, however. Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (semi-trucks, delivery vans and buses) and micromobility (bicycles and scooters) are also going electric. The new charging sites will be able to serve some medium-duty vehicles, and ODOT will explore opportunities to add micromobility charging.

Additionally, the 2021 federal infrastructure bill set aside billions in competitive grants for additional EV charging infrastructure, and ODOT will seek federal funding for electric medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.

Funding for public EV charging is critical for Oregon’s electric future, but only one side of the equation.

“Money doesn’t surmount all barriers,” said Pietz. “Regulations and policies that benefit electrification play a role, too, and we rely on our partner agencies for help there. Couple that with our other work and investments in walking and rolling, bicycling, and congestion pricing, and we can move the needle on transportation emissions in a big way.”

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    1. ODOT does not install, own or operate public EV chargers. The agency relies on partnerships with private companies to build the state’s charging network.

  1. If EVs are the next New Coke, let the private sector vuild the charging stations. How about ODOT instead spends that money on pavement or left turn bays at rural intersections with crash history or rural interchanges (provided they don’t sink into the ground ala Wickiup Junction). EV charging stations are just another public handout to the wealthy.

          1. The electrical grid in many states in the West relies on a mix of power, including hydroelectric. The drought has curtailed power operations and it’s only going to worsen. Note how SoCal has rolling brownouts now.
            Now let’s add to electrical grid’s burden by pumping in millions of EVs. Tough to add new powerplants due to EPA regs. Switch to more power from coal? That’s not a good move from an enviro standard. Nuclear power? That’s a tough road to hoe.
            Best bumper sticker I ever saw was on the back of an EV in Eugene: This Vehicle Only Kills Salmon. 🤣

      1. Forcing something through government mandate lobbied by massive corporations are hardly the future. No one forced computers on the world, We adopted the tech of our own accord.

    1. One thing people don’t understand about the private sector is that, as good as it is with market efficiency and short-term profit, it is very short-sighted and risk-averse. It’s very poor at delivering optimal long-term gains, and holds the country back in that regard.

      Build more electric cars? No way. Not while there’s no infrastructure. Too much risk.

      Build more EV charging stations? No way. Not while there aren’t electric cars. Too much risk.

      But there are _trillions_ of dollars that stand to be made in these industries, waiting for someone to take it. Just no one will take the risk to jumpstart it.

      No one except the government, which can actually plan long-term. They operate at a loss virtually all the time to enable economic growth (e.g. perpetually losing money on a standing army to provide the stability companies need).

      So they step up and add incentives to push growth and drive prices down as the market emerges. For instance, as much as you might hate solar power, the unsubsidized price of solar power is through the floor and efficiency is up, and this is thanks to government intervention getting the process started. There’s zero chance it would be where it is today without the government. No one was willing to take the risk.

      And if and when the market hatches from its egg, the government can step out and let it run on its own short-term merits, which really are enough to get us pretty far.

      In the future, when you’re paying an unsubsidized $20 to drive 200 miles, you can thank the government for pushing programs like this.

      1. ABSOLUTE 100% BS. Point to a single government program that has made ANYTHING cheaper. Even your math is nonsensical. 200 miles for 20 dollars? But makes sense for government math. Until this child sniffing disaster president was installed nearly everyone was going 200 miles for less than 20 bucks. And if you want an electric car. Pay for it your dang self. Why should people who can’t afford one pay for you to buy something to save you money? What a scam. Taking from the poor to give to the rich. How very progressive.

        1. Oil companies have enjoyed government subsidies for years. So have farmers, to help stabilize food prices and keep the farms solvent….current inflation notwithstanding.

        2. Yeah, that was bad off-the-cuff math on my part–I didn’t actually look it up. (I’m paying just over $20 for 200 miles right now.) Looking around, it seems more like $8 for electric for that distance.

          I already pointed to a government program that made something cheaper, which I assume you read. How about the tons of tech that’s been made cheaply available to the public by initial government investments in DARPA, NASA, and the military? How about how much cheaper goods are to ship with an interstate highway system that’s not made of mud?

          Did you know Elon Musk wants to end all electric car subsidies? The catch: he only wants that to happen if we also end all oil subsidies. And if that happens, you can pay for your own dang gas.

  2. HAHAHA. Pay up you poor low income chumps. Pay your taxes and registration fees. You get to fund “infrastructure ” so someone who can afford a brand new Tesla can save money on gasoline. It is about time you low income eaters pay your fair share. But remember. You’re saving the planet as that shiny new Tesla charges at your expense, child laborers mine rare earth minerals in Congo, and the Chinese rape the earth for the lithium in their batteries.

    1. And of course you wrote this comment with a piece of charcoal on the back of a note from your teacher because you don’t use any electronic device that requires rare earth minerals or lithium.

  3. Well it’s a good thing they don’t use real money just tax money for this kind of stuff. We will be so much better off for $100 million in EV charging stations we won’t be able to stand ourselves. After all $100 million for all five electric vehicles on the road at $56 thousand a pop will probably break a worlds record or something… I knew ODOT couldn’t wait to get their hands on that money that was suppose to help FIX our highway system. Won’t be nothing left but a pile of paper when it’s all said and done and the highways won’t be any better off…

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