Feds approve Wyoming’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Plan

Cali O'Hare file photo

STATEWIDE — The Federal Highway Administration announced Tuesday that Wyoming’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure plan has been approved and Fiscal Year 2022 funding has been released.

The state will now begin the process as outlined in the plan for year one of the program, which will involve a request for proposal process for the installation of charging stations within the towns of Pine Bluffs, Laramie, Wheatland, Douglas, Buffalo, Sheridan, and Sundance. The exact locations of these chargers will be determined as part of the RFP process.

While the overall plan was approved, the FHWA denied eight of the state’s key exception requests. Wyoming was seeking a series of 11 exceptions to federal requirements that the stations be placed every 50 miles and a maximum of one mile from an interstate exit.

The only approved exception request for the 50 mile requirement was the section of Interstate 90 between Gillette and Buffalo, while two 1-mile exceptions were granted for existing charging stations in Rawlins and Cheyenne.

“The decision to make these exception requests was not made lightly, but was instead in response to public feedback, limited EV adoption rates, increasing EV range capabilities and the long distances between Wyoming’s population centers,” said Luke Reiner, Wyoming Department of Transportation director. “Wyoming will continue to work with the FHWA and other partners to try to find a common sense solution for the denied exception requests to ensure the stations are economically viable and a good use of taxpayer resources.”

The exception requests were part of an overall strategy to use NEVI funding to facilitate travel to popular tourist destinations. Tourism is the state’s second-largest industry, and major tourism destinations like Yellowstone National Park are not close to an interstate.

The state will compile and release a NEVI Plan annually, with additional opportunities to make exception requests to the station spacing requirements.

The federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) allocated funding through the NEVI program for electric vehicle charging infrastructure along key corridors throughout the nation. Wyoming is allocated almost $24 million over five years for EV charging infrastructure along its federally-designated alternative fuel corridors: I-80, I-25 and I-90.

Once the Federal Government has certified the EV infrastructure build-out along the interstates, any remaining funding can be spent in areas outside of the interstates. No state funding will be used to install, operate or maintain the NEVI EV chargers.

For more information or to view the plan, visit: https://www.dot.state.wy.us/home/planning_projects/zero-emission-vehicles/national-electric-vehicle-infrastructure-(nevi)-program.html

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