PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon is getting a jolt to its plan to make electric vehicle chargers available throughout the state.
The state’s plan to add hundreds of chargers across Oregon highways, such as I-5, I-84 and Hwy 97, was approved by the federal government ahead of schedule on Wednesday.
They won’t be able to break ground until next year, but ODOT tells KOIN 6 News it’s where those chargers will be installed that will make a big difference. The goal is to make electric vehicle chargers available every 50 miles along thoroughfares.
It’s part of a $100 million program featuring state and federal money. But ODOT knows that currently, most EV owners are homeowners.
To spread out EV adoption, the agency will have a grant program focusing on low-income neighborhoods, rural areas, apartment buildings and storefronts in hopes to make charging EVs easier for people who are leasing their homes.
“We’re trying to address a little bit of this chicken and the egg. What comes first? Do people have the cars or is the charging available? We know that charging is key to people gaining confidence that an electric vehicle is something that can work for them,” said Amanda Pietz, an administrator at ODOT.
ODOT is planning to throw $36 million towards the project, while another $65 million will come from the federal government over the next five years — $52 million from federal grants, 20% matching finds from local governments. With the approval on Wednesday, almost $20 million more is now available for the state from the Federal Infrastructure Act.
This will take the agency around seven or eight years to complete.