ARDOT wants feedback on plan to build electric vehicle charging network

The Arkansas Department of Transportation (ArDOT), in collaboration with the Department of Energy and Environment, is accepting comments on a draft plan to install electric vehicle charging stations across the state.

Comments on the draft plan will be accepted through Tuesday (July 19). The final plan will be submitted to the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation by Aug. 1, according to a news release.

The draft Arkansas Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment Plan shows the proposed locations for new charging stations throughout Arkansas. Money to install the stations will come from the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

In February, the U.S. Departments of Transportation and Energy announced nearly $5 billion will be used to build a national electric vehicle charging network and that Arkansas is eligible to receive up to $54.12 million over five years for its network. The state’s draft plan shows Arkansas would receive $8 million of the funding in 2022.

The federal infrastructure law established the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program, which is expected to help states create a network of electric vehicle charging stations along designated Alternative Fuel Corridors, particularly along interstates. States are required to submit plans before they can receive the money.

Arkansas’ draft plan shows it would need to install 15 electric vehicle charging stations to meet the minimum requirements for the NEVI program. It requires a station every 50 miles along interstates and Alternative Fuel Corridors.

According to the draft plan, Arkansas would need more than $61.15 million to meet the program requirements. ArDOT expects 20% in non-federal matching funds would be provided by the charging station owners. ArDOT would retain 7% of NEVI program funds to administer the program each year.

The proposed stations would be built along interstates, except for one on U.S. Highway 412 near the Oklahoma border. The draft plan shows Highway 412, between Interstate 49 and Oklahoma border, is a nominated Alternative Fuel Corridor. Interstates 30, 40 and 49 comprise the existing Alternative Fuel Corridors.

According to the draft plan, the remaining 14 stations would be built along I-49, north of Interstate 40; I-40, Interstate 540 near Fort Smith, and I-49 south of Fort Smith; I-49 and Interstate 30 near Texarkana; I-30, southwest of Little Rock (2); I-40, northwest of Little Rock (2); Interstate 530, south of Little Rock to Pine Bluff; I-40, east of Little Rock (2); I-40, near West Memphis; I-55, from I-40 to the Missouri border (2); and Interstate 555 from I-55 to Jonesboro.

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