IN Electric-Vehicle Infrastructure Plan Open for Public Comment

The Indiana Department of Transportation wants Hoosiers to weigh in on the state's proposed electric vehicle charging network.

The state is investing more than $100 million dollars in the new, multiyear project, with funding from last year's federal bipartisan infrastructure law.

Scott Manning, deputy chief of staff of the department, said the feedback the state receives will help it fine-tune the plan.

"We're very interested in hearing from communities around the state about everything within the plan," Manning stated. "And how we can best leverage the federal funding that's available for EV charging infrastructure to really maximize the impact and the benefit for Hoosiers."

The department is accepting written public comments on the draft implementation plan until August 20, but Indiana must submit its initial plans to the federal government by next Monday for final approval.

Manning described the plan as a "living document" and said public comments filed after the federal submission can be implemented in future updates. The department hopes to receive approval on the draft EV charger infrastructure plan by the end of September.

A 2021 report by market analytics group McKinsey and Company found the bulk of the nation's current EV chargers are located in high-income, urban areas, which were the first to adopt electric vehicles.

Manning pointed out part of the goal of the public comment period is to ensure electric vehicle chargers are fairly distributed. He added the state also is weighing workforce training programs for disadvantaged communities, so they can reap the economic benefits of building and maintaining the EV network.

"So we really want to be all-encompassing when we talk about equity," Manning emphasized. "It's not just the location of the stations, but it's really being mindful of equity in really every component of the program."

The Biden administration has set a goal of constructing half a million new electric vehicle chargers along highway corridors and in communities across the country, which will cost roughly $7.5 billion.

By Jonah Chester