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Historic Legislation to Expand Wisconsin’s Electric Vehicle Infrastructure PDF Print E-mail
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Written by GOV Press Wisconsin   
Wednesday, 20 March 2024 10:23

ev-charging-stationWisconsin will soon have the infrastructure to support the increased demand for electric vehicles.


MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today signed historic legislation, Senate Bill 791 and Senate Bill 792, now 2023 Wisconsin Acts 121 and 122, respectively, enabling the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) to receive and administer more than $78 million in federal funds under President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) to bolster the state’s electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure.

tony-evers“We don’t have to choose between protecting our environment and natural resources or creating good-paying jobs and infrastructure to meet the needs of a 21st-Century economy—in Wisconsin, we’re doing both,” said Gov. Evers. “Expanding EV charging infrastructure is a critical part of our work to ensure Wisconsin is ready to compete and build the future we want for our kids—one that is cleaner, more sustainable, and more efficient. Thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we’re ready to get to work.”

“Thanks to Gov. Evers signing this critical legislation into law, Wisconsin will soon have the infrastructure to support the increased demand for electric vehicles,” said WisDOT Secretary Craig Thompson. “WisDOT is ready to activate the federal funding and help industry quickly build fast chargers across the state. Electric vehicle drivers in Wisconsin will soon be able to travel about 85 percent of our state highway system and never be more than 25 miles away from a charger.”

These two bills, together, will allow the state to make significant progress toward improving EV infrastructure, ensuring charging is quicker and easier and EV charging stations are available to support drivers across the state.

Gov. Evers signing Act 121 will effectively unlock more than $78 million in National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) funds available for Wisconsin over the next five years. Act 121 changes current law to allow businesses to offer EV chargers that sell electricity by the kilowatt hour, which is not only a major incentive for businesses to begin offering EV charging but also a requirement for states to receive funding through the federal NEVI program under the BIL. The NEVI program is designed to support the construction of fast public EV charging stations along major driving corridors that allow passenger EVs to recharge in less than an hour.

Act 122 creates a new EV infrastructure program at WisDOT, enabling the department to receive and administer the more than $78 million in NEVI funds. WisDOT will primarily use these funds to support businesses that want to offer EV charging near Wisconsin’s major highways.

ev-charging-stationsThe legislation being signed by Gov. Evers today largely mirrors provisions included in the governor’s 2023-25 biennial budget proposal, which Republicans in the Wisconsin State Legislature removed from the final budget. Had Republicans approved these policy changes during the budget process like the governor proposed, Wisconsin would be significantly further along in building stronger, more efficient EV infrastructure across the state.

Acts 121 and 122 also build on the Evers Administration’s previous efforts to build a strong clean energy economy, including establishing the Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change and prioritizing supporting hybrid-electric vehicles, electric vehicles, and related infrastructure as a key climate pollution reduction recommendation in the Task Force final report, as well as releasing the state’s first-ever Clean Energy Plan, which recommends accelerating the development of Wisconsin’s EV and EV charging station equipment manufacturing and supporting the transition to EVs statewide. According to a study commissioned by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Wisconsin has the potential to emerge as a worldwide player in the manufacturing of EVs and related equipment. For example, EV charging station manufacturer Ingeteam announced an expansion of its Milwaukee plant in May 2023, creating 100 new jobs.

Senate Bill 791, now 2023 Wisconsin Act 121:

  • Exempts an EV charging station that imposes fees by kilowatt-hour from regulation as a public utility;
  • Codifies how local and state governments can operate charging stations; and
  • Modifies tax treatment of electricity supplied for EVs.

Senate Bill 792, now 2023 Wisconsin Act 122:

  • Allows WisDOT to establish and administer an EV infrastructure program; and
  • Limits funding for the program to the three appropriations that would be created by the bill:
    • A transportation fund supported, continuing, sum certain appropriation to fund EV infrastructure projects. The bill would not, however, appropriate any expenditure authority in this new appropriation;
    • An all monies received, local appropriation to receive and expend matching funds from local governments for infrastructure projects; and
    • An all monies received, federal appropriation to fund EV infrastructure projects.
 
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