$1.8 Million for Waco-area Electric Vehicle Chargers as Part of Statewide Network Plan | Local News
Next month, the Texas Department of Transportation will begin looking for companies interested in helping establish a statewide network of electric vehicle charging stations, and transportation officials in the Waco area will be asked to recommend sites in McLennan County.
The National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program has earmarked $407.8 million through 2026 for the Texas plan, which will partner with companies to pay 80% of the cost of charging infrastructure.
The state’s plan will ensure that all interstate highways have DC fast-charging stations at least every 50 miles. Other state highways would have stations every 70 miles, and 254 county seats would have charging stations.
Each connector would be capable of supporting at least 150 kilowatts, enough to boost a battery from 10% to 80% in 30 minutes, according to the Texas plan. That would give an electric vehicle an additional 120 to 200 miles of range.
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Federal approval of the state plan is expected by the end of the month, allowing TxDOT to move forward in October to issue solicitations for private partners.
During the program’s multi-year rollout, the state will work with regional metropolitan planning organizations to evaluate and award projects, Waco MPO Director Mukesh Kumar told the MPO board Thursday.
MPO Board Chairman Jim Holmes, who sits on the Waco City Council, said the process will depend on what companies are willing to participate.
“I think it’s great that we have a say in the destination,” Holmes said.
The state’s electric vehicle station plan shows DFO-based projects would begin within a few years, after interstate highways, designated as “electric alternative fuel corridors,” are built with stations. McLennan County could be eligible for $1.8 million from the program, according to the plan.
The plan, including interactive maps of existing and potential charging stations, is available at https://www.txdot.gov/projects/projects-studies/statewide/texas-electric-vehicle-planning-03-22-22. html.
The Waco area offers a handful of charging options, including a six-charger DC fast-charging station at the Bellmead Walmart on I-35, according to Chevrolet.com. A few hotels and car dealerships also offer limited electric vehicle charging options to their guests, and the Collin Street Bakery on I-35 in Bellmead offers Tesla Superchargers, designed specifically for Tesla vehicles.
Also at Thursday’s DFO meeting, the board received an update on other federal funding opportunities on the horizon.
The carbon reduction program is funded by the same Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act as the electric vehicle initiative and will provide DFO with $549,000 per year for projects over the next five years.
“It’s a very small amount of money, but when used for low-cost, high-impact programs, it could be very effective,” Kumar said.
Cities in McLennan County are invited to submit proposals to DFO for review and possible approval in January. The projects require a 20% counterpart from local governments.
Eligible projects would be judged on criteria such as reduced carbon emissions, equity, impact on future generations, link to land use and readiness.
DFO also this month requested $560,000 from the Federal Highway Administration’s Safe Streets and Roads for All program to develop a plan to identify and address traffic hazards in the area. Pricing is expected to be announced late this year or early next year, Kumar said.