US lawmakers urge pooling funds for broadband, EV charging stations

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WASHINGTON: A group of 10 US House Democrats on Friday asked President Joe Biden’s administration to build electric vehicle charging stations along with broadband internet infrastructure under the $1 trillion infrastructure bill passed in November 2021.

As part of that measure, Congress has allocated $42.45 billion in grants to expand broadband, including building fiber optic or other networks. It also included $5 billion for EV charging.

The lawmakers led by Representatives Doris Matsui and Anna Eshoo urged officials to coordinate broadband and EV charging infrastructure efforts to encourage “co-location” of EV and broadband, especially in low-service areas.

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“This approach can address multiple national priorities at once and avoid duplication of efforts,” the lawmakers wrote.

The Biden government has set a goal of installing 500,000 chargers by 2030 to ensure access to electric vehicles.

The Transportation Department’s EV charging rules require EV charging stations to have at least four ports that can quickly charge four EVs simultaneously and include data standards that allow third-party apps to provide real-time charging status information.

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The lawmakers cited the EV’s “charging network connectivity requirements” to advocate for locating both EV charging and broadband.

Many rural and poorer areas lack charging stations for electric cars and fast broadband access. “This approach can address multiple national priorities at once and avoid duplication of efforts,” the lawmakers wrote.

Congress last year approved $14.2 billion in grants for low-income families to use for Internet subscriptions. More than 13 million households participate.

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Earlier this week, the Department of Transportation announced that all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have submitted plans to deploy EV infrastructure. The government hopes to approve the state plans by September 30.

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