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4 dead as severe storms hit Houston, TX; Election Protection Program eases access to voting information; surge in solar installations eases energy costs for Missourians; IN makes a splash for Safe Boating Week.

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The Supreme Court rules funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is okay, election deniers hold key voting oversight positions in swing states, and North Carolina lawmakers vote to ban people from wearing masks in public.

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Americans are buying up rubber ducks ahead of Memorial Day, Nebraskans who want residential solar have a new lifeline, seven community colleges are working to provide students with a better experience, and Mississippi's "Big Muddy" gets restoration help.

WI poised to hit fast track in adding EV charging stations

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Thursday, March 14, 2024   

Wisconsin has lagged behind neighboring states in adding electric vehicle charging stations, but the Badger State is about to take a big leap forward in accessing federal funds to boost its network.

The Legislature has sent Gov. Tony Evers a bill allowing private businesses to sell the electricity by hosting units on their properties, rather than only utilities having the option. Wisconsin can now leverage $78 million from a key federal program.

Beata Wierzba, government affairs director for the group RENEW Wisconsin, said the stations will no longer be clustered in certain areas, hopefully reducing "range anxiety" in the EV movement.

"Currently, you have a few charging companies like Tesla and so on that have charging stations," Wierzba acknowledged. "But they will put them where the market is to support them, not necessarily where people want to go."

She hoped it will spur more EV adoption and in the long run, reduce transportation emissions. The federal funds cover up to 80% of costs associated with installing the units. According to industry tracking originations, Wisconsin has about 900 charging stations, putting it behind Minnesota, Michigan and Illinois.

Wierzba observed opening the door to federal aid means drivers might see more "fast charging" options during longer trips and they could access them at familiar sites.

"It could be a gas station, it could be a grocery store, or a restaurant," Wierzba outlined.

State transportation officials have been mapping out a broader network strategy, and the federal component involves adding charging stations every 50 miles along highways. Evers is expected to sign the bill.


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