The City of Riverton plans to sponsor a federal grant application for electric vehicle charging stations in town, staff said this week.
The idea came from Patrick Lawson with Wild West Electric Vehicles, who asked the city to sponsor the application to the national Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Grant Program, public works director Brian Eggleston told the Riverton City Council during a regular meeting Tuesday.
The program “provides money for community and corridor charging facilities (for) the traveling public moving through the city,” Eggleston said, explaining that the city would lease space to Wild West EV to construct and operate the charging stations.
City administrator Kyle Butterfield said staff would be “very careful” to create a lease agreement that is “equitable and fair,” given that the situation involves a “public entity … partnering with private enterprise” on a project that would “directly and positively impact” city infrastructure.
“Those are thing that we are cognizant of and paying attention to,” Butterfield said.
Lawson originally proposed installing the stations at Central Wyoming Regional Airport, where he would like to establish an electric vehicle rental business, Eggleston said, but “we also identified another location (at) the City Hall parking lot,” where there could be “rapid chargers which would allow people to maybe stop in, get a bite to eat, plug their car in, and keep on going.”
Mayor Tim Hancock pointed out that local residents aren’t likely to use the charging stations, because “if you have an electric vehicle and you live in Riverton, you’re going to charge it at your home or place of work.”
Instead, he said, “this would be something that would benefit tourists (and) people that are coming through Riverton.”
“The time that it takes to charge is just about a good amount of time to go get some food,” Hancock said. “(So) I think it can be really beneficial to be able to add into the infrastructure that we have.”
If the grant application is approved, Eggleston said the city would fund the project up front and then receive a federal reimbursement.
“There is nothing in the budget to support that now,” he said. “(So) if we were successful … we would have to revisit that issue.”
He noted that Wild West EV has offered to provide the required matching money for the project.
The grant application is due next week, Eggleston said, calling the $350 million program “very competitive” – though he added that it prioritizes “rural areas, minority-owned business, (and) Tribally owned businesses, and Wild West EV does qualify for that.”
“We’ll submit it, (and) we’ll see where we fall,” Eggleston said.
For more information call the City of Riverton at 856-2227.