Wyoming has decided to hold off on implementing its National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure plan after learning more about the details of the program, state lawmakers heard last month.
“We made the decision to pull back the reins and not do anything at this point until some clarity happens,” Wyoming Department of Transportation director Darin Westby told the Joint Transportation, Highway and Military Affairs Committee during a meeting in May.
WYDOT had already received approval from the federal government to install seven electric vehicle charging stations along interstate corridors in Wyoming, Westby said, and the agency’s request for proposals from contractors interested in building the charging stations was “ready to go out the door.”
But then WYDOT did “further diligence on the actual (NEVI) agreement” and learned that Wyoming might be “on the hook to pay the federal government back on the construction costs” for the charging stations if the contractor decides to abandon the project after five years, he said.
The five-year mark is when ownership of the charging station transfers over to the contractor, Westby explained, but “if, at the end of five years, the contractor says, ‘Yeah, I’m not interested in carrying this forward, please come and remove those from my property,’ we would have to do that and pay back the federal government what those dollars were.”
The problem is compounded by “market research” that shows it would take “almost 20 years” for the charging stations to “pencil out” for a private business, he added.
“So … we are not going to release the RFP at this point,” Westby said. “We pulled back and said, ‘Let’s pause.’”
If, in the future, WYDOT finds a “way to lessen the risk profile” for the NEVI plan, Westby said “we’re more than willing to put that RFP on the street.”
Read more about the state’s NEVI plan here.