Senators take highway official to task over EV chargers

By Mike Lee | 06/06/2024 06:44 AM EDT

Federal Highway Administration head Shailen Bhatt told lawmakers the Biden administration would meet its targets.

Shailen Bhatt.

Federal Highway Administration head Shailen Bhatt appearing Wednesday on Capitol Hill. Francis Chung/POLITICO

The Biden administration’s $7.5 billion plan to build a network of electric vehicle chargers is still moving slowly, although the pace of construction is expected to improve soon, a senior administration official said Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

To date, dozens of charging ports have been installed in six states under the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure initiative (NEVI) from the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure law, Federal Highway Administration head Shailen Bhatt said.

That drew criticism from members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, who said they’re also concerned about progress on other parts of the infrastructure law.

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“It is a big deal because you can’t really depend upon an electric car if there’s not a charging capability, and the fact that we passed this bill years ago and not one charging station has been built in my state,” Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) said during a hearing.

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