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SDDOT hopes for public input in EV Fast Charging Plan meetings

It won’t be long until there’s a whole new generation of electric vehicles hitting the road....
It won’t be long until there’s a whole new generation of electric vehicles hitting the road. But before that happens, there needs to be new infrastructure in place to support them.(Dakota News Now)
Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 9:47 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - It won’t be long until there’s a whole new generation of electric vehicles hitting the road. But before that happens, there needs to be new infrastructure in place to support them. That’s why the South Dakota Department of Transportation is looking to start a series of public meetings this week.

The South Dakota DOT is holding two public meetings this week to discuss the state’s “Electric Vehicle Fast Charging Plan.” While still in the early stages of the planning, the department is looking to the public for input on what they’d like to see with the future of electric vehicles in South Dakota.

“We get some great opportunities, and we’re really trying to get the public engaged early on this as we’re starting to develop the plan. We want input, we want the outside ideas on how this could or should look in South Dakota.” SDDOT Planning & Engineering Division Director Michael Behm said.

These chargers would be a bit different than most already set up in the state, allowing for faster charging along some of the state’s busiest roadways.

“These are a little bit different, they’re DC fast charge. But the implementation could grow in the future depending in the number of electric vehicles that we see in the state.” Behm said.

All of this stemming from the Biden administration’s Infrastructure and Jobs Act.

“We have chance here to make a fundamental turn towards renewable energy. Electric vehicles, and not just electric vehicles but across the board.” President Biden said to reporters on Monday.

The South Dakota DOT knows though that much of the work will need to be done along the state’s interstates, allowing greater access to people traveling through the area.

“The focus will really be on I-90 and I-29. Those two corridors see the most throughput, and really see the most longer distance travel that does occur in South Dakota. So those are propably the two highest, along with I-229 in Sioux Falls.” Behm said.

But the department says these meeting are more than procedural, noting that it’s important to get outside ideas. That also includes states that have already made significant progress in their plans.

“The beauty of the process right now through the development of the plan, is each state’s required to develop a plan in and of itself. So every state is going through the same process, we’re not alone in South Dakota. So it’s given us an opportunity to kind of leverage from other states, and hopefully learn as we go through.” Behm said.

The first public meeting is Tuesday in Rapid City. The other is Wednesday at the University Center in Sioux Falls. Both meetings are from 5:00 to 6:30. There’s also a virtual meeting for people unable to attend. More information about the state’s plan can be found here.

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