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Washington state gets $1 billion boost for roadwork, including EV infrastructure

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The Federal Highway Administration is giving the Washington State Department of Transportation $1.08 billion in "formula funding" to pay for upgrades to state highways, bridges, and new EV charging infrastructure — the latest in a series of new funding for charging and EV infrastructure in the state.

“Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, more funding is on its way to Northwest Washington to create more jobs and build a cleaner, greener, safer and more accessible transportation system,” Rep. Rick Larsen said in a statement. “This historic investment will enable local communities to get more shovels in the ground and put people to work to reduce congestion and pollution, improve safety, and keep people and the economy moving.”

RELATED: Getting a $7,500 tax credit for an electric car will soon get a lot easier

Rep. Larsen, a Democrat, represents Washington's Congressional District 2 (Bellingham, Whidbey Island, San Juan Islands) and sits on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

The money is coming from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Most of the funding, $934.4 million, is going to projects on state highways. Just over $130 million is for bridges.

While it's not the largest share of the funding, Washington is also getting $15.1 million to fund new EV charging infrastructure. That's just the latest chunk of a total of $71 million slated to fund EV projects in Washington state, according to the White House.

The state is going to need the new EV stations, too. Demand and electric vehicle sales have been on the rise in Washington state. Currently, about 1 out of 6 cars on state roads are EVs. That's double the number from a couple years ago. The state is still shy of its overall goal to have about a third of car sales be for EVs by 2026, and to require that all new cars have zero emissions by 2035.

Most of the new EVs are being sold to residents of San Juan County (25%) and King County (23%). Washington ranks third in the U.S. for EV sales (behind California and Washington, D.C.).

Despite the rise in EVs, taking a road trip across Washington state requires some planning. KUOW's John Ryan took a summer trek across the state, and documented the ups and downs of navigating a sparse network of charging stations. Ryan concluded that EV roadtrips come with both range anxiety as well as charger anxiety.

With new funding, such anxieties could soon run out of gas. The new money from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is not the only funding, or effort, pouring into Washington. The state's Department of Ecology has targeted $16 million toward local governments, ports, and tribes to convert their fleets to EV vehicles and for charging stations. The money comes from a settlement agreement with Volkswagen, and Ecology aims to fund more EV projects.

In the private market, a national coalition has emerged among major automakers (BMW, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, and Stellantis). Together. The coalition is adding 30,000 fast chargers in North America.

Washington's latest federal EV money is part of a larger $7.5 billion effort to build charging infrastructure across the United States.

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