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Editorial: 'Equity' short circuits EV charging station construction

Las Vegas Review-Journal, Las Vegas Review-Journal on

Published in Automotive News

Nothing is more inefficient than the government working at cross purposes. Just look at the Biden administration’s attempts to build charging stations for electric vehicles.

Since coming into office, President Joe Biden has insisted on micromanaging the auto industry to push consumers toward EVs as a means of fighting climate change. Put aside the fact that such a move will do little to lower temperatures. EVs have drawbacks. Most are expensive, even with handouts. Charging takes more time than filling up with gasoline. The network of charging stations pales in comparison to the number of gasoline stations. “Range-anxiety” is a real and understandable concern.

In 2021, the White House committed to building 500,000 EV charging stations by 2030. (A question for another day: How did the 200,000 retail gas stations in the United States spring up without federal largesse?) If global warming were an existential crisis, one would expect Biden officials to do everything possible to reach their goal.

The opposite is true. As The Washington Free Beacon reported recently, the Biden administration has only built seven charging stations. Seven.

It’s not a funding issue. Biden and his allies diverted money for the task as part of the massive $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Act. Nor are charging stations a new technology or difficult to build.

The problem, the Free Beacon found, is Biden’s insistence on placating progressives by emphasizing diversity, equity and inclusion over actual progress. “These requirements are screwing everything up,” a senior Department of Transportation staffer told the Free Beacon. “It’s all a mess.”

 

For instance, an executive order from Biden requires that 40% of all spending benefit “underserved communities.” The White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council hovers overhead, making sure the Department of Transportation obeys this dictate.

The result is a quagmire for any company applying to build these charging stations. To be considered “highly qualified,” it must “promote local inclusive economic development and entrepreneurship such as the use of minority-owned businesses,” according to internal memos obtained by the Free Beacon.

That can include helping train “people in good-paying jobs or registered apprenticeships, with a focus on women, people of color and others that are underrepresented in infrastructure jobs.”

In other words, companies are jumping through hoops that have nothing to do with EV charging stations. The administration’s DEI mandates also influence “more than 500 federal initiatives across 19 agencies,” the Free Beacon noted.

The result is entirely predictable: a federal bureaucracy more intent on progressive preening than actually accomplishing anything.


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