Biden Spends $7.5 Billion for 7 EV Charging Stations

Biden’s $7.5 billion EV charging stations program, which promised half a million installations, still has over 499,990 to go after three years. President Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in November 2021, allocating $7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging, of which $5 billion is dedicated to building a network of chargers along major highways, called the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program. Just seven electric-vehicle charging stations have begun operating with that $5-billion funding, marking “pathetic” progress, as automakers and others indicate that drastically expanding EV-charging stations is crucial to the wide deployment of electric vehicles, which is part of Biden’s climate change program. The seven EV-charging stations deployed to date consist of a few dozen total charging ports.

The White House goal is to grow the nationwide network of chargers to 500,000 ports, including high-speed chargers — no more than 50 miles apart — on the nation’s busiest highways. According to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, 27 states have issued commercial requests to build charging stations and she expected about 1,000 EV-charging stations in public places to be operational by year-end from the federal government program. She added that some areas where charging stations are to be deployed do not yet have electricity.

According to a Department of Transportation, “Since the President took office, the number of publicly available charging ports has grown by over 90 percent, with more than 184,000 publicly-available EV charging ports operational today and 1,000 more coming online each week.” “There are currently projects underway in partnership with states and local grantees for 14,000 federally-funded EV charging ports across the country.”

What’s Really Going On

According to internal memos from the Department of Transportation obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, as well as interviews with those who are responsible for overseeing the implementation of the electric vehicle charging station project, the delay is in large part due to the White House’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. President Joe Biden has reportedly expressed frustration with the pace at which his infrastructure projects are getting built, but he should look at his executive orders since becoming President, some of which have contributed to the delays in project progress.

Shortly after taking office, the president signed an executive order mandating that the beneficiaries of 40 percent of all federal climate and environmental programs should come from “underserved communities.” The order also established the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council, which monitors agencies such as the Department of Transportation to ensure the “voices, perspectives, and lived realities of communities with environmental justice concerns are heard in the White House and reflected in federal policies, investments, and decisions.”  One of the areas determined to be “low income” and therefore worthy of federal funding for EV charging is Martha’s Vineyard, home to celebrities and such luminaries as former president Barack Obama.

In order to qualify for a grant, applicants must “demonstrate how meaningful public involvement, inclusive of disadvantaged communities, will occur throughout a project’s life cycle.” According to the Department of Transportation, “public involvement” should involve “intentional outreach to underserved communities.” That outreach, the Department of Transportation states, can take the form of “games and contests,” “visual preference surveys,” or “neighborhood block parties” so long as the grant recipient provides “multilingual staff or interpreters to interact with community members who use languages other than English.”

These Biden-administration “public involvement” requirements serve to slow down construction. They open builders up to lawsuits by members of the community where an electric vehicle charging station is set to be constructed. Applicants for federal funding must in many cases submit reports that can total hundreds of pages about how they will pursue “equity” every step along the way, which leads to delays and increases costs throughout the construction process. “Highly Qualified” applications must “promote local inclusive economic development and entrepreneurship such as the use of minority-owned businesses” that can take the form of funding “support services to help train, place, and retain people in good-paying jobs or registered apprenticeships, with a focus on women, people of color, and others that are underrepresented in infrastructure jobs.” A firm’s “workplace culture” should “promote the entry and retention of underrepresented populations.”

“These onerous diversity, equity, and inclusion requirements handcuff professionals from making proper evaluations and prevent the government/public from funding the most deserving projects, instead funneling money towards less qualified applicants,” said one high level Department of Transportation official. Those regulations are visible throughout more than 500 federal initiatives across 19 agencies, according to the White House’s chief environmental justice officer Jalonne White-Newsome.

The first electric vehicle charging station funded by the bipartisan infrastructure bill opened last December in a small Ohio town, and no one used the station within the first hours of its opening. Ohio has some of the lowest electric vehicle adoption in the country, with just 0.33 percent of all vehicles in the state operating on battery power. The propensity for the local population to actually use an electric vehicle charging station may be an afterthought for the Biden administration. The administration’s regulations seem to serve as a way to pay off Democratic constituencies—in the form of minority-focused contracting and hiring—at the expense of completing any projects in a timely or cost-effective manner. Additionally, requirements that reams of paperwork be presented to qualify boosts business for paper-writers and researchers while diluting the dollars available to go into the ground building charging stations.


The paucity of EV charging stations built in three years under Biden’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program shows how conflicting the various regulations and executive orders are under the Biden administration. Diversity, equity and inclusion requirements are holding up progress, but President Biden apparently is incapable of understanding that given his frustrations with the pace of the program. The EV charging program has turned into a debacle, funded by billions of dollars from taxpayers, and search for blame brings to mind the famous Pogo cartoon quote: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”  The Biden administration claims that a lot of charging stations will be built by the end of the year, but time will tell.

*This article was adapted from content originally published by the Institute for Energy Research.

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