Mississippi prepares for electric vehicle infrastructure build out

Published: Jan. 6, 2023 at 7:52 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Plug and charge rather than pumping gas... it’s an increasingly common sight.

”Two DC fast chargers to charge electric vehicles here on the I-55 corridor,” explained Tison Reno, Entergy Mississippi’s Products and Services Deployment Manager.

The chargers at Renaissance at Colony Park are a first for Entergy Mississippi that will serve as important research while they prepare for the future.

“Going to help us understand the charging pattern here on Mississippi soil,” noted Reno. “And that’s going to be very important. So it helps us to plan for these charges coming onto the grid. And again, the resiliency and the reliability that we plan for our entire grid currently, we can bring that to these charging stations as well.”

At the state level, Mississippi Department of Transportation Executive Director Brad White says the agency submitted a state plan that was approved by the Federal Highway Administration in September. But...

“We’re awaiting further guidance from the federal government as to what other items we would need to add into that and how to basically move forward to build out that plan,” noted White.

His hope is that while those details are being worked out, lawmakers will look at how to account for the lost revenue with the growth of EVs. See, there is a registration fee for hybrid and electric vehicles in Mississippi. But White points out that it doesn’t account for all those electric vehicles traveling through and even charging up here but registered in another state.

“They’re paying a local sales tax, and that’s it,” said White about those vehicles stopping to charge in the state. “And none of that money comes to the Department of Transportation to help pay for the wear and tear that they’re giving to our system.”

And that means... the highway fund takes a hit.

“I’m afraid that what that means is if it goes unaddressed,” he said. “Eventually, we’re gonna have a decaying transportation system with no reliable stream of revenue with which to pay for the needed improvements.”

At least one bill has already been filed this session that would impose a tax on any vehicle that charges at an alternative fuel station.

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