The electric vehicle infrastructure in Mississippi will soon be expanding

Published: May. 6, 2022 at 7:06 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - You may have noticed electric vehicle charging stations scattered around the area. But there aren’t nearly as many in Mississippi compared to some other locations.

Construction is already happening for the Tesla location in Brandon. We’ve now learned that site anticipates serving four states and will cover sales, delivery and service.

The anticipated opening of that location is late July with the Pearl location closing when the Brandon site opens.

“They will have a small showroom floor and a lot with a few vehicles on it and a repair center type thing,” explained Brandon Mayor Butch Lee.

But as it turns out, Lee says his conversations about the electric vehicle infrastructure are more common than you might think.

“I think any mayor that’s along the interstate system has been part of this conversation for at least 18 to 24 months,” said Lee. “This is nothing new. It’s really somewhat of an old conversation. And it’s not a matter of if. It’s a matter of when. And that’s it in a nutshell. "

And it’s not all theoretical. MDOT’s Executive Director Brad White explains there’s a designated pot of money for building out a more robust electric vehicle infrastructure in Mississippi.

“Part of the last reauthorization of the Federal Highway Administration had a component in it that would give Mississippi about $50 million over the next five years with which were to install electric vehicle charging stations around the state,” described White. “We expect these to primarily be on the seven major interstates around the state. And we’re still waiting on all our final guidelines, know exactly what that’s going to look like. But we’ll have a plan put together by the end of summer.”

All the major auto brands have announced their plans to start making or expanding electric vehicles in their lineups.

“Where that’s important for us is it will have a direct impact on the amount of fuel tax that is collected, because that’s primarily where we get our money with which to maintain and build the roads and bridges around the state,” added White.

So, it’s conversation White knows MDOT and the legislature will be forced to tackle in the years to come.

“We just have to have that meaningful conversation about how do we best protect the investment of the taxpayers moving forward with this changing world that we have,” explained White.

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