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The Biden administration has pledged to support the installation of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers across the country by 2030 as part of a domestic push to shift away from gas-powered vehicles. On June 9, the Federal Highway Administration announced a proposed rule for the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program that requires contractors to use government-registered apprentices and the controversial union-backed Electric Vehicle Industry Training Program.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law in 2021, includes $7.5 billion for EV charging stations to aid in that effort, which includes $5 billion over five years to install EV chargers mostly along interstate highways.

ABC will provide analysis and information to its members and industry and government stakeholders regarding language on pages 36 and 70 of the notice of proposed rulemaking and will submit comments to the FHWA. If you perform EV charging station work currently, or would like to get into this marketplace, please reach out to Michael Altman and Ben Brubeck to participate in ABC’s investigation into the impact of the proposed rule. This may also be an opportunity for ABC chapters and their workforce development partners to offer registered apprenticeship programs specific to electrical trades.

In response to a Nov. 29, 2021, request for information on the Development of Guidance for Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure, ABC submitted comments to the FHWA on behalf of member contractors who install and perform work related to EV charging stations and other alternative clean energy fuel stations on Jan. 28. ABC said needlessly excluding all contractors and workers who do not participate in the EVITP and/or government-registered apprenticeship programs from building EV charging station and alternative fuel projects could be problematic. ABC urged regulators to avoid any language or additional regulatory actions that might limit opportunities for experienced and quality contractors and skilled construction workers that already build EV charging stations and related alternative fuel infrastructure from winning contracts. ABC expressed concerns that future guidance and regulations might needlessly increase costs, reduce competition from contractors and artificially shrink the pool of qualified construction labor needed to build EV charging stations and alternative clean energy projects, undermining the Biden administration’s clean energy goals.

The proposed rule confirms ABC’s concerns with the 2021 proposal, which is part of a broader effort by the Biden administration to steer clean energy work to unionized contractors and labor. ABC member contractors comprise a key segment of the construction industry’s EV contracting base. Failing to encourage an inclusive policy will ultimately undermine the Biden administration’s goal of increasing the number of EV charging stations across America from 48,000 to 500,000 by 2030 and building America’s new clean energy infrastructure.

The June 9 proposed rule also provides states guidance on applying for their share of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program. States must submit an EV Infrastructure Deployment Plan to a new federal Joint Office of Energy and Transportation that describes how a state intends to use the funding by Aug. 1, 2022. States must demonstrate compliance with forthcoming FHWA guidelines.