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Wednesday’s Headlines: Power Play Edition

12:04 AM EDT on September 28, 2022

The future?

The day started with a press release from the Biden administration telling us that New York State had (finally) qualified for our share of $1.5 billion to help build electric vehicle chargers across the country. (We were the last state to qualify.)

The White House statement mentioned New York’s "Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment Plan," so we started scratching our heads and googling. The plan is about as vague as a Times lede. All it basically says is that New York will place 60,000 charging stations along key corridors, with stations roughly 50 miles apart.

But there's a caveat: Some of the charging stations won't be on key highways at all — they're also allowed within one mile of key highways. And when you look at the map of the city region, that's when more questions popped into our head:

Chargers will be on these routes — and up to a mile away from them. Map: NYSERDA
Chargers will be on these routes — and up to a mile away from them. Map: NYSERDA
Chargers will be on these routes — and up to a mile away from them. Map: NYSERDA

So suddenly drivers are going to be exiting the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, the Long Island Expressway and Linden Boulevard in search of electrons? We peppered the state Department of Transportation with questions — "How can EV chargers be sited along I-278 through Brooklyn and Queens?" "How will the 'within one mile' caveat work?" "Has NYS DOT studied the environmental impact of cars exiting limited-access highways to find EV chargers" in such places as Sunset Park and the Bronx — but the DOT offered only a statement that didn't come close to any answers:

"The National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program Plan offers a general blueprint for the expansion of publicly accessible Direct Current Fast Charging stations along Federal Highway Administration- designated EV corridors. Specific opportunities and details will be developed as the process moves forward and will be subject to all applicable state and federal environmental reviews and regulations."

The Commercial Observer also covered (albeit less critically as our effort). For some reason, the outlet quoted Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg without apparent irony: “America led the original automotive revolution in the last century, and, today, thanks to the historic resources in the president’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we’re poised to lead in the 21st century with electric vehicles." Ugh! Didn't we learn anything from the "original automotive revolution"?!

In other news from an epically slow day on the livable streets beat:

    • A delivery worker was stabbed by a crook trying to steal his e-bike (NYDN, NY Post). The Post added a follow-up interview with the victim that missed the point — it didn't even mention how many delivery workers have been assaulted and robbed to that well-paid editors can get their burgers.
    • Two drivers allegedly suffered medical episodes and crashed their cars in Queens. (amNY)
    • Been suffering with long subway wait times? Well, enter the contest! (amNY)
    • Take that, Atlantic! E-bikes are a pure joy. (Outside)

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