Oklahoma DOT Plans EV Charger Network Expansion

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is moving forward with the first phase of an effort to expand electric vehicle or EV infrastructure statewide.

 [Above photo by Oklahoma DOT]

The agency awarded more than $8 million in federal funds to Love’s Travel Stops, Francis Energy LLC, and Tesla Inc. to build 13 charging stations along Oklahoma interstates. Those three firms will also contribute a combined $7 million in private funding to construct those charging facilities. Through this public-private partnership, the private partners will design, build, operate, and maintain the charging stations and should have them open for business by 2025.

The agency said those stations will be within 50 miles of preexisting or planned sites in designated corridors, equipped with at least four charging ports capable of simultaneous 150 kilowatt (kW) or higher charging, accessible 24/7/365, and have broadband or cellular capability.

Once installed, these 13 stations will complete the EV charging corridors on I-35, I-40 and I-44 in Oklahoma, said Jared Schwennesen, multimodal division engineer for Oklahoma DOT.

“Range anxiety is a real concern for electric vehicle owners here in Oklahoma and nationwide,” he explained in a statement. “We believe this will be a major step toward cutting down on that anxiety and providing a reliable charging network across Oklahoma.”

The Oklahoma DOT noted that the federal money it has issued to build and support those EV charging stations comes from the $5 billion National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure or NEVI formula program, established by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or IIJA.

Other state departments of transportation across the country are engaged in similar efforts.

In March, the Virginia Department of Transportation allocated $11.3 million in federal funding to assist in the statewide construction of EV charging stations that would also help close existing alternative fuel corridor gaps along I-64, I-77, I-81, I-85, I-95, and I-295.

The Illinois Department of Transportation also recently released the first official notice of funding opportunity for round one of grants sponsored by NEVI program funding; grants that will provide up to $50 million for the construction of 46 charging stations across the state.

Other state DOT EV charging network initiatives include:

  • The California Department of Transportation – known as Caltrans – received some $63.7 million from the Federal Highway Administration to fix and install more than 1,000 chargers at 300 sites statewide.
  • The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation plans to repair or replace dozens of existing EV charging sites using a $5 million federal award. The agency also oversaw the completion and opening of Pennsylvania’s first federally-funded EV charging station in late December 2023 and is now making $20 million in NEVI funding available to build more new EV charging facilities.
  • The Ohio Department of Transportation also opened its very first NEVI-funded EV charging locale for operation in December 2023.
  • The New York State Department of Transportation is getting $13 million from FHWA to enhance the reliability of EV charging ports across the state.
  •  The Arizona Department of Transportation began seeking bids from private entities in January to build or upgrade EV charging stations along several interstate highways.
  • The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet broke ground on the first NEVI-funded EV fast charging station in the southeastern United States in February. The agency is currently seeking proposals to install up to 16 additional stations along interstates and parkways statewide using NEVI funding – all part of Kentucky’s longer-term effort to add up to 40 new fast charging stations by 2025.

Boy Scouts Join Tennessee DOT Litter Cleanup Campaign

The Nobody Trashes Tennessee litter prevention campaign operated by the Tennessee Department of Transportation has expanded its youth group partnerships with the addition of all six Boy Scouts of America councils in Tennessee to the program – allowing scouts the opportunity to earn a Nobody Trashes Tennessee or NTT patch.

[Above photo by the Tennessee DOT]

The Boy Scouts join Tennessee’s three Girl Scout councils, as well as additional youth groups, in offering the NTT patch, the agency noted.

“Boy Scouts are known for their commitment to community and partnering with Nobody Trashes Tennessee underscores their dedication to instilling values of environmental stewardship, civic responsibility, and leadership in young people,” said Brittany Morris of Tennessee DOT’s Beautification Office in a statement. “We are thrilled to have participation from all six councils representing the state.”

Boy Scouts of all ages have multiple ways to earn the patch by completing Nobody Trashes Tennessee educational worksheets and participating in litter cleanups in their community, coordinating their own cleanup in their neighborhood or school grounds, or through existing beautification and service projects.

For Boy Scouts ages 12 and older, the agency said its Adopt-A-Highway program is an opportunity to earn both a patch and a roadway recognition panel for committing to quarterly pickups. Patches are provided by Nobody Trashes Tennessee at no cost to the councils or individual scouts.

“Community service is woven into the fabric of our program,” added Casey Norwood, CEO and Scout executive of the Boy Scouts of America’s Chickasaw Council. “I believe the goals of the Nobody Trashes Tennessee campaign align well with our Scouts giving back to the communities in which we all love and live.”

State departments of transportation across the country are involved in a variety of litter cleanup and removal efforts. 

For example, the North Carolina Department of Transportation is gearing up for its annual “Spring Litter Sweep” event, to be held April 13-27 statewide.

The Spring Litter Sweep – one of NCDOT’s many roadside litter removal initiatives – engages local communities to tackle the issue of roadside litter. During the two-week period, residents are encouraged to participate in local efforts to help clean up North Carolina’s roadsides.

In addition to volunteers, NCDOT maintenance crews devote one week of their time picking up litter and collecting trash bags that are filled by volunteers, the agency noted.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation launched a new anti-litter webpage as part of a renewed statewide anti-littering campaign that kicked off in August 2023 – a “one-stop hub” that contains information about the state’s Adopt-a-Highway program, Mississippi litter statistics and resources, stormwater pollution information, anti-litter resources for school teachers, and much more.

On another front, to make roadway debris removal operations faster and safer, the South Carolina Department of Transportation started installing “lane blades” on select highway incident response vehicles in 2023.

And in April 2023, the Illinois Department of Transportation launched a new public outreach effort called “Think Before You Throw!” as part of its ongoing awareness campaign to reduce littering on state highways and roads.

That “Think Before You Throw!” initiative aims to reduce roadside litter along the state’s more than 150,000 miles of roads by raising awareness of the negative environment impact of trash, for both state residents and the nearly 100 million tourists who visit annually, the agency said.

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