‘That Is Pathetic’: Dem Senator Rips Biden Official Over Sluggish Rollout Of Key EV Program

Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon grilled a Biden administration official over the sluggish progress of a program to build charging stations for electric vehicles (EV) during a Wednesday hearing.

The $7.5 billion program to construct the charging stations is part of the bipartisan infrastructure law, according to a White House fact sheet. Merkley pressed Federal Highway Administration Administrator Shailen Bhatt about progress on constructing charging stations during the hearing held by the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works.

“The infrastructure bill funded 500,000, as you put it, charging ports,” Merkley told Bhatt. “How many of those charging ports have been deployed?”



“Some of the Bipartisan Infrastructure funds, yes, so six states have deployed… funds,” Bhatt responded. “I’ll say it’s dozens of ports, so like, under 100.”

A total of eight charging stations have been built using funds from the infrastructure legislation President Joe Biden signed into law in November 2021, according to AutoWeek.

Merkley responded by asking Bhatt about figures cited by “Face the Nation” host Margaret Brennan in a May 26 interview with Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.

“I’ve heard only seven,” Merkley told Bhatt, who acknowledged the figure, prompting Merkley to respond, “That is pathetic.”

Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes a $7,500 tax credit for EVs, into law in August 2022 and has pushed for the adoption of EVs, including the imposition of strict regulations for light and medium vehicles and heavy-duty vehicles.

“You can’t really depend on an electric car if there isn’t a charging capability, and the fact that we passed this bill years ago and not one charging station has been built in my state, and only seven, as you put it, seven sites around the country, that is a vast administrative failure,” Merkley told Bhatt.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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