I-94 “EV Ready” | WI Ranks 5th for Home Energy Efficiency | Push Continues for Flexible Financing, Rural Broadband

Interstate 94 Designated as “EV Ready”

Drivers traveling on Interstate 94 in Wisconsin have a visual reminder that electric charging stations are readily available, thanks to new signage that went up last month. I-94 is one of several such routes in the state, but the first to be marked as “EV Ready.”

“EV Ready means along the 110-mile corridor, there’s a DC fast-charging station every 50 miles.

Transportation Secretary-designee Craig Thompson said the signs are meant for both electric vehicle drivers and to help boost confidence and awareness for those who are considering buying one.

“Easy access to fuel is critical to expanding electric vehicles from local use to cross-country travel for private and corporate use,” Thompson said.

Electric vehicles make up a small but growing share of the nation’s automobiles. As of 2019, there were 4,468 electric vehicles registered in Wisconsin, up 50 percent from 2018. Bloomberg predicts that by 2040, half of all new car sales will be electric vehicles.

Report: Wisconsin Ranks Fifth for Home Energy Efficiency

In recognition of National Energy Awareness Month, the personal-finance website WalletHub this week released its report on 2020’s Most & Least Energy-Efficient States. Wisconsin ranks fifth for home energy efficiency. WalletHub says home energy efficiency is particularly important this year, as home consumption is increasing due to the pandemic.

According to the report, the average American household spends at least $2,000 per year on utilities and another $2,094 on motor fuel and oil.

The Badger State ranked 12th in vehicle-fuel efficiency, and 33rd in transportation efficiency.

Push Continues for Flexible Financing, Rural Broadband

Governor Tony Evers, along with the Public Service Commission (PSC) and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), announced six communities selected for the new Broadband Connectors Pilot program. The program will provide technical assistance to help rural communities apply for federal, state, and private-sector broadband expansion funds. The state received 96 applications from local governments seeking assistance through the program.

“Such a tremendous response demonstrates that there is a strong desire to apply for state and federal broadband funding, but the challenge for many communities is a lack of resources to participate,” said Rebecca Cameron Valcq, chairperson of the PSC. “This pilot program shows promise to push through that barrier, allowing communities to take steps to connect their residents more quickly.”

The selected communities include:

  • Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
  • Ho-Chunk Nation
  • School District of Owen-Withee
  • Town of Cross
  • St. Croix County
  • Fond du Lac County

Pilot program participants were selected based on the following criteria: the community has taken some initial steps toward broadband expansion; diverse community partners have committed to working together on broadband expansion; the community has a clear vision for the technical assistance it is seeking; and the community seeks to expand broadband in an underserved or unserved area.