ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The first in a series of electric vehicle charging stations that will be paid for with state and federal infrastructure money will be installed in Socorro, one of the few populated areas along a major interstate that spans New Mexico, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said Thursday.
The first-term Democrat used her visit to the central New Mexico community to tout efforts to fund infrastructure projects as she seeks reelection. She also planned stops in Clovis and Roswell over the coming days.
She said $10 million secured through the legislative process will be spent to develop the charging network. Another $38 million in federal funding will bolster the work as state officials aim to have charging stations every 50 miles (80 kilometers) along New Mexico’s interstates.
“New Mexico has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make truly transformative investments in communities large and small around our state,” the governor said.
The Biden administration earlier this year announced the availability of $5 billion for states over five years to help create seamless electric vehicle travel from coast to coast. The money was far less than the $15 billion that Biden had envisioned to fulfill a campaign promise of 500,000 charging stations by 2030.
New Mexico regulators in May adopted more stringent motor vehicle emissions standards that supporters say will boost the number of electric vehicles available for sale in the state. Lujan Grisham has called for more electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles to be sold as part of her push against climate change.
However, access to charging stations has been an issue for consumers and utility executives are still working on plans to ensure they have enough capacity to meet future electricity demands as more solar and battery storage facilities are brought online to replace coal-fired power plants.
The new charging station in Socorro will be installed on city property near the historic plaza and not far from the New Mexico Tech campus. Officials said it will be available for use in the next few weeks.
Michael Jackson, the associate vice president of academic affairs at Tech, said building out an alternative fuel corridor will expand access and reliability for those who have electric vehicles and local economies like the one in Socorro can benefit by travelers stopping for a charge.