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Electric Highway improvements celebrated in Oregon

Oregon has hit a new milestone, improving the state's "electric highway." Some upgrades to EV charging stations are complete in time for the summer travel season.

WOODBURN, Ore. — Along the West Coast Electric Highway, an upgraded electric vehicle (EV) fast charging station at the Woodburn Transit Center got a lot of love this week.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown handled the plug-in demonstration to celebrate the improvements to this and 43 other electric vehicle charging stations across the state, making them faster and able to handle any type of EV automobile and electric bicycles as well. Forty-four other "level two" chargers also got upgrades.

Oregon Department of Transportation Director Kris Strickler said that right now, transportation accounts for 40% of greenhouse gas emissions in the state.

But Strickler also said that EVs are one of the greatest ways to lower that, and improvements to the charging network means better availability.

“As the EV infrastructure and technology continues to expand in the state of Oregon access increases to all Oregonians in ways that it hasn't before,” said Strickler.

The work that is being done on Oregon’s part of the West Coast Electric Highway is a public-private partnership designed to keep EVs going from California into British Columbia.

EV Charging Solutions owns Oregon’s stations and is doing the upgrades.

“We're so proud of the work that has been completed today but we're not finished yet. While celebrating the milestone today we can’t help but be energized about what comes next,” said Gustavo Occhiuzzo, CEO of EVCS.

This summer, "phase two" of the project will see the installation of 11 superstations for even faster charging. And in late summer, phase three work begins to expand the network of EV charging stations on I-5, I-84, and U.S. 101.

Governor Brown said it shows the West Coast leading the way for a better environment.

“The other good news is that by investing in renewable energy and EV infrastructure, we can create good paying jobs in communities throughout the state,” said Brown.

The federal infrastructure bill includes $50 million for EV infrastructure for Oregon, and the Oregon Transportation Commission recently committed a matching $50 million for EV.

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