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Gov. Tim Walz and four other Midwestern governors have agreed to build a new electric vehicle (EV) charging network in the Midwest.

This agreement between Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin is called REV Midwest (Regional Electric Vehicle for the Midwest), a news release says. Its goal is to "collectively accelerate vehicle electrification" in the region, which the governors say will help reduce harmful emissions, benefit public health thanks to cleaner air, create jobs, help boost EV manufacturing, and help ensure the region can compete for private and federal funding for EVs. 

“The Midwest has the ingenuity and the drive to develop innovative solutions to curb climate change,” Gov. Tim Walz said in a statement. “I am proud to work with my fellow Midwest governors to not only reduce pollution, but protect public health, create jobs, and increase consumer choice across the region.”

The hope is that by building coordinated and standardized EV infrastructure across the Midwest more people will buy electric vehicles because charging stations will be easier to find, so motorists won't have to worry about their battery's range. REV Midwest will also help provide the foundation for industry fleet electrification along commercial corridors in the region, futureproofing interstate commerce as the "rapid adoption of EVs continues," the release says. 

The EV charging network will initially focus on interstates and "regionally significant commercial corridors" by creating "publicly accessible" charging stations that can serve medium- and heavy-duty vehicles to serve the shipping and logistics industries. 

“By working together with our Midwestern neighbors, we can accelerate the region’s growth in the transportation sector, create jobs across our communities, and prioritize the environment that makes the Great Lakes region so great along the way," Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said in a statement.

REV Midwest estimates 105,000 new jobs in the utility sector will be needed to launch EV charging infrastructure by 2030, and the Midwestern states will work together with industry leaders to understand what support and training programs are needed to build the EV charging network. 

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“We shouldn’t have to choose between building a cleaner, more equitable state and economic development — and thankfully, vehicle electrification is an area where we can do both,” Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said in a statement. “This regional partnership will be critical for addressing emissions from the transportation sector, ensuring folks in every community have cleaner air to breathe, and creating jobs to meet our future workforce needs.”

REV Midwest touts its decision to focus on accelerating medium- and heavy-duty fleet electrification as a way to reduce pollution, especially in communities along freight and transportation corridors. Residential areas near these corridors are historically disadvantaged communities who are harmed by emissions and negative environmental impacts of harmful emissions. 

The partnership says reducing harmful emissions by deploying more electric vehicles makes all communities "more sustainable, healthy and equitable places to live, work and play."

You can read the REV Midwest Memorandum of Understanding here, which the governors of the five Midwestern states agreed to on Sept. 30.

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