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Gabe Klein to Lead U.S. Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Office

Gabe Klein has been named as the head of the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation, charged with overseeing the buildout of some 500,000 high-speed public chargers across the nation, among other projects.

Gabe Klein
Gabe Klein
Gabe Klein, a veteran of big city transportation departments and private consulting, will become head of the newly formed Joint Office of Energy and Transportation.

The joint office, which includes officials from the U.S. departments of Energy and Transportation, was formed following the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act earlier this year. The landmark legislation will send some $1.2 trillion toward the rebuilding — and reimagining — of public infrastructure. The legislation includes $7.5 billion for the development of a national electric vehicle charging network, to be developed over the next five years. Klein, in his role as head of the joint office, will lead this portion of the infrastructure funding initiative.

Klein has been serving as co-founder at Cityfi, a consulting firm specializing in smart cities planning, next-gen transportation, urban design and other areas. Klein is also the former commissioner for both the Chicago and Washington, D.C., departments of transportation. He is also the author of the book Start-Up City.

“Gabe has spent his career spurring innovation for sustainable transportation, and we couldn’t be more excited to have him working for more electric cars and trucks on our roadways,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm in a statement.

The joint office was formed in February and is tasked with the buildout of some 500,000 public EV fast chargers across the U.S., with the aim of placing a charger roughly every 50 miles along major throughways. For starters, all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have been asked to submit an EV charging plan to outline where the charging should be located. The initiative is largely seen as a form of public policy to encourage the adoption of EVs, serving those already on the roads, and offering potential new buyers of electric cars the confidence that charging infrastructure exists.

“We’re on the precipice. Because it’s not just about producing the vehicles. It’s about people feeling comfortable with them. No matter where they are. They can find a charge,” Klein told Government Technology last month following the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, legislation aimed at addressing climate change and health care.

Both the new infrastructure law and the climate bill are seen as foundational pieces of President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda. For his part, Klein served on the Biden transition team.

The infrastructure law with its significant funding for public charging “is going to be the other half of the game-changer,” said Klein, adding that the legislation “is really incentivizing industry to make it easier for people to buy an electric vehicle.”