OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Monday the Overland Park City Council voted 10-1 to approve an agreement with the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) for the installation of new electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.

The project will place four free EV charging stations at Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead and four at the Scheels Overland Park Soccer Complex.

The project is estimated to cost $180,000 to complete. KDOT will cover up to $120,000 of the project costs. The City of Overland Park will be responsible for a $30,000 project match and approximately $30,000 in design fees.  

Under the agreement the city will also be responsible for operational and maintenance costs for the charging stations.   

With a tied 3-3 vote the Public Works Committee did not make a formal recommendation to the city council about the city-state agreement. 

Councilmember Fred Spears voted against the proposal in the public works committee. Spears said he feels EV users should be responsible for paying to charge their vehicles and contribute to the cost of maintaining the station. 

“I just think we need to make sure that we aren’t subsidizing anybody and that we’re making sure that the process going forward is holistic and well thought out as a long-term view,” Spears said. 

Councilmember Scott Mosher also voted against the proposal in committee. 

“I don’t believe that the city should give people with electric vehicles a free ride. I pay for gas everyday, just like the rest of us,” Mosher said. 

Councilmember Jeff Cox was the only person to vote against the project. Cox said it’s not appropriate for the city to subsidize the charging stations without a better understanding of what it will cost to maintain the stations going forward. 

“I do not agree that this government or any other government ought to be deciding that electric power is more virtuous than gasoline power. I don’t think that’s our business at any level of government,” Cox said. 

Mayor Curt Skoog said in the proposed 2023 budget, the city has the option to use funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to establish an EV Charging Master Plan. 

Currently city charging stations are free to use. The master plan would break down what it could cost the city to maintain the EV stations over time and provide insight into potential user fees. 

“That study will give us an approach to charge vehicles a fee for utilizing the power in our charging stations once we complete that,” Skoog said. 

City traffic engineer Brian Geiger said the type of charger has not yet been decided, but it is likely the city will move forward with Level 2 charging equipment. The eight new charging stations are expected to be available for use starting in 2023.