As most Michiganders continue to wait for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to “fix the damn roads” as promised, her Department of Transportation is spending millions to electrify the streets of Detroit.

MDOT celebrated “a major milestone in the future of mobility and electrification” in November when crews completed the nation’s first wireless-charging public roadway, which involves inductive-charging coils embedded in 14th Street between Marantette and Dalzelle streets.

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The project – a collaboration between MDOT, Electreon, Detroit, Ford, DTE and the Michigan Central Innovation District – is designed to charge electric vehicles on the go, and serve as a testing ground for expanding the technology to other roadways in the coming years.

In February 2022, MDOT announced it was spending $1.9 million on the project.

“A part of the commitment to develop the electrified road system, the DOT is expected to seek bids to rebuild part of busy Michigan Avenue, where inductive charging will also be installed,” Clean Technica reports. “The plans for inductive charging are sited on 14th Street as well as Avenue, with construction expected to start in spring, 2025.”

While the total cost to taxpayers is unclear, the one-mile pilot project completed in November involved $1.9 million from MDOT, according to the Detroit Regional Chamber.

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State officials said when they announced the pilot in 2022 that they’re exploring potential business models to generate revenue for the state, a sign the move to electrify roads will cost taxpayers in more ways than one.

“This agreement helps solidify Michigan as the U.S. leader in developing and implementing a wireless in-road charging network,” MDOT Director Paul Ajegba said in a news release. “We now can work toward better policy and regulatory framework that provides a welcoming environment for this unique technology. Ultimately, the research and work conducted on this project will help lead to large-scale deployment across Michigan and the U.S.”

Michigan is essentially the guinea pig for the industry, with taxpayers footing the bill.

“Through ongoing collaboration on our Detroit project, MDOT has proven to be innovative leaders in the industry. We’re excited to enter into this agreement to create a blueprint for scaling wireless charging for all EVs across Michigan and the U.S. and look forward to aligning with additional DOTs in the future,” Electreon co-founder and CEO Oren Ezer said in the release.

The ongoing project is among several of Whitmer’s taxpayer-funded efforts to court the electric vehicle industry, which she views as a critical component of her plan to address changes in the climate. Her goal is “carbon neutrality” by 2050, and a 52% reduction by 2030.

To that end, the Whitmer administration in recent years has inked investment packages that will steer $236.6 million in taxpayer money to a Next Energy battery gigafactory in Novi, $800 million to a CCP Gotion battery parts plant near Big Rapids, and $1.7 billion to Ford’s BlueOval Battery Park in southwest Michigan, MLive reports.

The taxpayer funding for EVs comes despite numerous warning signs that the industry is in trouble.

A recent Gallup poll shows 48% of 1,016 adults surveyed across all 50 states and the District of Columbia in March said they would not buy an electric vehicle, a figure that’s up 7% from last year.

The percentage who said they might consider buying an EV in the future also declined from 43% in 2023 to 35% in March.

“The findings conform with recent decisions by some auto companies to reduce their electric-vehicle investments after EV market growth has fallen short of expectations,” Gallup reports. “Weak consumer demand for the vehicles has also compelled the Biden administration to issue a less-aggressive schedule of emission-reduction targets for auto companies.”

There’s also cybersecurity concerns with charging stations, China flooding the market, and President Biden’s federal objectives, which include his goal of EVs comprising 60% of new vehicle production by 2030, and the “strongest-ever pollution standards for cars” announced last month.

Meanwhile, the market is shrinking.

Gallup reports the percentage of Americans “seriously considering buying” an EV went from 12% last year to 9% this year. Only one in six own or are seriously considering buying.

“Unless that market expands greatly in the next few years, it is unlikely auto companies doing business in the U.S. will be able to meet the emissions targets laid out by the Biden administration,” according to the pollster.