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Biden Admin Classifies Martha’s Vineyard, Elite Locales As ‘Low-Income’ To Push EV Charger Subsidies

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The Biden administration is classifying some of the country’s most elite and exclusive locales as “low-income” areas, making them eligible for electric vehicle (EV) charger subsidy programs.

The administration’s EV charger tax credit program — made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), President Joe Biden’s signature climate bill — is specifically designed to route subsidies to “low-income” or “non-urban” areas of the country. The “low-income” emphasis for eligibility aligns in spirit with the Biden administration’s wider pursuit of so-called “environmental justice,” which is effectively the combination of social justice ideology and green policy.

Numerous elite hangouts and locales — including Montauk and Fishers Island in New York, and parts of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket in Massachusetts — are among the areas that the administration has classified as “low-income” and eligible for receipt of EV charger subsidies, according to a Daily Caller News Foundation analysis of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) interactive eligibility map.

Building out a nationwide charging network is a key supporting plank of the Biden administration’s EV agenda, but the charging infrastructure that currently exists is concentrated in wealthier, more densely-populated coastal regions of the country. The Biden administration’s tax credit program is designed to blunt the costs of charger construction specifically in non-urban, less wealthy parts of the country that would be less likely to install them.

“This tax credit provides up to 30% off the cost of the charger to individuals and businesses in low-income communities and non-urban areas, making it more affordable to install EV charging infrastructure and increasing access to EV charging in underserved communities,” the White House stated on Jan. 19.

To meet the “low-income” definition, a given Census tract must have a poverty rate of 20% or more. Alternatively, an area can qualify if the median family income is below 80% of the median family income in the wider metropolitan area or in its state if a given Census tract is not part of any particular metropolitan area, according to section 45D(e) of the Internal Revenue Code.

In practice, however, the latter definition for a “low-income” area enables places that may not be colloquially considered “low-income” to qualify for the credit by virtue of being located in a wealthy state or metropolitan area.

For example, nearly half of the landmass of Nantucket Island, one of the ritziest summer vacation destinations favored by New England’s elite, is eligible for EV charger subsidies, according to the DOE’s interactive eligibility map.

The Vineyard Haven area of Martha’s Vineyard, another destination frequented by New England’s upper crust, is also eligible as a “low-income” area, according to the DOE’s map. For context, many of the homes in the covered area are valued at well over $1 million, with several properties valued between about $2 million and $5 million. Former President Barack Obama also owns a massive $11.7 million estate on the island.

Large pockets of Cape Cod, another pricey locale, are also eligible for “low income” EV subsidies. This includes Hyannis, the longtime home base of the Kennedy political dynasty, and Great Island, which features numerous multi-million dollar properties.

The entirety of Fishers Island, New York, is also deemed a “low-income” area eligible for subsidies, according to the Biden DOE. The island is “an exclusive enclave where generations of old-money families gather to sail and golf,” according to The Wall Street Journal. Historically, dynastic American families like the Roosevelts, Rockefellers and DuPonts have gone to Fishers Island to vacation, according to the New York Post.

A considerable portion of Montauk, a quaint and pricey Long Island vacation spot frequented by the New York City metropolitan area’s well-to-do, is also eligible through 2029 for “low income” EV charger subsidies, according to the DOE’s map.

Some of the property valuations in the “low-income” zone of Montauk are exorbitant. Indeed, one home is valued at $17 million on Zillow. The real estate website values another home in the area at just under $10 million, and another is valued at more than $6 million. Numerous other homes with valuations well above $2 million are also in the area eligible for EV charging subsidies.

In New York City, a three block zone in the upscale Upper East Side area is eligible as a “low-income” zone, as is a 28 block region near Times Square in the middle of Manhattan, according to the DOE’s map.

A pocket of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, located just miles from President Joe Biden’s summer residence, is also eligible for the subsidies as a “low-income” zone, according to the DOE’s map. Multiple properties located in Rehoboth Beach’s “low-income” tract are valued in excess of $2 million, with one valued at over $4 million and another valued at over $6 million, according to Zillow.

There are several ritzy West Coast locales considered “low-income” by the Biden administration.

For example, large swaths of San Francisco are eligible for the subsidies as “low-income” areas. At the northern boundary of the eligible area of the North Beach neighborhood, one property with two bedrooms and one and a half bathrooms is estimated on Zillow to have a market value above $2 million, while several other properties in the eligible zone are valued at well over $1 million each.

In Los Angeles, several blocks of the renowned Beverly Hills area are eligible as “low-income” zones eligible for the subsidies, according to the DOE’s map. This is despite the fact that property values in that particular area are almost universally well above $1 million, and there’s no shortage of $2 million properties as well.

A large swath of the city south of the University of California, Los Angeles, and located in between the Los Angeles Country Club, Brentwood Country Club and Bel Air Country Club is also eligible for the subsidies, according to the DOE’s map.

The DOE did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

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