Ensuring Federal EV Charging Investments Reach The Communities That Need Them Most

The nation’s transition to electric transportation is underway. Consumers are choosing electric vehicles in record numbers, car manufacturers are committing to electrification, and states are banning the sale of gas-powered vehicles. As a result, the need for widely accessible, equitable public EV charging infrastructure across the U.S. is increasingly essential. This infrastructure needs to meet the needs of drivers in their communities and along the roads they travel in urban areas, rurally and along highway corridors.

To aid this transition, the United States, as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), is investing $2.5 billion in charging infrastructure to help build a reliable, and affordable EV charging network across the country over the next five years.

Most of this funding will flow through the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) corridor charging program. This includes the Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Discretionary Grant Program (CFI Program), a $2.5 billion competitive grant program to create a coast-to-coast EV charging network.

States, local governments, metropolitan planning organizations, tribes and other public-sector entities are encouraged to deploy EV charging infrastructure in publicly accessible locations, particularly in historically underserved and disadvantaged communities. The Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration has released a Notice of Funding Opportunity for the first phase of the program. Proposals are due by May 30, with $700 million available this year.

To support this generational investment, Forth, with funding through the GM Climate Fund, is providing assistance, education and training to communities interested in pursuing this funding. We will equip partners with the tools and information needed to ensure that this money is spent quickly, effectively, and in ways that center equity. This support includes program design, matchmaking assistance among potential partners, as well as educational and community engagement program design.

Forth and the Electrification Coalition are presenting a webinar on how cities, states and private entities can structure their applications to capture these funds and create an effective charging program for their community, April 5 at 2 p.m. EST.

We are also conducting a national workshop prior to the Forth Roadmap Conference to bring together key stakeholders from Federal, state, and city transportation agencies, utilities, clean cities coalitions, and community-based organizations.

The Administration’s support for the nation’s transition to clean transportation, coupled with commitments by manufacturers presents a unique opportunity for states, cities and communities to equitably advance this important technology in an unprecedented manner throughout the nation. To be most effective, the funding must be spent in a way that has the greatest impact and reaches the communities that have been historically underserved in transportation and infrastructure investments.

           — By Kevin Hachey, Forth.

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