Federal funding to build out an electric vehicle charging network has begun rolling out with the recent announcement that 54 projects across 35 counties in Pennsylvania received grants totaling $33.8 million as part of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) funding program.
EVs play an important role in the Biden and Shapiro administrations’ plans to combat climate change and modernize American transportation infrastructure. According to the White House, a goal for EV adoption is to provide the incentives and infrastructure necessary for EVs to account for half of all new car sales by 2030. EV sales are trending upward in recent years, growing from 3.2 percent of new car sales in 2021 to 5.8 percent in 2022. In order to help boost EV adoption, legislation like the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act have programs and incentives built in to not only entice citizens to purchase EVs but also prepare the roadways for them.
NEVI funding is a part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, is managed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, and funds the “acquisition, installation, and network connection of EV charging stations”, “proper operation and maintenance” and “long-term EV charging station data sharing”. PennDOT is set to receive $171.5 million in NEVI funds over the next five years, the $33.8 million being the first year’s round of funding. This round of funding is being used fir the purchase and installation of public charging stations across the entire state. A full list of funded projects by county can be found here.
The first round of funding focused entirely on the creation of alternative fuel corridors, or AFCs. AFCs, as the name suggests, are major roadways that have alternative fuel facilities, like hydrogen, natural gas, and EV charging, located throughout the entire roadway.
According to PennDOT, NEVI used certain criteria to ensure chosen projects were not concentrated in one area of the state while focusing on projects that would ultimately “provide a variety of amenities…to improve customer experience”, positively impact the economic and workforce development of the area, and that the locations of the projects are “welcoming, safe, and accessible for all”.
Work on these projects will not begin immediately, as a public involvement process mandated by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) must be conducted before commencement.
The funding is being praised by many within Pennsylvania, including U.S. Senator Bob Casey who stated that the newly funded projects will “strengthen and expand our electric vehicle charging infrastructure”, and will “promot[e] energy security, creat[e] jobs, and reduc[e] our carbon footprint”.