FHWA Finishes EV Charging Infrastructure Plan Approvals

The Federal Highway Administration has issued final approvals for the remaining electric vehicle or EV infrastructure deployment plans submitted by all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The agency initially approved 35 of those plans in mid-September.

[Above photo by the Arizona DOT]

Those plan approvals allow the transportation departments in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico to unlock more than $900 million in fiscal year 2022 and 2023 funding available through the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure or NEVI formula program, FHWA said.

Photo by the Arizona DOT

The agency noted that the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or IIJA, enacted in November 2021, provides $5 billion in funds for the NEVI program over the next five years to help build EV chargers covering approximately 75,000 miles of highway across the country.

In addition, since all those plans received approval, FHWA said each state, territory, or district could now deploy NEVI funding to a cover a wide range of EV charging infrastructure and related investments, including:

  • Upgrade of existing and construction of new EV charging infrastructure;
  • Operation and maintenance costs of these charging stations;
  • Installation of on-site electrical service equipment;
  • Community and stakeholder engagement;
  • Workforce development activities;
  • EV charging station signage;
  • Data sharing activities; and
  • Related mapping analysis and activities.

“With this greenlight, states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico can ramp up their work to build out EV charging networks that will make driving an EV more convenient and affordable for their residents and will serve as the backbone of our national EV charging network,” noted Stephanie Pollack, FHWA’s acting administrator, in a statement.

Photo by the Connecticut DOT

FHWA is also working on related efforts to establish “ground rules” for EV charging infrastructure investment via a notice of proposed rulemaking issued in June that would establish “minimum standards and requirements” for NEVI-funded projects.

[Editor’s note: The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials sent a 13-page letter to FHWA on August 20 providing feedback on the agency’s proposed NEVI program rulemaking.]

FHWA also proposed a “Buy America” waiver that would allow for a shorter ramp up period for the domestic manufacturing of EV charging materials, which AASHTO commented on as well.

Gabe Klein. Photo by the District of Columbia DOT.

In a related announcement, the U.S. Departments of Transportation and Energy named Gabe Klein – former commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation and director of the District of Columbia Department of Transportation – executive director of the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation on September 20.

He will oversee efforts to build out a national EV charging network, with a focus on filling gaps in rural and disadvantaged communities and hard-to-reach locations, as well as other vehicle electrification programs within USDOT and DOE.

The Joint Office provides technical assistance, analysis, and support to states and localities to help electrify the nation’s transportation system. In February, AASHTO, the National Association of State Energy Officials, USDOT and DOE signed a memorandum of understanding to coordinate nationwide investment in EV charging station infrastructure.

Jim Tymon. Photo by AASHTO.

“The focus on electric vehicle charging infrastructure across our national transportation network is a huge step to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and we applauded the administration’s focus on this issue,” Jim Tymon, AASHTO’s executive director, said at the time.

“Many state DOTs have found success in their own EV charging infrastructure programs and know first-hand that collaboration between state energy offices and other agencies is instrumental to success,” he noted. “This is a massive undertaking and this partnership will ensure all stakeholders are on the same page when it comes to challenges, concerns, best practices, and lessons learned.”

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