The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development recently hosted an outdoor electric vehicle or EV exposition at its headquarters facility in Baton Rouge.
[Above photo by the Louisiana DOTD]
Governor John Bel Edwards (D), Louisiana DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson (seen above) – who also serves as the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials 2021-2022 president – and representatives from Louisiana Clean Fuels were on hand to discuss the current and future needs of EV charging infrastructure statewide at this event.
“To address climate change, I have established the goal for Louisiana to be at net zero for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050,” said Gov. Edwards in a statement.
“To help accomplish this, the Louisiana Climate Action Plan calls for transitioning the public fleet to low- and zero-emission vehicles,” he added. “Therefore, we will need to begin the transition as we replace state vehicles across all agencies. With leadership from our state agencies and cooperation from local government and the private sector, I am confident we can meet our GHG emission reductions goals and become a leader in renewable energy.”
Wilson pointed out that the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or IIJA, enacted in November 2021, allocates $75 million over five years to EV charging infrastructure in Louisiana, with $14.1 million allocated for fiscal year 2022.
“This federal funding is a critical to helping Louisiana do its part to reduce carbon emissions in order to provide a more sustainable future for generations to come,” noted Wilson.
“Overall, we want to convert gas stations into fuel stations where a variety of fuel options, including electric charging, are available,” he said. “In order to become a competitor in green energy, Louisiana must make changes, and this starts with our transportation industry.”
Wilson added that Louisiana DOTD plans to start developing the grant programs now through 2023, soliciting applications as well as monitoring and inspecting charging station installations while identifying and correcting weaknesses in the grant programs for use in future rounds of solicitations and awards.
Programs at the national level mirror Louisiana’s efforts to spur EV adoption.
For example, AASHTO, the National Association of State Energy Officials, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Department of Energy signed a memorandum of understanding on February 23 to coordinate nationwide investment in electric vehicle charging station infrastructure.
Jim Tymon, AASHTO’s executive director, explained in a statement that the MOU provides a “framework for collaboration” in response to the $5 billion National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program established by USDOT and DOE on February 10 with funding from the IIJA to build and operate a nationwide network of EV charging stations.
“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,” Tymon said.
“Many state departments of transportation 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.”