The Aug. 1 deadline is looming for state departments of transportation to submit EV infrastructure deployment plans to access funds available through the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure formula program for the upcoming year.
The NEVI program, created by the bipartisan infrastructure law, provides $5 billion to states over five years to establish electric vehicle charging stations, with first priority given to the Alternative Fuel Corridors, mainly along the Interstate Highway System.
To assist state DOTs in applying for these funds, the infrastructure law created the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation to bring together the resources of the Department of Energy and the Department of Transportation.
Rachael Nealer, deputy director of the joint office, speaking on a webinar last week hosted by the Eno Center for Transportation, said the office recently received the first state plan and are preparing to review all plans by Sept. 30. The plans will be reviewed annually.
“We've really been there to try to be as much of a resource as possible,” Nealer said, understanding that states can be in different stages of planning their EV charging networks.
The joint office established DriveElectric.gov, a website that offers guidance from the Federal Highway Administration, a state plan template, and a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions.
Nealer also pointed out that although the funding goes to state DOTs, there are eligible costs for activities such as community engagement and outreach. “So while you might not be the prime recipient if you're not a state DOT, there might be ways that you can work with the state DOT in order to make this a successful EV charging network,” Nealer said.
The joint office is taking a whole-of-government approach, Nealer explained, coordinating with the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Agriculture, and other federal agencies. “And so we just want to be there to help support and bring everybody along so that we're developing this national network,” said Nealer.