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California Charges Forward with Inclusive EV Infrastructure

March 1, 2023

Source: ACT News

On November 6, 2021, Congress passed the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), a historic investment in America’s transportation sector. The law fuels the White House’s ambition to deploy 500,000 electric vehicle (EV) chargers by 2030 to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. To further this goal, BIL endowed a national EV charging infrastructure network to drive the clean transportation transition forward, the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program (NEVI). NEVI’s interconnected approach is foundational to facilitating best practices, data collection, and interoperability across state lines.

BIL allocated $5 billion over five years to NEVI, offering states the opportunity to develop reliable, affordable, and accessible charging solutions along Alternative Fuel Corridors (AFC). These corridors were selected by the Federal Highway Administration to serve as the backbone of this national EV charging network.

Logistical requirements like building charging stations no more than 50 miles apart along AFCs are critical but so are the human-centric requirements like considering the public health and welfare of communities inhabiting these same corridors. Indeed, NEVI will be as much a community empowerment program as it will be a masterful example of American engineering design.

Justice40 and Disadvantaged Communities

Justice40 is a transformative investment in marginalized and overburdened communities, mandating that at least 40% of the overall benefits of NEVI’s climate investments go to communities historically underserved in the fight against air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. While the federal government stood up for marginalized communities in a historic way, states still play a pivotal role to make certain no one is left behind in this clean transportation revolution.

Previously, successful infrastructure projects like new highways in America enriched some communities and devastated others. Millions of Americans suffer disproportionately from these inequitable consequences in the form of toxic air pollution. To right this wrong, the Biden Administration’s inclusive requirements for NEVI, like the Justice40 Initiative, ensure all Americans across disadvantaged communities (DACs) are prioritized to benefit from clean transportation innovation. The White House issued interim guidance for federal agencies to define Justice40 DACs, including income, environmental burden, and health status.

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