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DOT’s Discretionary EV Charging Funding Mandates Environmental Justice

March 17, 2023

Source: ACT News

On March 14, 2023, the Biden Administration opened the first round of the $2.5 billion discretionary complement to the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program. While NEVI provides $5 billion to the states to implement plans to build electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) new Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) Discretionary Grant Program directs federal dollars to a “wide range of applicants, including cities, counties, local governments, and tribes.”

Like NEVI, CFI prioritizes environmental justice in its attempt to realize President Biden’s national network of 500,000 EV charging stations from New York to California.

The first round of funding makes $700 million available to extend EV charging stations beyond communities of privilege for the benefit of disadvantaged and low-income communities. U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm celebrates CFI as a means of “extending EV charging infrastructure into traditionally underserved areas.” So how does CFI specifically address environmental justice?

The CFI program issues competitive grants for projects that fill in pieces NEVI leaves missing. That is, NEVI requires all EV charging stations to be built along alternative fuel corridors (AFCs), but CFI also makes available urban centers like downtown districts and rural areas like less populated neighborhoods across disadvantaged and low-income communities.

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