The bipartisan Infrastructure investment and Jobs Acts enacted in late 2021 includes two different grant programs for electric vehicle charging and other alternative fuel infrastructure (natural gas, hydrogen and propane). Most of the $7.5 billion available is expected to go toward EV charging stations.
NATSO successfully urged Congress to structure the grant program in a manner that favors private, off-highway businesses that are putting capital at risk rather than regulated utilities operating in a guaranteed rate of return environment.
Any business interested in learning more about these grant opportunities should contact its state department of transportation as soon as possible to express interest and get a sense of how the department intends to distribute the grant dollars.
In most states there are consulting firms that specialize in helping companies secure grants from the state DOT. Interested applicants would be well-advised to make contact with such firms in order to learn more and potentially obtain assistance.
Most of this money will be distributed via state departments of transportation. The role of the federal government will be primarily to help guide the various states to ensure there's a coherent national strategy to how the money is distributed.
The U.S. Department of Transportation is currently accepting public comment as to how it should develop guidance for states to implement the grant programs. More information on this "Request for Information" (RFI) is available here. NATSO will be filing comments urging the agency to prioritize investments and projects that entail a competitive, market-oriented structure for EV charging that is compatible with existing ruel retailers' business model.
AASHTO, the trade association representing state departments of transportation, recently drafted a letter to U.S. DOT outlining some of the enormous obstacles associated with building out a national EV charging network. Specifically, it noted the overall national electric grid's capacity to handle the demand increase, as well as the grid's proximity to potential charging stations, especially in rural and underserved areas. Industrial capacity to meet the sudden increase in demand for EV supply equipment, along with the need to coordinate "on a huge scale" with business models and supply chain of "non-traditional" transportation sector stakeholders, are also big concerns, AASHTO said. The letter also noted the potential for protectionist "Buy America" policies to complicate the effort.
The grant programs envision a so-called "80-20" cost share, with the federal government covering 80 percent of the capital expenditures associated with acquiring, installing and, for a certain period of time, operating the refueling infrastructure.
In recent years, there has been a modest tax credit associated with purchasing EV charging equipment, capped at $30,000 per location. This tax credit (known as "30C") expired at the end of 2021, though Democrats are hopeful that they will extend it at a higher level before the end of this year (e.g., capped at $100,000 per charging station as opposed to per location that offers charging stations).
// On Tuesday, Feb, 22 during NATSO Connect 2022, NATSO is offering an educational session on Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Grants. Now is the time to start thinking about how your business can avail itself of the forthcoming grant opportunities established in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. A panel will discuss what are the grant opportunities, what is the best way to secure a grant and how to best partner with your state and local government. Learn more about attending NATSO Connect here. Email Amy Toner, NATSO’s vice president, publishing and digital content, at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
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