By Andrea McCarthy
Colorado Legislation and Federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Give Communities Support for Transportation Electrification
Colorado jurisdictions have now been given the support and guidance really needed for them to advance transportation electrification in their communities at a level not previously seen. As communities plan for a carbon free future, transportation is often identified as one of the top sectors where emissions reductions are most needed. Transportation electrification is one way to decrease carbon emissions while also reducing air pollution and improving public health. The State of Colorado and the Federal government now have new funding programs in place to enable a sustainable transportation system.
In June 2021, Colorado Governor Polis signed SB 21-260. This landmark legislation created new sources of dedicated transportation funding and established three new 10-year transportation electrification enterprise plans for fiscal years 2022-23 through 2031-32. These are funded through fees collected from all retail and food deliveries and all rides provided by transportation network companies (e.g., Uber and Lyft). Each enterprise plan and its projected allocations over ten years include:
- $306.7 million: Community Access Enterprise
- $134.6 million: Clean Transit Enterprise
- $289.0 million: Clean Fleet Enterprise
And, with the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) enacted in November of 2021, the federal government is committed to helping states and communities electrify transportation with the following funding:
- $5 billion: National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program
- $2.5 billion: NEVI Grant Program
- $5 billion: Clean School Bus Program
- $5.6 billion: Low- and No-Emission Transit Bus Program
- $250 million: Electric or Low-Emitting Ferry Program
With up to $7.5 billion in dedicated funding for building out needed infrastructure, the federal government is making EV chargers accessible to all Americans. As part of the NEVI program, each state plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico must develop a State EV Infrastructure Deployment Plan and submit it to the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation by August 1, 2022. States will need to meet minimum standards and requirements. A key objective of these minimum standards is to ensure more convenient, affordable, reliable, and equitable national public charging to fully build out EV charging infrastructure along designated Alternative Fuel Corridors.
These programs are intended to support the Justice40 Initiative, which establishes a goal that at least 40% of the benefits of federal investments in climate and clean energy infrastructure are distributed to disadvantaged communities. The initiative encourages states to address the need for publicly available charging infrastructure in rural corridors and underserved or disadvantaged communities.
In addition to funding a national EV charging network, IIJA increases funding for electrifying transit buses and school buses. The Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean School Bus Program provides $5 billion over the next five years (FY 2022-2026) to replace existing school buses with zero-emission and low-emission models. Technical assistance offered through the Joint Office will provide school districts with the knowledge, tools, and information needed to successfully plan for and deploy clean school buses. The 2022 rebate program is accepting applications until August 19.
The Low or No Emission competitive program provides funding to state and local governmental authorities for the purchase or lease of zero-emission and low-emission transit buses as well as acquisition, construction, and leasing of required supporting facilities.
Reach out to us if your community needs support and guidance in planning and/or implementing these programs.
About the Author – Andrea brings over a decade of experience in transportation electrification and alternative fuels to the Brendle Group team. She uses her planning and fleet transition experience to help guide and problem-solve with jurisdictions to achieve an affordable, equitable, and reliable zero-emission transportation system for everyone. She’s facilitated EV roadmap planning for communities at the local, state, and territory level and within private sector fleets.
Prior to joining Brendle Group, Andrea served as a program manager for the Electrification Coalition in Washington D.C. where she led teams to develop comprehensive transportation electrification plans that accelerate electrified mobility adoption and charging infrastructure development. She’s facilitated the development of broad coalitions of diverse stakeholders to define and achieve emissions reduction goals. Her expertise includes implementing alternative fuels, advanced vehicle adoption, and fuel-saving strategies through data analysis, grant reporting, and coordinated events.