Wolf Administration Highlights Benefits of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Officials from the Pennsylvania Departments of Transportation (PennDOT) and Environmental Protection (DEP) today highlighted benefits to Pennsylvania from the passage of the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), specifically for electric vehicle (EV) and alternative fuel infrastructure.

PennDOT also unveiled its EV Equity Guiding Principles for private industry and other agencies to consider as they plan and deploy EV charging infrastructure. The principles aim to increase accessibility to the infrastructure and maximize benefits for all Pennsylvanians.

“PennDOT and our sibling-agency partners are well positioned to advance our transportation and EV charging networks to meet current and future needs,” said PennDOT Acting Executive Deputy Secretary Melissa Batula. “These investments are a significant opportunity, and we are committed to delivering benefits across the state.”

Signed by President Joe Biden in November 2021, the BIL provides states with $7.5 billion to expand the EV charging network. Over five years, Pennsylvania will have access to $171.5 million in formula funds for EV charging infrastructure and $2.5 billion in discretionary grant funding opportunities for all alternative fueling infrastructure. The funding supports the commonwealth goal of expanding EV charging along the previously designated Alternative Fuel Corridors (AFCs) (list) and Interstate lookalikes. Federal AFC criteria was updated this week to require AFC designated ready corridors to have charging stations no more than 1 mile from an Interstate exit or highway intersection (previously 5 miles) and no more than 50 miles apart. The department will review all corridors to align ready and pending corridors with the new criteria.

“DEP is grateful for the federal infrastructure support and excited to partner with PennDOT in expanding charging station locations across the state, as we work to bring the health and environmental benefits of zero emission transportation to all Pennsylvanians,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell.  

Formula funds will flow through PennDOT and will be primarily focused on developing electric charging infrastructure on AFCs, taking miles from pending to ready status. From PennDOT’s most recent update, there are currently 1,051 Interstate miles pending and 692 Interstate miles in ready status, under the previous designation criteria. Should PennDOT determine, and U.S. DOT certifies, that the AFCs are fully built out, then Pennsylvania may use funds to build EV charging equipment on any public road or in any publicly accessible location, including but not limited to parking facilities at public buildings, public schools, and parks.

The new discretionary grant program will allow Pennsylvania’s eligible entities like municipalities, school districts, planning organizations and more to apply for funds to support local communities in installing, operating, and maintaining EV charging equipment. Grant funds will also be available for electrifying school bus fleets and EV battery manufacturing and recycling programs.

PennDOT and DEP – following guidance issued from U.S. DOT – will collaborate with key stakeholders such as network companies, planning partners, and businesses on EV charging development. The newly announced equity principles will help the department evaluate EV proposals in accordance with the federal guidance and fall into five categories:

  • Make EVs more affordable;
  • Make EV charging more accessible;
  • Invest in fleet electrification;
  • Invest in traditionally underserved, low-income, persons of color and otherwise vulnerable population areas; and
  • Increase EV awareness, education, and technical capacity.

The commonwealth’s previous work and the new funding will support growing EV usage and industry transitions. There are more than 23,000 EVs registered in Pennsylvania, more than double the roughly 9,700 that were registered in March 2019. To enhance traveler information for the growing number of EV drivers, the state’s traveler information system – 511PA – now also includes EV charging station locations as an option on its traffic map. Using data from the U.S. Department of Energy, the map shows locations across the state by connector type, including CCS, J1772, CHAdeMO, Tesla, and NEMA.

More information on PennDOT’s Alternative Fuel Corridors can be found on the department’s website. 

More information on Electric Vehicles in PA, including details on the DEP Alternative Fuel Rebate that provides higher rebates on the purchase of new or used EVs to income-eligible Pennsylvanians, can be found on DEP’s website.