The Biden administration, Department of Transportation (DOT), Department of Energy (DOE), Joint Office, and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recently provided more details on how the $2.5 billion Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) Discretionary Grant Program will be dispersed over five years. CFI grants will build a better America by deploying tens of thousands of EV charging stations throughout the U.S. in urban and rural communities, particularly those neighborhoods most vulnerable to climate change and air pollutants. The first round of funding offers up to $700 million in FY2022 and FY2023.
The Electrification Coalition’s top 10 takeaways are listed below:
- The Charging and Fueling Infrastructure program includes two streams of funding; one focused on community charging and one focused on corridor charging. Though each stream has distinct eligibility, public entities are allowed to peruse both grant funding opportunities in one application allowing funding to move farther, faster.
- Award amounts and cost-sharing: Both the Community and Corridor Programs have an 80% cost share, meaning awardees must match the remaining 20% of the project. For the Corridor Program, the minimum award size is $1 million with no maximum monetary cap. The Corridor Program must be contracted with a private entity. The Community Program has a minimum cap of $500,000 with a monetary cap of $15 million.
- Eligible applicant and deadlines: Eligible applicants include states, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), local governments, public authorities with transportation function, Indian tribes, territories, authorities owned by one or more entities listed above, a group of the above, a state or local entity with ownership of publicly accessible transportation facilities. Private entities are eligible to participate in projects if contracted through a public entity. Applications are due at 11:59 PM EST on May 30, 2023.
- Station Placement: Eligible infrastructure must be publicly accessible, including parking facilities at public buildings, schools, and parks, or publicly accessible parking facilities owned or managed by a private entity. Multi-unit dwellings and other private buildings may be eligible if the charger is still accessible to the public for use.
- Selection Priorities: Unique to the Community Program, there are three selection priorities: projects with infrastructure expansion in rural communities, projects with infrastructure expansion in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, and projects with infrastructure expansion within communities with a low ratio of private parking spaces to households or a high ratio of multi-unit dwellings to single-family homes. Priority will also be given to projects that prioritize safety measures.
- Environmental Justice: Environmental Justice is a priority for the Biden administration, as evidenced by the Justice40 Initiative and through prioritizing projects that target at least 40 percent of benefits toward disadvantaged communities. Additional detail is also shared in this grant program to direct awards towards communities disproportionately experiencing consequences of climate change and other pollutants while also prioritizing rural and low-income areas. These helpful definitions allow grant funding to be accessible by a wider variety of applicants and allow greater consideration for demographic data and context.
- Engagement and Collaboration: Collaboration with a variety of public and private stakeholders is highly encouraged. Along with EV charging implementation, priority is given to projects that include workforce development, community engagement, and educational programs.
- Future-proofing: Within the Community Program, there is a focus on future-proofing and only having to “dig once” to install EVSE. In conjunction with the high maximum budget for projects, this allows for the installation of communication and broadband conduit, duct banks, and power capacity for multimodal vehicle charging now to ensure that the current needs and all foreseeable future needs are met. This will also allow rural and lower-income communities to be able to keep pace with technological advancements, with support now to avoid financial barriers in the future. Additionally, it is required that chargers installed under this project meet the minimum standards set for NEVI and all other Title 23 Programs.
- Scalability: Grant applicants are encouraged to think about projects that not only meet immediate need but can scale based on future demand. This may allow additional grant awards for applicants who identify scalable options, such as the inclusion of additional community partners or larger deployment of EVSE. Additionally, the application allows for scalability to allow for projects to be implemented in phases, so long as the chargers are able to be used by the public during a larger buildout.
- Next steps: The Electrification Coalition is equipped and ready to support communities as they apply for Charging and Fueling Infrastructure grant funding. With the help of our suite of resources, we are ready to support project creation, developing concepts, reviewing applications, and more. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.