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The new Joint Office of Energy and Transportation has helped 44 states in the past two months with technical assistance as part of the White House’s $7.5 billion deployment to build a national electric vehicle charging network.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm signed a memorandum of understanding Dec. 14 creating the Joint Office through President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law to facilitate collaboration between both agencies.
The BIL directed both Cabinet secretaries to collaborate on initiatives to promote transitioning U.S. transportation systems to electric vehicles and other zero-carbon technologies.
A primary task for the Joint Office is to provide technical assistance to states and local governments to enable them develop plans to build electric vehicle charging stations and other infrastructure. Its goal is to accelerate adopting EVs, including for those who cannot reliably charge at home, to enable up to 50% of new vehicle sales to be electric by 2030. The White House wants to lower transportation-related emissions.
Under the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program, DOT requirements include designating national EV charging corridors that identify near- and long-term needs and locations for charging infrastructure that support freight and goods movement at strategic locations. Charging corridors can be placed at major national highways and the National Highway Freight Network as well as at ports, intermodal centers and warehouses.
Joint Office of Energy and Transportation
The Joint Office hosted a webinar May 2 to provide an overview during the past two months working with states. The online meeting also featured a question-and-answer session on the NEVI program. The White House infrastructure team, led by senior adviser Mitch Landrieu, and DOT have hosted numerous webinars this year to inform state and local government stakeholders about accessing federal infrastructure funds.
As of April 30, the Joint Office revealed it held one-on-one meetings with 43 states and the District of Columbia, with meetings scheduled for Colorado, Hawaii and Washington states. No dates had been set for sessions with Arkansas, Iowa, Oklahoma and North Dakota.
In the webinar, states were told to remember it is a five-year program and to “do the best you can given where you are and the time constraints we are under.”
The Joint Office has been working with Federal Highway Administration division offices. By May 13, FHWA is to publish proposed regulations for minimum standards and requirements for the NEVI Formula Program.
Recently the Joint Office participated in a memorandum of understanding signing ceremony between the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and National Association of State Energy Officials. The pact calls for AASHTO and NASEO to enhance coordination between state energy offices and DOT.
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It also creates a framework for collaborations among national regional, state, local and tribal governments as well as the private sector on building EV charging stations.
State DOTS have until Aug. 1 to submit their Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment Plans to the Joint Office. By Sept. 10, FHWA must approve the plans or notify DOTs if state changes are needed.
In the meantime, the Joint Office is seeking technical assistance from one or more organizations on sustainable on-road transportation. It wants to find experts on addressing barriers, creating charging infrastructure and deploying EVs to help states implement their plans. It also seeks assistance on transit and school bus fleet electrification.
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