Advocates hope federal infrastructure money will spur people to buy EVs | StateImpact Pennsylvania

Advocates hope federal infrastructure money will spur people to buy EVs

  • Rachel McDevitt

Pennsylvania is slated to receive billions of dollars from the new federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act over the next several years. The plan includes funding to install electric vehicle charging stations.

Advocates hope the measure will help people “meet the EV moment.”

The commonwealth expects to get $2.8 billion to help improve public transit options, which could include electrification efforts such as converting bus fleets to electric.

Another $171 million is slated to build out a network of EV chargers.

Katherine Stainken is senior director of EV policy with the Electrification Coalition, a group that pushes for mass adoption of EVs. She said people will soon see EV chargers as often as gas stations. More visible charging infrastructure can help alleviate concerns about how far people can travel in an EV and boost confidence in buying an electric car.

Stainken noted the Build Back Better plan awaiting a vote in the U.S. Senate would augment the infrastructure bill by providing a tax credit to people who buy electric vehicles.

More EV use will be needed for the state to cut greenhouse gas emissions in line with its climate goal of an 80 percent reduction by 2050.

Alissa Burger, Pennsylvania policy manager for the Electrification Coalition, said she hopes the new money will spur state measures to plan for increased use of electric cars and transit.

“I’m really excited to see this be something that’s available to the whole commonwealth and not necessarily just pulled to centers of gravity in our east and west because of the cities’ ability to focus resources there,” Burger said.

She added the Wolf Administration has started efforts to increase EV use, so the state is in a good position to take advantage of the new funds.

State agencies that make up the Drive Electric Pennsylvania Coalition published recommendations in the 2019 Electric Vehicle Roadmap. They included things like setting a statewide EV sales goal and creating incentives for others to install EV chargers.

The state has already installed more than 1,000 charging stations across the commonwealth. A 2021 report said there were more than 29,000 EVs registered in Pennsylvania as of November 2020. Most are concentrated in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh areas.

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