SF Gate: Bay Area Awarded $30M In Federal Grants To Build Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

By Kiley Russell

The federal government is handing out hundreds of millions in grant money to help build electric vehicle charging stations across the country, with $30 million earmarked for Bay Area projects.

The Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Discretionary Grant Program is sending $15 million in grants to both Contra Costa County and the Bay Ara Air Quality Management District to help build publicly accessible electric vehicle charging stations.

The Air District will distribute its $15 million through its Charge! Program, which incentivizes the purchase and installation of new charging stations, and will prioritize projects in disadvantaged communities across the nine-county Bay Area.

“This generous federal award will be indispensable to the Bay Area’s efforts to transition to a cleaner transportation network with both immediate and long-lasting benefits in the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and the reduction of toxic air pollution burdens in our most impacted communities,” said Philip Fine, the Air District’s executive officer.

As a result of the grant, new charging stations could crop up at all manner of publicly accessible locations, including shopping centers, municipal facilities, transit hubs, parking lots, office buildings and public parks, among other places.

Contra Costa County’s grant is intended to bring charging stations primarily to rural, low-income and disadvantaged communities by building them at 15 local libraries, according to the Federal Highway Administration, which administers the grant program.

Thus far, the program — which was created by the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law — has awarded more than $622 million to organizations in 22 states, including ten in California.

“As California leads the charge toward an electric-vehicle powered future, we must make sure EV charging and refueling stations are broadly accessible to drivers across the state,” said U.S. Senator Alex Padilla, D-Calif.

“That means investing in public charging sites across major corridors, urban neighborhoods, and rural and low-income communities,” Padilla said in a news release. “Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we’re deploying more of the technology needed to make EVs accessible to all Californians.”

The Contra Costa and Air District grants are part of a $168.5 million package of awards given to 10 organizations in the state, including the cities of Palmdale, Eureka and Blythe, as well as the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District, the counties of San Joaquin and Ventura, the Victor Valley Transit Authority and the California State University at Los Angeles.

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