Governor Dan McKee and the Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council (EC4) announced Thursday that Rhode Island has received approval of its state plan for electric vehicle infrastructure deployment, which the Rhode Island Department of Transportation filed with the federal government on July 29.
As part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), RIDOT will receive $3.8 million in federal fiscal year 2023, and $22.9 million over the next five years under the Federal Highway Administration’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program.
“Electric vehicle charging station infrastructure is a critical component of our plan to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector to achieve the objectives of the Act on Climate,” said Governor Dan McKee. “This federal funding will help us expand our existing network of electric vehicle charging stations, making it easier than ever for electric vehicle drivers to find a place to charge.”
“Making green transportation reliable and affordable to everyday Rhode Islanders is key to preserving our environment,” said Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos. “Thanks to the excellent planning work of RIDOT, we’ve earned federal funding that will be a major boon for electric vehicle adoption in the coming years.”
“RIDOT and our partners set a tight timeframe for development for the plan, and in fact Rhode Island was one of the few states to submit its plan early, allowing the federal government to act on it quickly,” said RIDOT Director Peter Alviti, Jr. “Now that they have, we are excited to continue working with the other agencies on the EC4 and move closer to turning these dollars into a smart, statewide interconnect electric vehicle charging station network.”
RIDOT partnered with EC4 members the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER) and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) to develop this plan and will continue during so moving forward.
“We have been committed to expanding the electric vehicle charging station network through state programs like Electrify RI, which has supported the buildout of charging stations at Rhode Island workplaces, multi-unit dwellings, state and local government properties, and publicly accessible locations,” said Interim State Energy Commissioner Christopher Kearns. “Today’s announcement will now allow us to deploy the federal funds to accelerate the deployment of additional charging stations over the next few years.”
“This is a significant forward step on achieving cleaner transportation in Rhode Island. Thirty-five percent of our greenhouse gas emissions are from the transportation sector and addressing this is a very high priority,” said DEM Director Terry Gray. “Our agency is proud to partner with DOT and OER in the development of this plan for expanding EV charging infrastructure across Rhode Island, we are pleased to see federal approval, and we look forward to moving quickly to implementation. Follow through on our strong, forward-looking laws, including the Act on Climate, require commitments like this.”
The program will be used not only to build out main corridors but also to help coordinate the use of all direct current fast charger stations, workforce development, and plan maintenance and upgrades. The State of Rhode Island has one designated Alternative Fuel Corridor, Interstate 95, that is prioritized for investment.
The goal of the program is to establish an interconnected network to facilitate data collection, access, and reliability for electric vehicle charging stations. It will prioritize the funding strategically to fill gaps in the market, support our transportation network, develop the local workforce, and serve the most Rhode Islanders possible while balancing the impact on the grid, coastal areas, and rural access.
Existing charging stations have been deployed across the state over the past 10 years. About 300 publicly accessible charging stations in the state are operated by different public and private entities. As of the summer of 2022, there are almost 6,000 electric vehicles in Rhode Island.
The Resilient Rhode Island Act established the Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council (EC4) in 2014. It also sets specific greenhouse gas reduction targets; establishes two advisory bodies, the EC4 Advisory Board and the EC4 Science and Technical Advisory Board, to assist the Council; and incorporates consideration of climate change impacts into the powers and duties of all state agencies. The legislation emphasizes the concept of resilience, building on our collective strength to develop practical solutions that allow Rhode Island to “weather the storm.”
On April 14, 2021, Governor Dan McKee signed into law the 2021 Act on Climate, which sets mandatory, enforceable climate emissions reduction goals leading the state to achieve net-zero emissions economy-wide by 2050. This legislation updates the previous 2014 Resilient Rhode Island Act, positioning the state to boldly address climate change and prepare for a global economy that will be shifting to adapt to clean technology.
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