State DOTs Fixing EV Chargers with Federal Funds

Fourteen state departments of transportation are plugging into more than $141 million in Federal Highway Administration grants to repair or replace thousands of electric vehicle or EV charging ports via the Electric Vehicle Charger Reliability and Accessibility Accelerator program.

[Above photo by Caltrans]

The California Department of Transportation – known as Caltrans – leads the list in the amount of money received and will get $63.7 million to put 1,302 EV ports back in service; solidifying California’s role in leading the nation in EV infrastructure development.

California has 43,503 public EV charging ports at 15,571 stations, representing more than 25 percent of all EV infrastructure in the country, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center.

The money “will allow California to continue to lead the nation in zero-emission-vehicle adoption, increasing reliability and cutting planet-warming pollution,” explained Toks Omishakin, secretary of the California State Transportation Agency, in a news release.

Across the country, about 8,700 public charging ports at 4,500 stations are unavailable because of maintenance issues. These grants, under the umbrella of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure or NEVI formula program, will repair or replace almost half of those ports.

As of January 30, there were 162,924 operational public EV charging ports in the country, representing a 26 percent increase from January 2023. The Biden administration’s goal with the NEVI program is to get 500,000 EV chargers online by the end of the decade.

In California, the repaired and replaced chargers will be deployed at existing charging stations in urban and rural areas and along Alternative Fuel Corridors, noted Caltrans Information Officer Nicole Mowers.

“Policies and investments across the state have made California the nation’s leader in electric vehicle deployments, sales percentages, and public charging infrastructure,” she explained. “Actions at the federal level, including historic funding through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and actions in other states are supporting rapid growth in EVs across the country.”

The Indiana Department of Transportation received $778,600 to repair or replace 55 charging ports. INDOT is participating in the program and has partnered with other government and non-profit groups, including Drive Clean Indiana.

“It was a collaborative partnership with INDOT to put in the grant application,” said Ryan Lisek, program director for Drive Clean Indiana. “I think it’s great that, in the heartland of America, we were able to get these funds.”

Although the program was for replacing – not adding – EV charging ports, Indiana will be able to add two ports each at about 20 stations, he noted. The grant guidelines allow for new ports to be added at existing stations if the new ports and parking areas meet accessibility guidelines under the Americans with Disability Act.

Increasing capacity is important for a state like Indiana, which doesn’t have the EV ownership numbers or infrastructure of states like California, Lisek said. Indiana has 6.6 million registered vehicles, but only about 24,000 EVs.

“I think it comes down to, if you want people to come to your home state and you want good paying jobs and have good economic development to attract folks, you need to have this EV infrastructure,” he emphasized. “You want to be able to attract new technology.”

Other state DOTs that received grants for EV charger fixes via this round of grant funding include:

  • New York State Department of Transportation: $13 million for 335 ports
  • Washington State? Department of Transportation: $10.1 million for 560 ports
  • Oregon Department of Transportation: $10 million for 421 ports
  • Colorado Department of Transportation: $8.3 million for 363 ports
  • Illinois Department of Transportation: $7.1 million for 110 ports
  • Hawaii Department of Transportation: $6.9 million for 74 ports
  • New Jersey Department of Transportation: $6 million for 247 ports
  • Pennsylvania Department of Transportation: $5 million for 293 ports
  • Maryland Department of Transportation: $4.4 million for 44 ports
  • Utah Department of Transportation: $3.4 million for 77 ports
  • Michigan Department of Transportation: $1.8 million for 170 ports
  • New Hampshire Department of Transportation: $683,000 for 4 ports

The FHWA’s grant program also awarded $5.3 million to local and regional agencies to repair or replace another 223 ports.

Tennessee DOT Wins 2023 National Pollinator Award

The Tennessee Department of Transportation received the 2023 Pollinator Roadside Management Award from the North American Pollinator Partnership Campaign for its efforts to enact pollinator-friendly roadside practices statewide.

[Above photo by the Tennessee DOT]

The North American Pollinator Partnership Campaign is one of the largest non-profits in the world dedicated to the protection and promotion of pollinators and their ecosystems.

The organization said it recognized Tennessee DOT for its roadside efforts – alongside those of the Partners for Pollinators Working Group – for improving Tennessee’s roadside maintenance practices. Additionally, both the agency and the Working Group were lauded for their public education efforts and pursuit of partnerships to make an ecological impact.

The Tennessee DOT’s Pollinator Habitat Program and the Partners for Pollinators Working Group is a partnership founded in 2019 between four state agencies – Tennessee DOT, along with the Department of Environment & Conservation, Agriculture, and the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency – that also includes state universities and nonprofit partners.

“Pollinators are vitally important to Tennessee’s agriculture and economy,” explained Tennessee DOT Commissioner Butch Eley in a statement. “[We are] proud of the work we’ve done, and the work of our partners, in bringing about better management of roadsides and informing the public about the critical threat to pollinators.”

The Tennessee DOT also noted it recently fulfilled all of its initial milkweed seed orders for the inaugural year of Project Milkweed. That project – launched in June 2023 – is a mail-order resource aimed at restoring landscapes and preserving habitats for monarch butterflies and other pollinator species statewide.

The agency said it distributed a total of 779,601 Red Milkweed and Common Milkweed seed packets statewide as of December 27, 2023; fulfilling orders placed by 130,903 state residents.

Tennessee DOT said Project Milkweed will return in June 2024 with another 250,000 milkweed seed packets available free for state residents upon request.

Environmental News Highlights – February 7, 2024


FHWA Releases Grants for Electric Truck Chargers -Transport Topics

US politicians unite across party lines over e-bike battery regulation -Cycling Weekly

Can a National Zoning Atlas Chart a Way Out of the US Housing Crisis? –CityLab

FAA Announces Nearly $250 Million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Funding to Modernize Airports in 37 States -FAA (media release)

To fight climate change, micromobility is a better option than overpriced transit projects -The Hill (opinion)



NCDOT Seeks Information on New Mobility Technologies -AASHTO Journal

Maps, data show how near-term climate change could affect major port cities on America’s East Coast -CBS News

Arizona DOT seeks bids to construct 21 electric vehicle charging stations -Queen Creek Sun Times

Climate change is causing a pothole plague. Are robots and self-healing pavement the solution? -BBC News



Truck Makers Launch Zero-Emission Infrastructure Coalition -Transport Topics



Equity Engagement for Transportation Agencies -AASHTO Journal (video)

Meet the woman in charge of Chicago’s fight against pollution, environmental injustice -WLS-TV

Montana State University Gets $10M for Tribal, Rural Energy and Environmental Justice -Native News Online



FAA: Bird strikes growing concern for commercial, private aircraft –InvestigateTV

Solar fence stops snow and generates electricity -Minnesota Public Radio

Fish and Wildlife: Restoring coastal wetlands and building coastal resiliency -Dredging Today

Restored Wetland Emits Unexpected Levels of Greenhouse Gas –AzoCleantech


Damage To Ancient Sites May Scuttle Southeast Mesa, Arizona Railway -Queen Creek Tribune


Indiana DOT forwards new rail crossing safety measures -WTHI-TV

Minnesota Awards Active Transportation Grants -KEYC-TV

KDOT Grants Funding Active Transportation Alternatives -WDAF-TV

$500M Dallas transportation bond proposal devotes less than 2% to ‘Vision Zero’ road safety plan -KXAS-TV

Biking In Cities Can Be So Complicated, And Map Apps Can Only Help So Much –Marketplace

Transit Desperately Needs Innovation. Why Pick on Microtransit? -CityLab (perspective)


Container Port Landside Congestion Experiences and Solutions -TRB (webinar)

An Emergency Management Playbook for State Transportation Agencies –NCHRP

Traffic safety for all road users: A paired comparison study of small & mid-sized U.S. cities with high/low bicycling rate -Journal of Cycling and Micromobility Research


Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision for the Earthquake Ready Burnside Bridge Project -FHWA (Notice)

Notice of Availability: Joint Development Circular C 7050.1C and Response to Comments -FTA (Notice)

Shipping Safety Fairways Environmental Impact Public Scoping Meetings -Coast Guard (Notice)

Air Plan Approval; Florida; Revisions to the State Implementation Plan Conformity Rule -EPA (Proposed rule)

Public Meeting of the Advisory Council for Climate Adaptation Science -U.S. Geological Survey (Notice)

Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail Advisory Council; Withdrawal -USDA (Notice of meeting; withdrawal)