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Infrastructure bill has money to help North Carolina expand electric vehicle charging

Electric vehicle charging stations at the city-county parking deck in Charlotte.
David Boraks
Electric vehicle charging stations at the city-county parking deck in Charlotte.

The $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that passed a final vote in Congress o n Friday will help speed up electric vehicle adoption in North Carolina.

The bill provides $7.5 billion nationwide over five years, inclu ding $109 million in North Carolina, to expand electric vehicle charging stations. North Carolina governments and organizations also can compete for another $2.5 billion in grants available nationwide for vehicle charging.

Stan Cross of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy said the money could help address North Carolina's lack of a wide-reaching network.

"There is a focus on equitable disbursement of this charging infrastructure, getting it to the places where it's needed, including our rural communities, as well as low- to moderate-income and other traditionally underserved communities across the country and across our state," Cross said.

Transportation is the state's second - largest source of greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. Nort h Caroli na and the South overall lag other parts of the country when it comes to adoption of electric vehicles. Drivers say concern about vehicle range and charging are the biggest barriers.

To get the federal funding, Nort h Caro lina must submit a detailed plan deploying charging stations, said Carly Olexik , a spo kespers on for the state D epart me nt of Tra n s por tati on.

"NCDOT will work collaboratively with other state agencies, including the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality and Department of Administration, to develop this plan," Olexik said.

She said the additional grants are available to a variety of applicants, including state and local governments and regional planning agencies. Olexik said 50% of the grant funding will go to communities, "with priority given to rural areas, low and moderate-income households, communities with limited private parking, or high rates of multi-unit dwellings."

The bill is now awaiting President Joe Biden's signature.

Copyright 2021 WFAE

David Boraks is a WFAE weekend host and a producer for "Charlotte Talks." He's a veteran Charlotte-area journalist who has worked part-time at WFAE since 2007 and for other outlets including DavidsonNews.net and The Charlotte Observer.