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ODOT all-in on transportation electrification

The Oregon Department of Transportation is committing $100 million over the next five years to build out Oregon’s public electric vehicle charging network on several major road corridors, and to increase access for all to EV charging in communities throughout the state.

The funding comes from a mix of federal and state sources and was approved by the Oregon Transportation Commission March 30.

About two-thirds of the funding – $52 million from the 2021 federal infrastructure bill plus a required 20% match – must be spent on EV charging infrastructure along “Alternative Fuel Corridors,” as per guidance from the Federal Highway Administration.

Alternative Fuel Corridors are roads approved by the FHWA on which states may use federal funding to build alternative fuel infrastructure. Oregon has seven corridors approved for federally-funded EV charging: Interstates 5, 84, 82, and U.S. 26, 101, 20 and 97.

ODOT will nominate more corridors for federal approval over the next five years.

The $100 million investment will be focused on charging infrastructure for light-duty EVs like cars, SUVs and trucks because demand is high and the technology is mature.

ODOT isn’t ignoring other types of electric vehicles, however. Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (semi-trucks, delivery vans and buses) and micromobility (bicycles and scooters) are also going electric. The new charging sites will be able to serve some medium-duty vehicles, and ODOT will explore opportunities to add micromobility charging.

Additionally, the 2021 federal infrastructure bill set aside billions in competitive grants for additional EV charging infrastructure, and ODOT will seek federal funding for electric medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.

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