By Terri Jo Neff |
State transportation officials are celebrating that the Federal Highway Administration has approved Arizona’s Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment Plan, one of the first states in the country to receive approval.
The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) announced the news Thursday after its draft proposal was submitted in August. The approval of “AZ EV Plan” means $11.3 million of $75.6 million allocated for Arizona in the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will be made immediately available to ADOT.
Another $16.3 million will be released to Arizona in October, with the remainder available over the next five years to support AZ EV Plan.
With the approval in hand, ADOT can now solicit and award contracts to upgrade existing electric vehicle stations as well as develop new locations along designated alternative fuel corridors. The plan calls for charging stations to be no more than 50 miles apart wherever possible, according to ADOT.
Some goals of AZ EV Plan is to reduce “range anxiety” for drivers of electric vehicles by closing gaps in the charging network. The plan currently designates the five federal interstate highways which cross Arizona (I-8, I-10, I-15, I-17, and I-19) as alternative fuel corridors.
Those interstates account for more than 20 percent of all vehicle miles traveled in Arizona, ADOT says. The AZ EV Plan is also focused on ensuring the network is resilient, equitable, accessible, and reliable.
Advertising for bids to upgrade existing stations will begin in Spring 2023 with bid solicitations for new construction projects in Autumn 2023. In many cases, stations will be located close to existing infrastructure such as truck stops, roadside lodging, restaurants, and shopping centers.
Other non-interstate corridors will be determined and included in the plan in future years. The next update to the plan is set to occur in August 2023.