Helping Vulnerable Communities Access Federal Charging Funds

March 18, 2022

By: Jeff Allen

The recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, includes $7.5 billion over five years in funding for electric vehicle charging infrastructure. This is the first major federal investment in charging, and includes $5 billion to be allocated to all states based on formulas set by Congress, as well as $2.5 billion for competitive grants that cities, regional governments, tribes, and states may apply for, to fund community-based charging projects. 

The USDOE and USDOT have created a joint office that will guide the distribution of these funds and set standards for federal investments in charging. With support from General Motors, Forth has launched a new initiative to ensure that this money is spent quickly, effectively, and in ways that center equity. 

Forth received a grant of $500,000 from GM’s Climate Fund to enable us to help communities access $2.5 billion in competitive federal funding. This grant will fund Forth’s programs to support underserved communities nationwide in applying for federal funds that can help eliminate charging deserts.

Forth, which has extensive experience with crafting successful grant proposals for transportation electrification, will provide education and training as well as hands-on technical assistance to communities that want help in developing and submitting proposals. 

General Motors established the Climate Fund to help close equity gaps in the transition to electric vehicles and other sustainable technology. General Motors recently doubled the Climate Equity Fund’s size, to a total of $50 million.  In 2021 it supported 21 nonprofit organizations that are helping to implement inclusive solutions for a zero-emissions, carbon-neutral future.

Creating Tools and Templates

Forth will develop a series of publicly available tools and grant application templates that communities can use to develop effective proposals that equitably accelerate access to charging and electric cars in key areas and applications, such as

  • Charging for apartment renters, particularly in affordable housing

  • Charging for workplaces, particularly blue-collar, and service sector employers

  • Charging that will affordably serve gig divers, taxis, and similar high mileage vehicles

  • Charging in rural areas to eliminate "charging deserts"

  • Charging in the public right of way to serve those without off-street parking

  • Charging that is matched with shared electric vehicles serving underserved communities

  • Charging that supports fleets, particularly for public organizations and nonprofits

  • "Model community" programs that combine and integrate multiple approaches above

Education and Training

Forth will also provide education and training to transportation program staff in cities, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), and states; to federal officials and other decision makers for whom this is new terrain, and equip them with the tools and information to put the funds to good use quickly. 

Forth will:

  • Organize and conduct a national workshop prior to the 2022 Forth Roadmap Conference to bring together key stakeholders from Federal, City and State transportation agencies, Clean Cities Coalitions, and community-based organizations

  • Create and curate freely available recorded online content and resources to help historically underserved communities develop effective EV charging programs 

  • Implement an outreach campaign to raise awareness with State, City and Regional transportation officials that charging funds are available 

Assistance to Frontline Communities

Forth will provide hands-on technical assistance to help low-income, rural and tribal communities secure federal charging funds for programs that center equity to align local transportation electrification efforts with community priorities and needs. 

Forth will:

  • Reach out to and engage with historically underserved communities and cities that are interested in funding for equitable charging programs 

  • Connect equity-focused project proponents with other key stakeholders such as charging providers, local utilities, car companies, and foundations 

  • Partner with historically underserved communities to assess local needs, develop partnerships, and collaboratively develop and submit at least 10 proposals 

  • Assist winning communities launch successful programs and build local capacity to implement robust, sustainable charging programs

Forth is honored by the trust the General Motors Climate Fund has placed in our endeavors to aid the equitable distribution of federal charging investments. This program aligns with Forth’s continuous efforts to increase equitable access to charging that will pave the way for increased EV adoption and accelerate transportation electrification. 

Helping Vulnerable Communities Access Federal Charging Funds
The recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, includes $7.5 billion over five years in funding for electric vehicle charging infrast...