The Oregon Department of Transportation is all in on transportation electrification.
The agency 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 at their March 30 meeting.
Amanda Pietz, administrator for ODOT’s Policy, Data & Analysis Division, said more EV charging infrastructure will help motivate Oregonians to choose an EV for their next car, SUV or bicycle.
“We know that range anxiety is a big factor in people’s reluctance to make the switch to electric vehicles, especially in more rural parts of the state,” said Pietz. “This investment will build Oregonians’ confidence that an EV can fit into their life and get them where they need to go.”
Electrifying Oregon’s transportation system is a key outcome in ODOT’s Strategic Action Plan, and part of the state’s push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation and address the climate change crisis.
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. Electricity is an alternative fuel, and 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 remaining third of the money — $36 million — will be used to close EV infrastructure gaps beyond those seven corridors. More charging sites in rural and urban areas, underserved communities, and at apartment complexes will allow more Oregonians to charge where they live, work, and play.