PennDOT to begin accepting applications for electric vehicle infrastructure grants

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said it will begin accepting applications for Round 1 of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Grant Program on March 27. 

The applications will be accepted through 5 p.m. May 5. 

As part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, PennDOT will receive and distribute $171.5 million in federal formula funds for electric vehicle charging infrastructure over the next five years.  

For the Round 1 funding, PennDOT has advanced appropriations of $25.4 million for federal fiscal year 2022 and $36.5 million for 2023.  

Around $56 million is expected to be available for applicants. The PA NEVI grant program is a reimbursement grant program and applicants are required to provide a minimum 20% match. 

Funds for the PA NEVI grant program are to be awarded on a competitive basis to plan, design, construct, operate, and maintain EV Station Infrastructure sites across Pennsylvania. 

“We’ve aligned our NEVI grant program to Federal Highway Administration’s final rulemaking to ensure the best possible strategy and success for Pennsylvania,” said Acting PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll. “Our grant program will enhance Pennsylvania’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure while supporting local communities.” 

PennDOT said that while most entities are eligible to receive NEVI funds; however, it anticipates most applicants will be public-sector entities, incorporated nonprofit entities, and corporations or business entities registered to do business in Pennsylvania. 

The focus will be on building out the AFC network along the interstates to meet the NEVI requirements. 

All applications must be submitted electronically through PA Department of Community and Economic Development’s eGrants system at https://www.esa.dced.state.pa.us/Login.aspx.  

PennDOT to distribute $171.5 million in funding for electric vehicle charging

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) will receive and distribute $171.5 million in formula funds for electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure over the next five years as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). Funding for National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) in the first federal fiscal year is $25,4 million, and grantees will be required to provide a minimum 20 percent match.

Resources are available to help businesses and organizations to prepare in advance of the NEVI Notice of Funding Opportunity, PennDOT announced. The funding opportunity is expected to be announced in late December 2022 or early January 2023.

PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian said the NEVI program will help Pennsylvania build out its EV charging infrastructure.

“As this is a new program for Pennsylvania and the nation at large,” said Gramian, “we want to give our partners and businesses as much opportunity as possible to prepare for application submission to support our efforts of transparency and equity.”

Information regarding applicant eligibility, eligible projects, and costs both eligible and ineligible is included in the NEVI Grant pre-announcement resources. An interactive map identifying existing AFC-qualifying stations and grouped interchanges based on priority through a gap analysis has also been created by PennDOT. Businesses and organizations seeking recommendations on preparing for the grant opening can review the “How to Get Ready” section on PennDOT’s website.

An informational webinar on the 2022 NEVI Grant Program will be hosted by PennDOT on Tuesday, November 1, 2022, from 10 AM to noon. Aimed at audiences interested in applying for the NEVI grant program, the webinar will provide information on eligibility, types of projects funded, how to apply, eligible and non-eligible costs, and application best practices.

NEVI stakeholder sessions featuring an opportunity to expand professional connections and partnership are being held across the state. Individuals interested in the sessions can register on PennDOT’s “Learn About NEVI” webpage.

As Pennsylvania has more than 1,800 miles of designated Alternative Fuel Corridors (AFC), NEVI grant funding will support both the commonwealth and federal goal of expanding EV charging along AFCs and interstate lookalikes. NEVI formula funds must first be used to build out AFCs and meet U.S. DOT standards and requirements, per guidance from U.S. DOT.

Pennsylvania’s traveler information system – 511PA – includes EV charging station locations on its traffic map. This system is designed to enhance traveler information for EV drivers and lists locations across the commonwealth by connector type, including CCS, J1722, CHAdeMO, Tesla, and NEMA.

Individuals interested in additional information on NEVI funds in Pennsylvania or reviewing PennDOT’s announcement resources can visit the PennDOT website at penndot.pa.gov.

PennDOT accepting applications for multimodal transportation project funding

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is accepting applications to fund transportation improvement projects under the Multimodal Transportation Fund (MTF).  

Applications will be accepted through Nov. 14. 

Eligible applicants include municipalities, council of governments, business/non-profit organizations, economic development organizations, public transportation agencies, public airports, airport authorities, and ports and rail entities. 

“Transportation needs to work for everyone,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “The MTF helps support projects that keep people safe and connected, no matter who they are or how they travel.” 

 Projects that will be considered should coordinate local land use with transportation assets to enhance existing communities; improve streetscape, lighting, sidewalk facilities, and pedestrian safety; improve connectivity or utilization of existing transportation assets; or advance transit-oriented-development.  

Projects are selected based on safety benefits, regional economic conditions, technical and financial feasibility, job creation, energy efficiency, and operational sustainability. 

In the 2022-2023 fiscal year, 56 projects were awarded $47.8 million in MTF funding throughout 28 counties, including the replacement of Green Mountain Drive Bridge, which was the subject of significant structural concern in Smithfield Township, Monroe County;  

 PennDOT expects to announce grant recipients next year, and funding will become available in July 2023. 

For more information about the program and previous years’ applications and awards, visit www.penndot.pa.gov and click on “Multimodal Program” under the “Projects & Programs” menu. 

Could passenger rail service return to the Lehigh Valley

Could passenger rail service return to the Lehigh Valley? The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is continuing its efforts to find out. 

PennDOT has announced that it is funding a study to determine what it would take to bring passenger rail travel back to the Lehigh Valley. 

The announcement comes as the $1.2 trillion federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) allocates $66 billion into improving and enhancing passenger rail service nationwide. 

It’s not, of course, the first time the Lehigh Valley has studied the passenger rail issue.  

Back in 2010, Lehigh and Northampton counties and the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. funded an analysis of what it would take to create a “Pennsylvania Component” of New Jersey Transit’s Raritan Valley line from central New Jersey.  

The report found that it would cost $650-$710 million in infrastructure costs and would need ongoing annual subsidies of about $11.6 million.  

However, unlike that 2010 study, this new study will meet Federal Railroad Administration standards, a step necessary for the consideration of adding new routes to the system. 

Speaking at a meeting of the Lehigh Valley Transportation Study, PennDOT Deputy Secretary Jennie A. Louwerse said the comprehensive study would determine the costs, ridership potential and ongoing expenses that would come from creating a passenger rail connection that would help riders travel beyond the Lehigh Valley region. 

“The great thing about the Infrastructure Law is that it allows us to take a look at what it takes to reinstate [passenger rail] service,” Louwerse said to the LVTS. “…I believe this study will provide a solid foundation for the Lehigh Valley to know what do we need to do to make this happen.” 

Louwerse said the study would likely start in the next two months and take about a year. . 

It was estimated that building a Lehigh Valley rail extension would take at least a decade. 

Pennsylvania currently has passenger rail provided by SEPTA, the Port Authority of Allegheny County and Amtrak, which runs a Pennsylvania line that stretches from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia and a Keystone Service line running from Harrisburg to Philadelphia. Both of those Amtrak routes continue to New York City. 


Public input sought on plans to toll I-78 Lenhartsville bridge

Should the I-78 bridge in Lenhartsville be tolled? 

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is seeking public input on its plans to replace the Lenhartsville Bridge, including the option of adding tolling to the bridge to help pay for its reconstruction. 

 The I-78 Lenhartsville Bridge Replacement Project is a candidate for bridge tolling through the Major Bridge Public-Private Partnership (MBP3) Initiative, as part of the PennDOT Pathways Program. The Pathways program seeks to identify potential alternative funding solutions for transportation in the state.  

Under the initiative, tolls collected would be used for the replacement bridges’ construction, maintenance and operation. 

Because of the community input PennDOT has already received, as well as continued project analysis, PennDOT said that it is only looking to pursue westbound tolling at this bridge. 

 The in-person Public Hearing will take place from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. May 19 at the Kempton Community Center at 83 Community Center Dr. 

An open house display on the project will begin at 3:30 p.m. with public testimony starting at 4:30 p.m. All materials that will be presented during the open house, including a project overview, maps, low-income tolling details, diversion route improvements and EA documents, will be available online from May 4 to June 3, 2022. 

 The I-78 Lenhartsville Bridge, which crosses Maiden Creek in Greenwich Township, is aging and does not meet current design standards according to PennDOT.  

The proposed project involves replacing the existing bridge to address the poor structural condition, and to widen it to accommodate acceleration and deceleration lanes and full inside and outside shoulders in each direction.