Maryland plans to use a $15 million federal grant to install 58 new electric vehicle charging stations around the state, with a focus on underserved communities, Gov. Wes Moore and the state’s two U.S. senators announced Friday.
The new EV infrastructure will add to a total of roughly 170,000 EV charging stations available across the United States, according to U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation Polly Trottenberg, who was present for the announcement. President Joe Biden’s administration hopes to increase that number to half a million by 2026, years ahead of their original schedule.
“We as an administration are going to reject this false choice that says the transition to clean energy is either going to be effective or equitable — it’s going to be both,” said Moore, a Democrat. “We see a future that is greener, that’s cleaner, that’s more sustainable, that’s more prosperous, and it’s a future that sees everybody.”
Moore also highlighted a workforce development partnership with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers to create 600 new certified electricians who can service the charging stations.
U.S. Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin both offered remarks congratulating local and federal officials for their work on transitioning to more climate-friendly roadways.
Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld said that the state should reach 100,000 EV registrations by the end of January.
Anthony L. Jenkins, president of Coppin State University, where the announcement was made, said that the EV chargers being installed at his institution’s campus as well as across the state represent “progress and motion.”
The grant funding represents the latest investment funneled to Maryland through Biden’s 2021 infrastructure bill. The trillion-dollar-plus legislation has poured money into the state for initiatives ranging from transit improvements and traffic calming to major railway upgrades and more.
Gabe Klein, executive director for the Joint Office on Energy and Transportation, which was created by the 2021 infrastructure bill, was bullish on EV sales and efforts to make them more affordable for lower-income households. He mentioned a variety of tax credits available to consumers, including a $4,000 credit for used EVs and $7,500 for new cars that will soon be available at point of sale.
In 2023, Moore outlined a goal of eliminating the sale of nonelectric vehicles in Maryland by 2035 Though the cost of EVs has come down considerably in recent years, many of the vehicles with the lowest ticket prices are gas-powered. Here in Baltimore, roughly 1 in 3 residents lack access to a car, electric or not.
At the state level, officials in the Moore administration hope to work with the private sector to make EVs more accessible sooner. And there was a 25% drop in cost for EV’s in 2023, according to Klein, who wants to get the word out to more low-income families that purchasing a new or used EV could be within their budgets, thanks to the tax credits.
Moore and lawmakers used the EV announcement to tout their commitment to investing in clean energy and fighting climate change. Both Moore and Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott referenced this week’s storm, which brought intense flooding and power outages across the state, as a clear sign that climate change is here and posing a serious challenge, particularly for vulnerable, marginalized communities.
“You have to be able to invest in resilient infrastructure to be able to deal with the kind of weather conditions that we continue to have,” Moore said. “And so when there’s a big storm, it can take weeks for our low-lying and oftentimes our low-income communities to recover from that.”
“Our city, just like cities across the country, are going to have to confront that climate change and build our resiliencies in ways both large and small to make sure that everyone is doing their part to make the world more resilient and better for the generations coming behind,” Scott said.
As the General Assembly gets underway in Annapolis, some state lawmakers also have climate change on their minds.
Friday afternoon, state Del. Mark Edelson outlined his Transportation Climate Alignment Act, which would legally require the implementation of environmental mitigation measures for any highway widening project in the state deemed to potentially increase car travel and greenhouse gas emissions.
Edelson was joined by a panel that included Miguel Moravec of the Rocky Mountain Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research body dedicated to climate change. Moravec said that transportation is the largest contributor to climate pollution in Maryland, and that the state’s DOT is currently not on track to reach the greenhouse gas reduction goals it set for 2031.
More information about Maryland EV charging network can be found here.
Earlier Friday morning, Moore and the senators were on the other side of town to announce a separate $80 million federal grant to the Maryland Transportation Authority, which oversees the state’s toll roads and facilities, for upgrades to ease roadway congestion on the Interstate 895 Baltimore Harbor Tunnel.