Federal Grant Awarded To Plan Regional Electric Vehicle Network

TRENTON – A coalition of Northeastern states, including New Jersey, has received a nearly $1 million federal grant to jump start planning for a network of electrical vehicle charging stations, an initiative that will spur job creation and use of electric vehicles, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin announced today.

The U.S. Department of Energy grant to the Transportation and Climate Initiative, comprised of 11 states plus the District of Columbia, will accelerate the development of charging stations throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region, benefiting the region environmentally by reducing pollution from vehicles.

“Improving air quality in New Jersey is a top priority of the Christie Administration,” said Martin. “But in addition to helping us reduce auto emissions and improving the health of our residents, this new network will provide an economic boost to the state through the creation of new green jobs in research and production of electric cars and electric vehicle infrastructure.”

The ultimate goal of the Initiative’s Northeast Electric Vehicle Network is twofold. First, to ensure that motorists can drive electric vehicles with ease locally and region-wide, from northern New England to the District of Columbia. Second, by creating consistent rules and standards across the entire region, the initiative seeks to attract private sector investment and encourage development of an electric vehicle market. This would benefit consumers by making the electric vehicle experience common, standardized, and easy to use. It would also benefit the electric vehicle industry, by simplifying regulations, building codes and permitting processes.

The Northeast Electric Vehicle Network project will develop a plan and accompanying guidance documents for the introduction of the network of charging stations. The parent Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), meanwhile, will work with the region’s Clean Cities Coalitions to bring together stakeholders to discuss the concept, adapt documents to local audiences, and convey the benefits of a regional approach to local policymakers.

New Jersey signed a declaration of intent in June 2010 to participate in the TCI. Other members are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and the District of Columbia. It was the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority that submitted that grant application for the Electric Vehicle Network project.

The NJ Sierra Club was skeptical about the announcement, saying that the Christie Administration is blocking legislation that would help promote the use of electric vehicles.

“While the state receives money to plan for electric vehicle charging stations, will any actually be built since they are opposing legislation that would help build these stations. The package of bills that they are blocking will create jobs and protect our environment. Instead of a win, win for New Jersey we have a lose, lose,” said NJ Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel.

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