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State approves nearly $2 billion plan to improve transportation infrastructure: 'Making sure [the] communities most in need have better access'

The lead commissioner for transportation heralded the plan as beneficial for all residents.

The lead commissioner for transportation heralded the plan as beneficial for all residents.

Photo Credit: iStock

California is about to get a lot more electric vehicle chargers. A new $1.9 billion investment plan that will result in 40,000 new chargers statewide has been approved by the California Energy Commission. 

Considering 94,000 public and shared private chargers are already installed, that's a big upgrade. Including other investment plans and funding from the federal government, California expects to reach 250,000 chargers statewide in the next few years, well over double the current amount.

The money will be distributed via competitive grants.

Patty Monahan, CEC's lead commissioner for transportation, heralded the plan as good for Californians on two fronts: giving them more access to EV charging and reducing air pollution from the traditional gas-powered vehicles that EVs are meant to replace.

"We need to make sure that this is zero emission refueling infrastructure for everybody. By investing a bulk of funds to benefit low-income and disadvantaged communities, the state is making sure communities most in need have better access to chargers and less pollution from trucks and buses," Monahan said

According to one report from the American Lung Association, if gas-powered cars were replaced by electric vehicles in the United States by 2035, there would be 89,300 fewer premature deaths due to the amount of air pollution that burning gasoline produces. There would also be 2.2 million fewer asthma attacks.

As it would happen, California has also banned the sale of new gas-powered cars starting in 2035. (New Jersey has made a similar commitment.)

According to an assessment approved by the CEC, California will have 7.1 million EVs on the road in 2030, requiring 1 million chargers, and 15.2 million EVs in 2035, requiring 2.1 million chargers.

So, while $1.9 billion for 40,000 new chargers may seem like a lot, the Golden State is really just getting started.

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