It’s Electric! Legislative Actions on EV Charging Infrastructure

August 25, 2023

As the transportation system becomes increasingly electric, the State of Utah has taken several preparatory actions including funding planning efforts and installation projects for electric vehicle charging stations. Multiple factors are driving this transition to “electric avenue” including Federal actions, market demand, and air quality on the Wasatch Front. Frequently cited as a barrier to electric vehicle adoption is ‘range anxiety,’ or the fear of being stranded between destinations without a plug-in to utilize. The list below includes legislative funding actions according to session that have incrementally worked to improve the electric vehicle network in the state of Utah: 

2018 General Session 

  • Intent language allowed the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) to expend up to $200,000 Transportation Fund to partner with other entities to expand availability of infrastructure for emerging vehicle technology (House Bill 3, Item 137). UDOT leveraged this funding to apply for a grant from the Volkswagen settlement proceeds for $1.2 million, plus $160,000 in Rocky Mountain Power incentives. The total funding of $1.56 million was used to create a project to install fast DC chargers in 11 locations, and two of the locations (Price City and Kane County) now own and operate the chargers.  

2019 General Session 

  • $4.99 million one-time to the Division of Air Quality from the General Fund for incentives for businesses and government entities to install electric vehicle charging equipment. 
  • $2.0 million one-time to the Department of Government Operations from the General Fund for the installation of electric vehicle charging stations at state-owned facilities. 

2020 General Session 

2022 General Session 

  • $3.0 million one-time to the Office of Energy Development from the General Fund for a for a matching grant program for electric co-operatives to implement EV infrastructure in rural Utah.
  • $127,700 ongoing to the Division of Air Quality from the Clean Fuel Conversion Fund to implement S.B. 188, “Energy Efficiency Amendments,” which expanded the Clean Fuels and Emission Reduction Technology Program to include grants and loans for electric vehicle fleets for businesses and electric charging stations. 
  • $15.0 million one-time to Utah State University (USU) from the Income Tax Fund for the ASPIRE program for electric vehicle charging and grid research.  
  • $18.0 million one-time from to USU the Income Tax Fund for research and development of electric mass transit and air quality effects. 

2023 General Session 

Electrification of Transportation Infrastructure Steering Committee 

S.B. 125 from the 2023 General Session also created the Electrification of Transportation Infrastructure Steering Committee to provide direction for the ASPIRE electric transportation system project director. The steering committee is comprised of relevant state agency heads and program directors, representatives from large transit districts and power providers, and the chair of the Industry Advisory Board (also authorized in the bill). The Industry Advisory Board may include representatives from 11 different named sectors, with discretion given to ASPIRE to add additional expertise as necessary. The purpose of the Industry Advisory Board is to assist the project director in implementing strategic planning and to contribute to the program’s annual report with industry insights. The Electrification of Transportation Infrastructure Steering Committee has already met twice this interim. 

National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program 

In addition to state resources, Congress passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which included the creation of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) formula grant program. UDOT has received $12.1 million to date and expects to receive $6.7 million each year for the next three years. The NEVI formula grant requires matching funds, which UDOT hopes to receive from private partners. Federal program administrators require that the first phase of the plan fill EV charging gaps on Utah’s interstates and alternative fuel corridors (US-6 & US-191), which has yielded 15 site areas: 

  • Bluff; 
  • Cove Fort; 
  • Crescent Junction; 
  • Delle; 
  • Ivie Creek Rest & Picnic Area; 
  • Layton/Riverdale; 
  • Moab; 
  • Monticello; 
  • Morgan; 
  • Nephi; 
  • Price/Wellington; 
  • Tie Fork Rest Area; 
  • Thompson Springs; 
  • Tremonton/Ellwood; and 
  • US-40/US-80 Junction.