The city of Atlanta has applied for a grant that would help with the construction of electric vehicle chargers at up to 20 Fulton County libraries, among other locations.
The city’s Office of Sustainability and Resilience received a letter of support toward the Federal Highway Administration grant from Fulton commissioners May 17.
“In addition to reducing vehicle-related emissions, the funding will target low-income, disadvantaged, and underserved communities,” says the commission agenda item, which was approved 6-0.
The grant would come through the federal Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. The city is seeking a minimum of $15 million to build fast-charging stations across the city.
“We have a number of priority locations” including parks and other public sites, said Chandra Farley, Atlanta’s chief sustainability officer. “That was one of the reasons that we reached out to Fulton County to engage as well, as they have been looking at their libraries to deploy publicly accessible charging.”
To qualify for the grant, Atlanta needs to partner with another entity that will cover 20% of the cost, according to Joe Davis, director of the county’s Department of Real Estate and Asset Management. A subsidiary of oil company BP agreed to do that, but wanted the county to sign on as well to improve the grant’s chances, he told commissioners.
The network of community chargers would fit into larger initiatives, Farley said. One is a parallel federal program to put charging stations along highway corridors. Another is Fulton County’s own initiative, approved in October, to install charging stations at county-owned facilities whenever it’s feasible.
The application is due June 13, but it will probably be late summer before the city knows if the grant is approved.
“As soon as we received notice of an award, we would be getting started right away,” Farley said.
The grant would aim to install Level 3 chargers, which can power up cars to 80% in about 40 minutes. Each location would have a minimum of two charging ports.
The charger locations will be targeted for traditionally disadvantaged communities under the federal Justice40 initiative, which requires at least 40% of the benefits from some federal programs go to disadvantaged communities.
Even as the infrastructure and market for electric vehicles grow, other ways to cut greenhouse emissions remain vital, Farley said. A sustainable community needs a “full ecosystem of transit options,” from more accessible mass transit to improved biking and walking ability, she said.