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Feds award Texas $100 million in funding for EV and hydrogen infrastructure

Local and federal transportation officials pose for a photo next to an EV charging station in Oak Cliff.
Pablo Arauz Peña
Local and federal transportation officials are celebrating a $100 million federal investment from the Department of Transportation for EV infrastructure in Texas.

North Texas transportation officials are celebrating a major funding announcement for cleaner fuel infrastructure that will have statewide impacts as the region moves towards its low-emission goals.

The Department of Transportation earlier this month awarded Texas $100 million to expand a network of EV charging stations across the state.

"This charging and fueling infrastructure program is going to fill gaps in the national charging networks by investing in electric vehicle charging in communities, including low and moderate income neighborhoods," said DoT Under Secretary Carlos Monje.

Breaking it down, $15 million is going towards building 100 electric vehicle chargers across 16 North Texas counties. Another $70 million is going to build up to five hydrogen fueling stations across major cities in Texas.

Monje said those hydrogen fueling stations will create a network for medium to heavy-duty freight trucks that travel through the state. Hydrogen fuel is steadily growing in use as a cleaner alternative to traditional fossil fuels, although critics say it's still not viable because producing it can require non-renewable energy resources.

Still, Monje added the projects are going to reduce carbon pollution by hundreds of millions of kilograms. The historic funding in Texas will help the nation achieve its goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

"These investments are going to have the potential to significantly address the transportation sector's outsized contributions to climate change," Monje said.

The funding comes from the Federal Highway Administration’s Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) Discretionary Grant Program, which was made possible by the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The funding is also a step towards achieving the Biden administration's goal of building half a million electric vehicle charging stations nationwide by 2030. Monje said the funding puts the nation on track to hit that goal in four years.

The federal investment is welcome news for Michael Morris, transportation director for the North Central Texas Council of Governments.

"We believe this will be a game changer and not just [for] the environmental benefits that we all seek but [for] next generation economic development for all of Texas," Morris said.

Dallas city council member Omar Narvaez touted the region's collaboration in applying for the funding and its alignment with the city's Comprehensive Environmental & Climate Action Plan.

"We didn't do it as a city by ourselves, we decided to do something differently that we normally don't do, which is to bring everybody together," Narvaez said.

Monje told KERA that as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law goes into its third year, the DoT will continue implementing projects on the ground. For North Texas, that means there will be more EV charging stations and hydrogen fueling hubs in the coming years.

"We're investing in clean school buses, clean buses, and just enabling the market to get to where, where we think it's going to end up," Monje said.

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Pablo Arauz Peña is the Growth and Infrastructure Reporter for KERA News.