FHWA Considers Guidance To Commercialize Rest Stops For Transportation Electrification

The Biden Administration’s broad-based attempts to fully electrify transportation continued Wednesday, when Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Acting Administrator Stephanie Pollack reported the Administration will issue guidance on how states may be able to get around the current prohibition of commercialization of rest stops so that electric charging stations can be installed on the federal right of ways surrounding highways.

Pollack added that the Administration has “got some work to do on changing both regulations and possibly law to reimagine the right-of-way that we own in communities throughout the United States of America, so it can be part of America’s green infrastructure.”

She reported that FHWA plans to work with EPA beyond just the designated alternative fuel corridors, but also on efforts to speed the use of electric vehicles.

Energy marketers have fought efforts to commercialize rest stops for over a decade and we will continue to fight these attempts which could destroy some businesses located off exits along the federal highway system.

In addition, this month FHWA awarded $18.7 million in “Surface Transportation System Funding Alternatives” (STSFA) grants to eight projects, led by six state Departments of Transportation and two transportation coalitions, to test new user-based funding methods for highways and bridges.

The “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation” (FAST) Act directs the FHWA to establish the STSFA grant program to let states demonstrate new fee-based revenue mechanisms that could supplement the Highway Trust Fund.

Among other things, the STSFA program requires applicants to address equity concerns, such as the fees’ impacts on differing income groups and geographic areas.

Since 2016, the STSFA grant program has provided $73.7 million to 37 projects. It funds projects that test the design, implementation and acceptance of user-based systems, such as a mileage-based fee.

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