Since 2016, PennDOT has worked with the federal government and several stakeholders to designate numerous interstates for the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Alternative Fuel Corridor (AFC) Program.
The AFC Program is designed to expand the nation's alternative fueling network for electric, hydrogen, propane, and natural gas vehicles. PennDOT has been particularly interested in increasing the availability of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure by taking our corridors from "pending" to "ready." A corridor is marked as pending when public DC fast charging (DCFC) stations are separated by more than 50 miles and is marked as ready when those DCFC gaps are within 50 miles of one another. Locations must also be within five miles of the highway exits. Currently, our state has 692 Interstate miles in "ready" status and 1,051 miles in "pending" status.
To move more miles from pending to ready, Pennsylvania was selected by FHWA to participate in two AFC Deployment Grant projects along the I-78/I-81 and I-80 corridors. Analysis has been completed for the I-81/I-78 project to identify gaps between existing infrastructure and prioritize locations to ensure those gaps are filled.
Since charging an EV can take 30 minutes or more, analysis of potential charging sites included locations that have amenities of interest to travelers, such dining, retail, and convenience shopping. In addition, funding opportunities and outreach materials (PDF) were developed to leverage external stakeholders and private partners to develop charging infrastructure. The I-80 project is ongoing with Illinois DOT leading the project with the I-80 states from New Jersey to the Iowa/Nevada border.