Overview of EV Federal Funding and Financing Programs
Federal funding for electric vehicle infrastructure can be drawn from several sources, including discretionary and formula grant programs, loan financing programs, and tax incentives. The below table provides an overview of these funding types.
Types of Federal Funding and Financing Programs
|Discretionary Grant Funding Programs||For discretionary grant programs, an agency solicits applications and competitively selects projects based on eligibility, evaluation criteria, and departmental or program priorities. Most programs described in this toolkit are discretionary grant programs.|
|Formula Grant Funding Programs||Formula grant programs apportion funding based on formulas in statute. The recipients of these funds can be States, federally recognized Tribal recipients, cities and counties, or transit agencies. Recipients are responsible for determining how the funds are used according to program guidelines. Entities that do not receive formula funding directly (e.g., nonprofits or transportation providers) may be eligible to receive funding from agencies that initially receive the formula grants; this toolkit refers to these entities as “ultimate recipients.”|
|Loan Financing Programs||Credit assistance programs leverage Federal funds to accelerate project delivery when direct funding programs are not readily available or applicable. Public credit assistance programs may also attract private and other non-Federal co-investment for projects. This can take the form of secured (direct) loans, loan guarantees, and lines of credit.|
|Tax Incentives (e.g., credits, exemptions, deductions)||The U.S. tax code contains potential funding sources for individuals, non-governmental organizations, and private organizations in the form of tax incentives. Specifically, exemptions, exclusions, and deductions all reduce an entity’s taxable income, while credits, preferential tax rates, and deferrals decrease tax liability or even generate cash payments from the government to the taxpayer. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is responsible for administering these policies.|
Three agencies administer most Federal funding programs applicable to rural EV infrastructure: the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Energy. Other agencies provide or oversee some potential funding sources for rural EV infrastructure.
The following provides a description of each relevant agency and how its mission relates to rural EV infrastructure.
U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT)
USDOT programs focus on a wide range of rural EV activities and support infrastructure development, energy efficiency, and rural equity. USDOT is separated into 11 operating administrations and bureaus, and many of these have programs related to rural EV activities.
Office of the Secretary of Transportation (OST)
The Office of the Secretary of Transportation provides policy development, oversight, and coordination for the overall planning and direction of USDOT. OST administers some discretionary grant programs.
Build America Bureau
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
The Federal Aviation Administration oversees the safety of civil aviation and operates a network of airport towers, air route traffic control centers, and flight service stations. FAA’s relevant grant programs fund zero-emission land vehicles and charging infrastructure for use at airports.
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
The Federal Highway Administration is responsible for ensuring that the Nation’s roads and highways are safe and technologically up to date. Its relevant funding programs focus on reducing emissions from road vehicles and increasing access to EV infrastructure. FHWA is also responsible for administering formula and discretionary grant programs for EV charging infrastructure established under the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. FHWA can also provide project-specific financing techniques and tools through its Center for Innovative Finance Support.
Federal Transit Administration (FTA)
The Federal Transit Administration helps improve public transportation systems for communities nationwide. FTA’s funding programs are largely focused on providing capital and operating assistance to transit systems. Electrifying transit fleets and related infrastructure are eligible expenses for many FTA programs; charging infrastructure for personally owned vehicles is not an eligible expense for FTA programs.
Maritime Administration (MARAD)
The Maritime Administration supports the waterborne transportation system and the Nation’s maritime infrastructure. MARAD’s relevant grant program funds low-emission land vehicles and charging infrastructure for use at marine ports.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
USDA provides leadership on agriculture, natural resources, and rural development, among other topics. Relevant USDA funding programs are primarily aimed at helping rural and agricultural communities bolster their economies and realize the benefits of the shift toward electric vehicles. Most USDA programs in this toolkit are administered by USDA’s Rural Development (RD)—which is comprised of three agencies: Rural Housing Service, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, and Rural Utilities Service (RUS)—or
Department of Energy (DOE)
DOE offers a wide range of programs focused on advancing clean energy technologies, decarbonizing the economy, and making energy more affordable, secure, and resilient. DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) administers most of the DOE programs identified in this toolkit.
VTO, which is within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), supports the research, development, and deployment of efficient and sustainable transportation technologies, including EVs and related infrastructure. EERE’s Weatherization and Intergovernmental Programs Office and the DOE Loan Programs Office also administer programs relevant to rural EV infrastructure.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
The mission of the EPA is to protect human health and the environment. Programs relevant to EV infrastructure primarily focus on reducing the emissions impacts of the transportation sector. EPA, through its ENERGY STAR Program, develops energy efficiency specifications for Level 1, 2, and DCFC charging equipment and forms partnerships with electric utilities and States to facilitate purchasing of ENERGY STAR certified chargers.
Small Business Administration (SBA)
The SBA helps Americans start, build, and grow businesses. Relevant funding programs enable small businesses to conduct technology research related to EV infrastructure.
Department of Commerce (DOC)
The mission of the DOC is to create the conditions for economic growth and opportunity. All relevant DOC programs are administered by the Economic Development Agency (EDA). The EDA promotes innovation and competitiveness, preparing American regions for economic growth and success. Relevant funding and financing programs are for a variety of EV activities that promote economic growth.
Department of Labor (DOL)
The mission of the DOL is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights. Workforce development related to EVs is an activity eligible under DOL’s relevant funding program.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
The IRS is the Nation’s tax collection agency and administers the Internal Revenue Code enacted by Congress. The IRS administers the tax incentive programs identified in this toolkit.