Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition Assists Anson County in Leveraging Historic Clean Transportation Funding

In 2016 and 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) settled a civil case against Volkswagen, a German automaker, for violating the U.S. Clean Air Act. As part of this settlement, Volkswagen was required to establish a fund of nearly $3 million for mitigation of the detrimental environmental impacts caused by their violations, as well as a $2 million fund to support zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) adoption and installation of charging infrastructure. This historic funding opportunity for clean transportation infrastructure investment was managed at the state level.  

The state of North Carolina received more than $92 million through the settlement program to fund projects across the state that will expand ZEV charging infrastructure and replace diesel and petroleum-fueled buses and private vehicles with ZEV alternatives. Additionally, the NC program offered additional support and priority for historically under-resourced counties to ensure they could access these historic settlement funds. Within the Centralina region, Anson and Rowan counties qualified as historically under-resourced counties.  

THE CHALLENGE 

Anson County was interested in seeking funding through the VW Settlement program to replace an older electric vehicle (EV) charging station along US-74 in Wadesboro that was no longer functional. Because funding was only available through the VW settlement program for a limited time, the county had to act quickly to capitalize on this unique opportunity to fund EV infrastructure upgrades. In need of technical assistance to meet the funding application deadline and ensure their grant was competitive, Anson County staff reached out to the Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition (CCFC) for help 

THE SOLUTION 

CCFC, housed atCentralina Regional Council, helped Anson County put together a competitive grant application for VW Settlement funds that uplifted the importance of supporting ZEV adoption and infrastructure in the county as a way to bolster economic investment in the County. CCFC staff were able to leverage their expertise in state and federal EV charging efforts to underscore the critical need for new EV chargers along US-74 in Anson County. The portion of US-74 in Anson County east of Wadesboro has been federally designated as a Pending EV Corridor, making it part of the national Alternative Fuel Corridor network. These corridors are first in line to receive additional infrastructure investment under the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula program and other historic funding sources under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).  

THE RESULT 

Anson County’s application for VW Settlement funds was successful, and on November 30, 2023, the County partnered with CCFC and Chatham Electric to unveil a new DC Fast Charger stationed in Wadesboro. This charger installation will further cultivate the growing adoption of electric vehicles in the Centralina region and across the state. “This EV charging station [also] represents our continuing effort to diversify and enhance the economy in Anson County,” said County Parks & Recreation Director Wendell Small 

Our mission is to reduce petroleum dependence, improve air quality and expand alternative fuel use and technology, so we were excited for the opportunity to assist Anson County in applying for and receiving a VW grant to replace a non-working charger along Highway 74 with a newer and faster EV charger,” said Megan Upchurch, CCFC Director. “It is great to have charging infrastructure up and running again in the county.”   

CONCLUSION 

CCFC staff are knowledgeable about current and upcoming funding opportunities and are eager to assist Centralina communities in understanding their options to pursue clean transportation investment. Reach out to CCFC’s team of subject matter experts by contacting Megan Upchurch at mupchurch@centralina.org, and review the technical assistance offerings available by visiting the CCFC website at https://www.4cleanfuels.com 

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