Q&A: NEVI Deployment and GHG Reduction Initiatives

New Jersey Department of Transportation, alongside other state and regional agencies, has embarked on ambitious initiatives to revolutionize its transportation fueling infrastructure through the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Deployment and through pursuit of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions reduction target goals. These initiatives are rooted in the state’s commitment to the 2019 New Jersey Energy Master Plan, the New Jersey Global Warming Response 80x50Act, the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, and the 2021 Federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, among other state and federal initiatives, to encourage electric vehicle (EV) adoption and cut transportation-related emissions, marking critical steps towards New Jersey’s climate goals.

We recently spoke with Megan Fackler, Director of Statewide Planning and Sudhir Joshi, Manager of Statewide Strategies from the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) to learn more about NJDOT’s ongoing activities for advancing these two initiatives. Their involvement in the planning for NEVI Deployment and the Every Day Counts (EDC-7) innovation, “Integrating GHG Assessment and Reduction Targets in Transportation Planning,”  place them at the heart of the NJDOT’s carbon reduction efforts.  This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

NEVI Deployment Challenges and Strategies

Q: What has NJDOT been doing to advance NEVI Deployment since Plan acceptance in 2023?

A: The National Electric Vehicle Program is a program from the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation, delegated to the Federal Highway Administration. NJDOT is going to deliver this program in New Jersey.

At NJDOT, our approach has focused significantly on federally mandated stakeholder engagement on a statewide basis. Our traditional outreach, utilizing project-specific and countywide approaches, was adapted to address the breadth of the state-led, statewide initiative. This entailed actively involving various community groups, small business leaders, partner agencies, utility providers and other private industries. We have utilized various channels such as public information centers, social media, and weekly emails.

Our team coordinated with every level of our Department to prepare for our larger meetings with external stakeholders. We have had a lot of discussions internally with our subject matter experts, who have helped develop our approach to contract procurement that incorporates the comprehensive criteria outlined in the NEVI guidelines and ensures contractors are complying with state guidelines as well.

We put on a pre-bid conference on October 17, 2023 that explained the range of requirements that the awarded contractor must fulfill.  We have sought to ensure contractors understood that they would need to comply with federal and state standards. For example, chargers must be accessible within 1 mile of New Jersey’s Alternative Fuel Corridors and provide a convenient, reliable charging experience for all users.

In developing our approach, NJDOT has decided to assign a single contractor to manage an EV charging site’s full range of compliance, with priority given to DC fast chargers. A DC Fast Charge operates on a voltage of 208 to 480 volts three phase alternating current — this is not a circuit you would likely have in your home. In 20 to 30 minutes of time, the DC fast charge should deliver 80 percent of a full charge of the vehicle’s battery.

At each of the 19 EV charger stations development zones along New Jersey’s Alternative Fuel Corridors, a 4-charger station will be provided, with each of the EV chargers capable of providing simultaneous charging at 150 kilowatts. Each charger will be equipped with a Combined Charging System and a North American Charging Standard, also known as the Tesla, port.

Contractors were informed about site selection responsibilities, environmental review documentation, and the necessity for agreements with site hosts and utility providers. The contractor will choose the locations of the 19 proposed sites and will provide one comprehensive environmental review applicable to all sites. The Department also stressed the importance of planning, design, and maintenance to ensure a high-quality user experience, requiring contractors to have the proper reporting mechanisms in place to monitor satisfaction and usage. There were additional discussions on revenue opportunities, and the inclusion of disadvantaged business enterprises.

NJ Alternative Fuel Corridors (AFCs) and Direct Current Fast Charger Development Zones were shared at NJDOT’s Virtual Public Information Center sessions.

In our pre-bid meetings, we have emphasized several other requirements that an award must encompass, such as the ensuring that traditionally underserved communities are included.  The awarded contractor will need to submit: a Justice40 Plan detailing benefits and impacts on overburdened communities; a workforce development plan geared to this new technology including recruiting efforts toward underrepresented groups; and other documentation that commits to monitoring and upgrading chargers over a period of 5 years of required maintenance.

Additionally, contractors must hire pre-qualified personnel such as a NJ-licensed Professional Engineer who will design the station, before an entity installs the actual chargers. Electricians must be pre-certified by the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP) or complete an apprentice program approved by US Department of Labor.

Following the planning and installation of DC fast chargers, contractors are also required to operate and maintain the station. For example, contractors are required to ensure that their charging stations remain operational and accessible for at least 97 percent of the time over the course of each year. These standards emphasize that trained personnel are crucial to the success of the program.

We are planning to issue and advertise an RFP in 2024 and begin issuing the first awards. Projects on the NJ Turnpike and Garden State Parkway will be handled separately from this Alternative Fuels Corridor procurement.

Q: What are some of the challenges in achieving the goals of the NEVI Deployment Plan?

A: We must ensure that we align our internal schedules to federal timelines, while also ensuring compliance with the program’s equity and environmental goals and requirements. Other challenges include coordinating with utility providers in a timely manner and including them in pre-bid discussions with contractors. In all of this, our team is also prioritizing stakeholder feedback and accounting for their feedback in our analysis.

Electric vehicle chargers by type and level.  NJDOT will focus on first deploying DC Fast Chargers. Source: Union County, NJ.

It is important to recognize that FHWA did not define for NJDOT how best to achieve the NEVI plan’s deployment goals. For example, it was unclear when we first started thinking about the project whether it made more sense to hire a single contractor to oversee the project – soup to nuts, or to break the project into contracts for different parts. The Department worked with the FHWA to develop a specific approach that supports EV charger implementation in New Jersey.

Q: What types of in-house technical expertise, knowledge, skills, and/or abilities will NJDOT need to have to aid in successful implementation of EV and larger carbon reduction goals?

A: NJDOT’s in-house capabilities are focused on two main areas of expertise: contracting and environmental compliance. First, the Division of Project Management, in conjunction with our Division of Procurement, specializes in various construction and non-construction contract types. Their policies and procedures guide NJDOT staff to ensure that all contractual aspects are timely managed.

Second, the Environmental Division plays a crucial role in addressing environmental compliance and specific site needs. These internal resources, combined with external consultants, form the backbone of NJDOT’s strategy for advancing its carbon reduction goals, and NEVI in particular.

In addition, NJDOT anticipates and prepares for future aspects of NEVI, such as inspection and maintenance requirements of EV charging stations. It is possible that inspection tasks may be outsourced as a result.

NEVI Stakeholder Engagement

Q: How are you facilitating community engagement and awareness about the NEVI Program? What are the major challenges in engaging with local government and other affected stakeholders.

A: NJDOT has implemented a few initiatives. Our outreach was mainly a success with a few key challenges. We initially encountered some skepticism from stakeholders in terms of the locations for charger sites and EVs in general. We have worked hard to maintain a robust community engagement process statewide that satisfied federally mandated outreach guidelines. This includes our Virtual Public Information Center (VPIC) sessions and online resources, which generated thousands of views and hundreds of comments.

With a focus on equity, we identified broad stakeholders from previous working groups and through our legislative partners. The Department leveraged our partnerships to help raise awareness of our engagement sessions. The goal of the VPIC sessions was to reach representatives of diverse groups, provide NEVI Program information relevant to New Jersey, and allow for individuals to comment back to the Department in ways convenient for them.

Workforce Readiness/Equity and NEVI Deployment

Q: What steps is NJDOT taking to ensure workforce readiness and environmental justice for the NEVI Program?

A: Our role principally involves conveying expectations and setting specifications for contractors. These specifications, among others, includes abiding by EVITP requirements, or an approved apprenticeship program for hiring skilled staff familiar with EV technologies. The contractor will be responsible for training and ensuring that the workforce is equipped with the necessary skills, particularly for deploying DC Fast chargers. These requirements also apply to the subcontracting process as well, where partnering with Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) is highly encouraged.

FHWA’s framework to ensure equitable recruitment from underserved groups.

In recent years, the Department has been making a huge shift toward workforce development, such as with our investment in the Bordentown Training Center. This is an ever-evolving topic of conversation for us at NJDOT on how we can carry out our “commitment to communities” – whether it is speaking at the community colleges or opening the doors of training facilities for local municipalities. While there is nothing concrete at this time, I definitely could see EV charging maintenance integrated into the training center in the future should such support from NJDOT be needed.

We also have strategies to monitor progress towards our environmental justice goals, such as leveraging various tools and mapping technologies and producing the Community Engagement Outcomes Report (FHWA Approval of NJ NEVI Plan, 2023). The contractor’s role will be pivotal in this regard, as they will be tasked with effectuating Justice 40 initiatives and addressing environmental justice considerations in their operations.

EDC-7 Innovation and Greenhouse Gas Assessment

Q: How does NJDOT’s Carbon Reduction Strategy align with the NEVI Deployment Plan, and what steps are being taken to work with MPOs on this initiative?

A: NJDOT is taking specific steps that align with the goals of the NEVI Deployment Plan, including expanding the EV infrastructure at interstates, and then branching into more local areas. NJDOT’s Carbon Reduction Strategy directly supports the goals of reducing emissions established by Governor Murphy and President Biden. The strategy aims to meet the Governor’s mandate of 80 percent reductions by 2050, and President Biden’s goal [of carbon neutrality by 2035], through strategies aligned with the NEVI Deployment Plan.

NJDOT is working alongside its MPOs and NJ Transit partners to set and meet the FHWA’s recently issued rules on greenhouse gas emission targets. This includes coordinating regularly with MPOs to set greenhouse gas targets, share data on emissions metrics, and develop standardized methodologies for assessing reductions. This involves sharing data on VMT (vehicle miles traveled) and fuel usage to establish state benchmarks. The MPOs will have six months from the FHWA’s February 1st deadline to determine whether to adopt the state’s GHG targets or their own. We will be meeting with the MPOs in the coming week regarding these details. To that effort, NJDOT may leverage a single consultant funded through federal grants to help unify this process across the MPO regions. The department is poised to submit their final targets to FHWA, with the intention to make these documents public, ensuring transparency and community involvement.

The Carbon Reduction Strategy was in progress since December 2022, when the Carbon Reduction Working Group began the review process. This included developing strategies over the course of Winter and Spring 2023, in addition to resolving concerns brought forth by our leadership. Following our November 15th submission, FHWA will have 90 days to approve or deny the draft plan. (NJDOT CIA Team Planning & Environment Presentation, 2023)

In addition to deploying EV charging stations in line with our NEVI goals, NJDOT is exploring electrifying its own fleet and operations with technologies like electric garbage trucks. However, as we have seen this winter, concerns around reduced EV range and long charging times during cold winter temperatures could affect adoption goals if improvements in technologies do not continue. Regardless, all plans, targets, and strategies, in collaboration with MPOs, will undergo review and approval by FHWA. This process aligns with DOT’s recent guidelines for greenhouse gas reduction.


EV Infrastructure & Policy

New Jersey Department of Transportation. (2023). “NJ Approval Letter for EV Deployment Plan.” Retrieved from https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/nevi/ev_deployment_plans/nj-approval-letter-fy24.pdf.

New Jersey Department of Transportation. (2023). NJDOT Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment along New Jersey Alternative Fuel Corridors: Pre-bid Meeting Presentation. Retrieved from https://www.nj.gov/transportation/contribute/business/procurement/ConstrServ/documents/NJDOTNEVIPreBidMeetingOct172023PresentationRev.10-20-23.pdf

New Jersey Department of Transportation. (2022). “NEVI Program Overview.” Retrieved from https://dep.nj.gov/wp-content/uploads/drivegreen/pdf/nevi.pdf

U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration (n.d). National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program, Fact Sheet. Retrieved from https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/bipartisan-infrastructure-law/nevi_formula_program.cfm

U.S. Department of Energy, Alternative Fuels Data Center. (n.d). Electric Vehicle Charging Stations.  Retrieved from https://afdc.energy.gov/fuels/electricity_stations.html

Carbon Reduction Efforts

Federal Register (2023). 23 CFR Part 490. National Performance Management Measures; Assessing Performance of the National Highway System, Greenhouse Gas Emissions Measure, Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved from https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2023-12-07/pdf/2023-26019.pdf

New Jersey Department of Transportation. (2023). CIA Team – Planning & Environment: Discussions on National Performance Management Measure (GHG). Presentation by Sudhir Joshi. Retrieved from https://www.njdottechtransfer.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/5-Planning.pdf

U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration (n.d). Carbon Reduction Program, Fact Sheet. Retrieved from https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/bipartisan-infrastructure-law/crp_fact_sheet.cfm

Environmental Justice and Equity

Conley, Shannon. Konisky, David M. Mullin, Megan. (2023). Delivering on Environmental Justice? U.S. State Implementation of the Justice40 Initiative. Retrieved from doi.org/10.1093/publius/pjad018.

Argonne National Laboratory. (2022). Using Mapping Tools to Prioritize Electric Vehicle Charger Benefits to Underserved Communities. Retrieved from https://publications.anl.gov/anlpubs/2022/05/175535.pdf

U.S. Department of Energy. (2022). Incorporating Equity and Justice40 in NEVI and Beyond. Retrieved from https://www.energy.gov/sites/default/files/2022-10/Incorporating%20Equity%20and%20Justice40%20in%20NEVI%20and%20Beyond.pdf‘.

Workforce Development and Training

National Governors Association. (2023). Workforce Development in The IIJA, CHIPS, And IRA. Retrieved from https://www.nga.org/publications/workforce-development-in-the-iija-chips-and-ira/.

National Center for Sustainable Transportation. (2022). Workforce Implications of Transitioning to Zero-Emission Buses in Public Transit. Retrieved from https://escholarship.org/uc/item/3jb4b73d.

San Jose State University. (2020). Southern California Regional Transit Training Consortium: Skills Gap & Needs Assessment. Retrieved from https://transweb.sjsu.edu/sites/default/files/1932-Reeb-Southern-California-Regional-Transit-Training-Consortium-Needs-Assessment.pdf.

National Center for Sustainable Transportation. (2018). Emerging Clean Transportation Workforce White Paper. https://www.uvm.edu/sites/default/files/media/Emerging-Clean-Transportation-Workforce-White-Paper12202018.pdf.

Argonne National Laboratory. (2022). Using Mapping Tools to Prioritize Electric Vehicle Charger Benefits to Underserved Communities. https://publications.anl.gov/anlpubs/2022/05/175535.pdf

NEVI Deployment in Other States

Colorado Department of Transportation & Colorado Energy Office (2023). Colorado National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Plan. https://www.codot.gov/programs/innovativemobility/assets/2023-update-of-colorado-plan-for-the-national-electric-vehicle-infrastructure-nevi-program.pdf.

Michigan Department of Transportation. (2023). Michigan State Plan for Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment 2023 Update. https://www.michigan.gov/mdot/-/media/Project/Websites/MDOT/Travel/Mobility/Mobility-Initiatives/NEVI/FY23-MI-Plan-for-EV-Infrastructure-Deployment.pdf?rev=968c7cbcf92c4b2abb08573f2af0f9f5&hash=409ED1B68C1FBEE6E52E334690405162.

New Hampshire Department of Transportation. (2023). State of New Hampshire Plan For Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment Update No. 1. https://www.dot.nh.gov/sites/g/files/ehbemt811/files/inline-documents/updated-nevi-plan-8-1-2023.pdf.

North Carolina Department of Transportation (2023). North Carolina Plan Update for Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure Deployment Plan. https://www.ncdot.gov/initiatives-policies/environmental/climate-change/Documents/ncdot-electric-vehicle-deployment-plan.pdf.

Washington State Department of Transportation. (2023). Washington State Plan for Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment July 2023 Update. https://wsdot.wa.gov/sites/default/files/2023-09/WSDOT-NEVI-Plan-Update.pdf.

What NEVI Means for EV Adoption in New Jersey

The State of New Jersey has committed to the widespread deployment of Electric Vehicle (EV) charging technologies in the pursuit of cleaner, less carbon intensive roadway travel.  With the establishment of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program (NEVI) in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BiL), also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), additional federal funding will be available to support New Jersey’s EV transition ambitions.

To receive NEVI Formula Program funds, states are required to develop an FHWA-approved EV Infrastructure Deployment Plan that describes how the state intends to use the funds in accordance with the NEVI Formula Program Guidance.  The State of New Jersey convened a multi-agency task force that included the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), NJ Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU), the NJ Economic Development Authority (NJEDA), among others (1), to meet the August 1, 2022 deadline for plan submission to the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation with FHWA approval expected by September 30, 2022.

Funding for EV Chargers

Having the highest number of registered electric cars on the road per public charging station of any state in the country, at a ratio of 46.16 (2), New Jersey stands to benefit greatly from NEVI’s formula funding for new EV charging stations.  In total, NJDOT will receive $104.4 million from the program over five years (3). This sum represents 2.51 percent of the $4.2 billion that USDOT expects to provide to all states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia through NEVI’s formula (3). For comparison, in 2020 New Jersey’s share of the total American population was roughly 2.8 percent (4), but critically, its share of land area is less than a fraction of a percent (5). Thus, in terms of EV charging infrastructure, the apportioned NEVI funding for New Jersey can ensure broader geographic coverage for its residents than may be possible for other less densely populated states.

Adoption of EV and Hybrid Electric Vehicles is growing exponentially in New Jersey as the technology and infrastructure continues to develop. Courtesy of NJ Department of Environmental Protection.
Adoption of EV and Hybrid Electric Vehicles is growing exponentially in New Jersey as the technology and infrastructure continues to develop. Courtesy of NJ Department of Environmental Protection.

NEVI’s provisions mandate that interstates and highways designated as alternative fuel corridors (AFCs) must have charging stations at intervals of 50 miles or less (and within 1 mile from the highway itself (6)).  In the most recent round of nominations, all of NJ’s interstate roadways were accepted and designated as AFCs by the FHWA, including: I-76, I-676, I-78, I-278, I-80, I-280, I-287, I-95, I-195, I-295, the Garden State Parkway, the New Jersey Turnpike, and the Atlantic City Expressway.  At a minimum, the charging stations must have the capability to simultaneously charge four vehicles at 150kW each.  The development of intercity EV infrastructure should expand the travel range and charging options for through-travelers and New Jerseyans who operate the State’s rapidly growing fleet of registered plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) which numbered 64,307 in 2021 (7).

Far more charging stations will be required in New Jersey should the State achieve its goal of 100 percent PEV sales by 2035.  By then, the EV vehicle fleet would reach 4.2 million registered EVs, or 73 percent of the estimated total of six million registered vehicles.  The NJ EV Plan estimates that between 1,600 and 5,600 additional publicly available fast charging sites will be required throughout the state to meet these registration levels (1).   

Beyond the $5 billion from NEVI, the program will establish the DOT-DOE Joint Office of Energy and Transportation to coordinate the shift in energy mixes for the nation’s transportation technology.  Courtesy of the Federal Highway Administration.
Beyond the $5 billion from NEVI, the program will establish the DOT-DOE Joint Office of Energy and Transportation to coordinate the shift in energy mixes for the nation’s transportation technology. Courtesy of the Federal Highway Administration.

Supplementing the NEVI Funding Formula program, the BiL sets aside discretionary funding through the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Competitive Program to fill in gaps in publicly accessible EV charging and hydrogen, propane, and natural gas fueling infrastructure along both designated alternative fuel corridors (50%) and in community locations (50%), such as parking facilities, public schools, public parks, or along public roads.  Under this program, USDOT will prioritize projects that expand access to charging and alternative fueling infrastructure within rural areas, low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, and communities with limited parking space or a high ratio of multi-unit dwellings to single-family homes. Eligible entities include states, metropolitan planning organizations, local governments, political subdivisions, and tribal governments.  NJ will be eligible to compete for these funds.

The NJ EV Plan establishes three phases for EV infrastructure development:

  • Phase 1 focuses on developing electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) along the State's AFCs toward achieving "fully built out" status pursuant to the national NEVI program guidance.  Nominated corridors must be equipped with at least four, 150 kW chargers at least every 50 miles and located less than or equal to one mile from the corridor exit.
  • Phase 2 focuses on addressing DC fast chargers on New Jersey’s main corridors every 25 miles, as established by State law and recognizing NJ as the most densely populated state.  The State will incentivize the siting of charging stations at corridor interchanges to achieve the goal of EVSE chargers at a spacing of 25 and 50 miles. The 25-mile spacing provides opportunities to install one EVSE location at the intersection of two corridors and potentially serve both corridors which in some instances may save on installation costs.
  • Phase 3 implements EVSE flexibly in accordance with community needs which could include community-centric charging as well as fast charging hubs near multi-unit dwellings (MUD) and in disadvantaged and overburdened communities to enable electric ride sharing and ride hailing.

The NJ EV Plan emphasizes that each phase will involve planning, community outreach, stakeholder engagement and alignment with Justice40 initiatives.  While initial focus will be on Phase 1, the Plan allows for all phases to progress over the next five years (1).

NJ EV Deployment Plan is divided into three overlapping phases over the five-year plan:  Deployment of chargers between 50 and 25-mile spaces, addressing gaps in the network, and flexible implementation based on community needs. Courtesy of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
NJ EV Deployment Plan is divided into three overlapping phases over the five-year plan: Deployment of chargers between 50 and 25-mile spaces, addressing gaps in the network, and flexible implementation based on community needs. Courtesy of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

The NJ EV Deployment Plan notes the establishment of its “Partnership to Plug In,” a multi-agency partnership formed to coordinate the broader statewide rollout of EVs.  Partnership to Plug In is co-led by NJBPU, NJDEP and NJEDA and “bolstered by support from Treasury, NJ TRANSIT and NJDOT” (1). NEVI formula funding will increase the support NJDOT can provide to the Partnership. The deployment plan frames NEVI as a stepping-stone towards NJ’s policy goals “of achieving 100% clean energy by 2050 and reducing State greenhouse gas emissions 80% below 2006 levels by 2050” (1).

The expansion of NJ’s EV infrastructure network is a complementary next step to the state’s tax incentives and rebate programs and model municipal ordinance initiative to encourage greater EV adoption. Given a $173,000 cost estimate per station, New Jersey’s share of NEVI funding alone is expected to provide enough for 600 charging stations (9). For comparison, the NJDEP estimates roughly 736 Public Charging Locations in NJ (10), illustrating the scale of the potential impact from formula funding.

Looking to place charging stations at a maximum 25 miles apart in applicable routes, twice the frequency required by NEVI, recent NJ state law signals its goal to remain a leading state for owning or operating an electric car (11). As established in the BiL, the State of New Jersey will share 20 percent of NEVI costs (8). The State government has already committed to requiring that 100 percent of state-owned, non-emergency light-duty vehicles be EVs by 2035 (12) and requiring at least 400 DC Fast Charger public stations by the end of 2025 (12).

The composition of public charging locations in New Jersey would benefit if NEVI provides more DC Fast Charging stations, as the majority of NJ locations only provide lesser voltage Level 1 and 2 chargers. Courtesy of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
The composition of public charging locations in New Jersey would benefit if NEVI provides more DC Fast Charging stations, as the majority of NJ locations only provide lesser voltage Level 1 and 2 chargers. Courtesy of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
Gasoline exhaust from personal and commercial vehicles can lead to areas closer to highways experiencing disproportionate exposure to harmful air pollutants. Courtesy of Ruben de Rijcke, Wikimedia Commons
Gasoline exhaust from personal and commercial vehicles can lead to areas closer to highways experiencing disproportionate exposure to harmful air pollutants. Courtesy of Ruben de Rijcke, Wikimedia Commons

Equity in Environment, Workforce, Mobility and Community Economic Development Considerations

Creating the charging infrastructure to ease the transition from fossil fuels to electric vehicles is a rational response to the global climate crisis. It is also an opportunity to advance equity and environmental justice through transportation investments. Subject to the Biden administration's Justice40 commitment to spend 40 percent of overall benefits of federal investments in climate and clean energy in disadvantaged communities (13), NEVI mandates placement of EV charging stations in the State’s affected disadvantaged communities to reduce the negative impacts of gasoline-based air pollutants.

The NJ EV Deployment Plan highlights the ways in which it is aligned with advancing the Justice40 commitment.  The Plan outlines the State’s existing laws, regulations, guidance, mapping tools and outreach processes that it has employed, and expects to continue to employ, to deliver equitable transportation benefits and combat the health stressors borne by individuals living near highways and facilities from exposure to tail-pipe exhaust from conventional fuels.  The Plan highlights equity, workforce development, mobility needs, and community benefit commitments and considerations.  Emphasis is placed on continuing outreach and dialogue processes, through successive deployment phases, working with community leaders and labor organizations, chambers of commerce, community colleges, technical schools, universities, training organizations, and industry to ensure that the deployment, installation, operation, and use of EV charging infrastructure achieves equitable and fair distribution of benefits and services.

Deploying Transformative Public Investment to Meet a Global, National and State Challenge

The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 serves as a reminder of the transformative impact of large-scale federal public infrastructure investment. The bill created a 41,000-mile “National System of Interstate and Defense" which accelerated the nation’s reliance on the personal automobile and commercial trucks for goods movement distribution and profoundly shaped our patterns of living today. Today our challenge is no longer building out the interstate system, but rather retrofitting our roadway systems and land use design to ensure a sufficient supply of EV charging stations. For this era, the aspirational vision for the NEVI program is to build a clean transportation network capable of ensuring reliable regional travel and supportive of carbon emission reduction goals to mitigate climate change impacts.

With its reported national budget of $5 billion (8), the NEVI program makes a critical national investment toward a future where the nation’s EV drivers will increasingly have the confidence to drive down any interstate, knowing charging stations will be waiting for them; non-EV drivers will likewise have fewer “range anxiety” concerns should this be a limiting factor in making the transition to operating a plug-in electric vehicle.

The NEVI program's support will help keep the State’s economy and transportation competitive by complementing its advancements and goals in the EV market. Rewarding New Jersey’s innovation and commitments in encouraging the adoption of new EVs on its road, NEVI’s role in building out charging stations to service EVs will ultimately serve the State well. Increasing the reliability of New Jersey EV network will result in reductions in diesel and carbon emissions from automobiles, thereby protecting the environment, health, and pocketbooks of New Jerseyans.


(1) New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (2022, August 1). New Jersey National Electrical Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Deployment Plan. https://www.nj.gov/dep/drivegreen/pdf/nevi.pdf

(2) Vermont Biz. (2022, May 12). Vermont is the ninth most accessible state in America to charge an electric car. https://vermontbiz.com/news/2022/may/12/vermont-ninth-most-accessible-state-america-charge-electric-car.

(3) U.S. Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation. (2022, February 10). 5-year National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Funding by State. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/bipartisan-infrastructure-law/evs_5year_nevi_funding_by_state.cfm.

(4) Iowa State University. (2022). Decennial Census Population Counts for States. https://www.icip.iastate.edu/tables/population/census-states

(5) United States Census Bureau. (2021, December 16). State Area Measurements and Internal Point Coordinates. https://www.census.gov/geographies/reference-files/2010/geo/state-area.html.

(6) Foley and Lardner LLP. (2022, February 24). U.S. DOT Releases NEVI Formula Program Guidance, Giving Public and Private Stakeholders a Roadmap for EV Infrastructure Funding. https://www.foley.com/en/insights/publications/2022/02/us-dot-releases-nevi-formula-program-guidance

(7) New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. (2022). Drive Green Electric Vehicles Basics. https://nj.gov/dep/drivegreen/dg-electric-vehicles-basics.html

(8) U.S. Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation. (2022, February 10). National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/bipartisan-infrastructure-law/nevi_formula_program.cfm.

(9) NJ.com. (2022, February 11). Feds sending $15M to N.J. to build electric car charging stations. https://www.nj.com/politics/2022/02/feds-sending-15m-to-nj-to-build-electric-car-charging-stations.html.

(10) New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. (2022). NJ Public Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Locator. https://njdep.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=e41aa50dd8cd45faba8641b6be6097b1.

(11) Quartz. (2022, May 14). If you want to buy an EV, New Jersey is the place to be. https://qz.com/2165644/the-cheapest-states-in-the-us-to-buy-an-ev/.

(12) Alternative Fuels Data Center, U.S. Department of Energy. (2022). New Jersey Laws and Incentives. https://afdc.energy.gov/laws/all?state=NJ.

(13) U.S. Department of Transportation. (2022, July 8). Justice40 Initiative. https://www.transportation.gov/equity-Justice40.

Equitably Advancing a Clean Energy Future in NJ through Transportation Electrification Innovation

Governor Phil Murphy signs energy legislation and an executive order creating a statewide energy master plan in South Brunswick on May 23, 2018. OIT/Governor’s Office.

Governor Phil Murphy signed energy legislation and issued an Executive Order to prepare a Statewide Energy Master Plan in 2018. OIT/Governor’s Office.

In recent years, New Jersey has been a national leader in promoting vehicle electrification. The state has taken a multi-pronged approach that promotes electrifying the state fleet, supports local governments looking to electrify their fleets, and provides incentives for companies and consumers to adopt electric vehicles. The state is focusing particularly on reducing emissions in overburdened or environmental justice communities that have historically experienced more pollution.

In January 2020, the state of New Jersey issued the New Jersey Energy Master Plan that included a goal that New Jersey have 100 percent clean energy by 2050 and outlined seven key strategies for achieving the goal. In the same year, the state adopted a law establishing its goals for electric vehicles (EV), providing specific benchmarks with timelines. Strategies for reducing emissions in the transportation sector include reducing vehicle miles traveled and increasing the use of electric vehicles. Additionally, on July 9, 2021, Governor Murphy signed a package of laws to support electric vehicle infrastructure throughout the state. These new laws, along with existing initiatives, are helping the state move toward a zero-emission transportation sector.

One of the more notable sources of funding for these initiatives is the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a collaborative effort with 10 other states in the region that sets a cap on how much carbon dioxide can be emitted. Companies bid on the right to emit carbon through an auction system, and auction proceeds are invested into clean energy initiatives. Another major source of funds is money received from the Volkswagen settlement; as a penalty for installing devices to cheat emissions tests, Volkswagen (VW) agreed to pay into a trust fund to be distributed to states.

NJ Transit CEO Kevin Corbett unveiling the first NJ Transit bus garage with electric charging capability.

NJ TRANSIT CEO Kevin Corbett unveiling the first NJ TRANSIT bus garage with electric charging capability. Courtesy of NJ TRANSIT.

State Fleet Electrification

New Jersey has been on the forefront of investing to electrify the state vehicle fleet, focusing on New Jersey Transit (NJ TRANSIT) buses. The state has allocated $15 million in RGGI and VW funding to purchase electric buses. The 2020 legislation establishing EV benchmarks aims for 10 percent of the buses NJ TRANSIT purchases to be zero-emission by 2024 and increasing to 100 percent by the end of 2032. If attained, these goals should help NJ TRANSIT have a zero-emissions bus fleet by 2040.

NJ TRANSIT is already preparing for the transition to electric buses. The renovation of the Newton Avenue Bus Garage in Camden has been completed to make it suitable for electric buses, and the agency plans to start deploying electric buses in Camden by the end of 2022. The agency recently awarded a contract to a private firm to modernize and ready its  bus garage in Maplewood for electric buses and to conduct a systemwide survey and condition assessment of its 16 bus garages to identify the upgrades needed to support zero-emissions buses.  This follows the agency’s earlier issuance in 2021 of a request for proposal (RFP) for help developing a Zero-Emission Bus System Design and Investment Planning Study in order to stay on track to meet the goals, and the RFP establishes that the agency will prioritize adoption of electric buses in “low-income, urban, or environmental justice communities,” as these communities are most impacted by pollution from diesel buses.

An electric powered bus at Newark Liberty International Airport. NJ Transit plans to have a zero-emission fleet by 2040.

An electric powered bus at Newark Liberty International Airport. NJ TRANSIT plans to have a zero-emission fleet by 2040. Courtesy of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) is also working to electrify the state fleet. The agency has purchased 50 electric vehicles and will have 125 fully electric vehicles by 2025, reducing carbon emissions by two million pounds annually. Additionally, NJDOT is working to support the electrification of other state vehicles. Together with Princeton University, NJDOT has completed multiple phases of a plan to identify the necessary infrastructure for an all-electric state fleet and prioritize where to install charging stations. This work will help ensure the gradual transition toward an electric fleet is done smoothly and intelligently.

State Supporting Local Government Fleet Electrification

In addition to converting the state fleet to electric vehicles, New Jersey is committed to helping local governments make the same transition. The State has used RGGI and VW funding to help local governments purchase electric school buses, ambulances, garbage trucks, trucks, shuttle buses, and dump trucks. Funding can also be used to support EV infrastructure such as charging stations and to support equitable mobility projects. These e-mobility projects provide electric car sharing and ride hailing services in “low- and moderate-income communities disproportionately impacted by pollution.” To improve the quality of life of children in low- and moderate-income communities, $13 million of the RGGI and VW funding is set aside for purchase of electric school buses and shuttles. Agencies can apply to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) for grants.

One of the five fully electric garbage trucks deployed in Jersey City, the first in New Jersey. Courtesy of BYD

One of the five fully electric garbage trucks deployed in Jersey City, the first in New Jersey. Courtesy of BYD.

One notable success has been the deployment of electric garbage trucks in Jersey City in December 2021. The city purchased five garbage trucks, supported by $2 million in grants from the RGGI and VW funds. These are the first trucks of their kind in New Jersey and the largest deployment in the United States to date. While the trucks are currently not used for residential trash pick-up and are mainly used to help clean parks and business districts, they show that the state is at the forefront of adopting new electric vehicle technologies, helping to lay the groundwork for expanded use in New Jersey and elsewhere.

A notable leader in local government fleet electrification is Paterson. Paterson recently approved the purchase of two electric ambulances with NJDEP providing funding support. Ambulances spend a lot of time idling and the transition to electric ambulances will improve the air quality in Paterson and surrounding areas. The ambulance purchase continues Paterson’s efforts to go electric after they purchased 35 Nissan Leaf vehicles for the city fleet last year.

Another EV project that NJDEP is supporting is the GOTrenton! program, run by Isles, Inc., that supports EV access in Trenton. The program includes a carsharing service, a ridesharing service, a shuttle service, and related infrastructure such as charging stations. While the program is open to everyone, Isles took particular care in the site selection process to make sure that low-income communities would benefit the most from the program. The program will also create new jobs for people living in Trenton; it is expected to launch later this year.

State Supporting Port Electrification

New Jersey is also working on electrifying vehicles that operate out of Port Newark, the largest port on the east coast. Much of the transportation within the port is done via “drayage” vehicles that move cargo primarily within the port and shorter distances to nearby warehouses and distribution facilities. These vehicles tend to be older, diesel-powered, and a major source of emissions. Reducing pollution near the port is particularly important because the port is near areas like Newark and Elizabeth that fall under the definition of overburdened communities that NJDEP has determined are “in need of environmental justice.” These communities would be some of the main beneficiaries of port electrification.

In 2019, over $3.5 million was allocated for the purchase of 14 electric yard tractors in Port Newark. Courtesy of BYD

In 2019, over $3.5 million was allocated for the purchase of 14 electric yard tractors in Port Newark. Courtesy of BYD.

RGGI and VW money has been allocated to the purchase of different types of vehicles at the port, including forklifts, trucks, and tractors. Ten electric tractors were first introduced to Port Newark in 2021 and money has been allocated for ten additional tractors. In total, more than $19 million has been allocated to the acquisition of electric vehicles on and around Port Newark, demonstrating that cleaning up ports in particular is a priority for the state given the environmental justice gains to be made.


Dragone, Gabriella. (2022, June 15). City Council Approves Grants to Purchase Electric Ambulances, Utility Trucks. https://www.tapinto.net/towns/paterson/sections/police-and-fire/articles/city-council-approves-grants-to-purchase-electric-ambulances-utility-trucks

Dragone, Gabriella. (2021, November 5). Paterson Drives Into Greener Future with New Electric Vehicles. https://www.tapinto.net/towns/paterson/sections/green/articles/paterson-drives-into-greener-future-with-new-electric-vehicles

Evans, Tim. (2021, October 13). New Jersey Future. Electric Yard Goats and Environmental Justice. https://www.njfuture.org/2021/10/13/electric-yard-goats-and-environmental-justice/

Isles, Inc. (2022). Climate Action and GOTrenton! https://isles.org/our-approach/live-green-and-healthy/climate-action-ev/

Morill, Aaron (2021, November 16). Jersey City’s Garbage Trucks go Electric. Jersey City Times. https://jcitytimes.com/jersey-citys-garbage-trucks-go-electric/

NJDEP. (2022). Overview of Distribution of Mitigation Funds. https://www.state.nj.us/dep/vw/project.html

NJDEP. (2022). Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). https://www.nj.gov/dep/aqes/rggi.html

NJDEP. (2002). Stop the Soot. https://www.state.nj.us/dep/stopthesoot/sts-retrofits.htm

NJDEP. (2022). What are Overburdened Communities (OBC)?. https://www.nj.gov/dep/ej/communities.html

NJDOT. (2022, February 23). NJDOT Goes Electric. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yv5KDEdfIJQ

NJDOT. (2021, October). New Jersey Fleet Electrification. https://www.njdottechtransfer.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/1026_NJDOT_EV_ProjectsSummary_Final.pdf

NJ Office of the Governor. (2022). About the Energy Master Plan. https://www.nj.gov/emp/energy/

NJ Office of the Governor. (2021, July 9). Governor Murphy Signs Bills to Advance New Jersey’s Clean Energy Future. https://www.nj.gov/governor/news/news/562021/approved/20210709a.shtml

NJ Transit. (2021). Capital Plan Project Sheets: Bus Fleet. https://njtplans.com/downloads/capital-plan/NJ%20TRANSIT%202021%20Capital%20Plan%20Update%20Appendix%20B%20Project%20Sheets%20Final.pdf

NJ Transit (2021, August 2). NJ TRANSIT Seeks Firms to Study Pathway to Zero Emissions Bus System. https://www.njtransit.com/press-releases/nj-transit-seeks-firms-study-pathway-zero-emissions-bus-system

NJ Transit. (2022, March 22). NJ TRANSIT Unveils New Electric Bus Charging Infrastructure in Camden. https://www.njtransit.com/press-releases/nj-transit-unveils-new-electric-bus-charging-infrastructure-camden

Raja, Nausheen. (2021, March 31). Roadmap to Electrifying New Jersey’s Public Bus Fleet. New Jersey Policy Perspective. https://www.njpp.org/publications/report/roadmap-to-electrifying-new-jerseys-public-bus-fleet/



Trenton MOVES and the SmartDrivingCARS Summit

Trenton MOVES Display Image. CARTS.

On February 11, 2022, New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) awarded a $5,000,000 Local Transportation Project Fund Grant to the City of Trenton to support the Trenton Mobility and Opportunity: Vehicles Equity System (MOVES) project. The core vision, goals and features of the project - an autonomous vehicle transportation system capable of serving 90,000 Trenton residents and commuting workers -- were outlined in a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) issued in December 2021.

The system is expected to comprise 100 autonomous, electric shuttle vehicles and 50 kiosks and will operate solely as an on-demand system, with no fixed routes or schedules. The vehicles will be handicapped accessible and accommodate up to eight passengers.

Kiosks will be located at popular locations and high-density residential/commercial areas within a five-minute walk by over 90 percent of Trenton residents. Riders will be able to hail the vehicles through mobile devices or through an interface at each kiosk for those lacking access to a mobile device.

Through its partnership with Princeton University and the Corporation for Automated Road Transportation Safety (CARTS), NJDOT supported an extensive public outreach process to support the development of the RFEI. This outreach revealed several notable current conditions: 70 percent of Trenton households have one or no personal vehicle; due to land use decisions of prior decades and the lack of frequent bus service, seniors have to take circuitous bus rides, schedule an access-a-ride in advance, or walk significant distances to access destinations for everyday needs; and high school students living within two miles of the high school were without access to a bus because of a national bus driver shortage. The new system is intended to alleviate these and other limitations of the current transportation structure. The public engagement informed the RFEI and generated five goals for the program.

Goals of the Program


Autonomous vehicles can provide improved safety as they are not subject to human fallibilities, such as driving distracted or speeding. Some acclimation will be needed to ride in a vehicle with no driver. For the first two years of the project, vetted safety hosts will be on the vehicles to assist riders in understanding and navigating the system. The project will initially be limited to its operational design domain while on public roads.

NJ State Transportation Innovation Council Discusses Trenton MOVES at their 1st Quarterly Meeting of 2022


A significant majority of Trentonians live in Areas of Persistent Poverty, own one or no cars, and spend a high proportion of their income on transportation within the City. The program must serve the transportation needs of all Trenton residents, particularly those with limited transportation access due to economic or physical hardships. The service will aim to be inclusive both in terms of communities served and user experiences.


The program will aim to be both low cost to the rider and the taxpayer. As NJDOT wants it to be both equitably and fiscally viable long into the future, its costs should be attainable and fares should be affordable. The rider should pay fares comparable to transit service, and far less than would be paid for ride-hailing and taxi services. Trenton MOVES will also create a public-private partnership to assist with the development of the on-demand mobility system and anticipate reduced costs through scaling and innovative funding mechanisms.


As New Jersey will be phasing out the sale of gasoline powered vehicles by 2035 to help reduce emissions, all of the initial 100 AVs in the Trenton MOVES project will be 100 percent electric. Additionally, the on-demand function stands to reduce average vehicle occupancy, vehicle miles traveled, and greenhouse gas emissions for local trips within Trenton.


To maximize the convenience of the on-demand mobility service, Trenton MOVES seeks to minimize wait times, ride times, have low circuity during shared rides, and reduce VMTs, particularly when the vehicles are empty. This goal will be achieved through active fleet management, dynamic repositioning, optimal routing, data analytics, etc.

How it will work

Trenton MOVES, Planned Operational Design Domain. CARTS

NJDOT anticipates a four-phase process to enable the autonomous vehicles within Trenton, and eventually to expand statewide and potentially beyond. Availability of service in Trenton is anticipated for early 2024.

Phase One will consist of the verification of the autonomous vehicle concept. The company selected to create this on-demand mobility service will first operate the autonomous vehicles on and around NJDOT’s Ewing campus to verify functionality in low stress environments.

Phase Two will be a proof of concept. Once the automated vehicles are shown to be effective, 100 vehicles will be placed on the public roads within a limited Operational Design Domain (ODD). This ODD will consist of major public centers in Trenton such as the Capitol Complex, schools, public housing, grocery stores, the Trenton Transportation Center, etc. A kiosk will be placed at each of these points to allow people to “call” to the vehicles.

Phase Three will be proof of societal value. In the third phase, the ODD will expand to all of Trenton to the point where 95 percent of the population is within a 5-minute walk of any kiosk. This expansion will demonstrate effectiveness of service, and scalability in an urban setting.

Phase Four is proof of network-scale economics. Once proven effective in Trenton, the program and the service could be launched throughout Mercer County, and in densely populated places in New Jersey such as Atlantic City, Camden, Newark, and New Brunswick. If those cities continue to prove effective in terms of service scalability, the autonomous vehicles can then be launched in more cities nationwide.

Upcoming Event - Princeton SmartDrivingCars Summit

From June 2nd to June 4th, CARTS and Princeton University have organized a gathering of leaders from within the industry, academia, public sector, and local communities to discuss the progress being made on the autonomous vehicle transportation. This year there will be an extensive discussion on Trenton MOVES as the program moves forward. To learn more, click here.

Details on the SmartDrivingCars Summit through CARTS and Princeton University


Burns, K. P. (2022, February 13). Trenton receives $5 million grant to make MOVES for residents. WHYY. https://whyy.org/articles/trenton-receives-5-million-grant-to-make-moves-for-residents/

New Jersey Announces Grant for Trenton MOVES Autonomous Vehicle-Based Urban Transit System Project. (2022, February 11). Mass Transit Magazine. https://www.masstransitmag.com/alt-mobility/autonomous-vehicles/press-release/21256516/new-jersey-office-of-the-governor-new-jersey-announces-grant-for-trenton-moves-autonomous-vehiclebased-urban-transit-system-project

New Jersey Department of Transportation [NJDOT Technology Transfer]. (2022, March 16). NJ STIC 1st Quarterly Meeting 2022, March 16, 2022 [Video]. YouTube. Presentation starts at 1 hour, 21 mins. https://youtu.be/rHIr8UW4zLg?t=4862

Partners for Automated Vehicle Education. (2022, May 4). PAVE’s Virtual Panel “AVs and Public Good: Trenton MOVES” [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KawGghbte4s

Propel: NJDOT Commissioner Gutierrez-Scaccetti and the Trenton NJ MOVES Program - Allen & Overy. April 29, 2022). [Podcast]. https://www.allenovery.com/en-gb/germany/news-and-insights/publications/propel-njdot-commissioner-gutierrez-scaccetti-and-the-trenton-nj-moves-program

Smart Driving Cars Podcast. (2022, January 17). Smart Driving Cars 251 special edition: Making it Happen: Trenton Moves [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DT8rmDYzwkg

State of New Jersey. (2021, December 6). Office of the Governor | Murphy Administration Announces RFEI for Project to Create the First Autonomous Vehicle-Based Urban Transit System in America [Press release and RFEI]. https://nj.gov/governor/news/news/562021/approved/20211206b.shtml