PORTLAND, Ore. (KGW) — The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) will open its Community Charging Rebates Program in June, setting aside millions to help jump start Oregonians’ transition to electric vehicles (EVs).
“In our battle with climate change, you know, time is carbon,” said Jim Swenson. He’s part of the community of seniors at PDX Commons, a 27-unit intentional senior community in Southeast Portland.
When the complex opened in 2017, it had a few EV charging ports but not enough to meet today’s increasing demand. “We polled our members and within the next year or two, we figure there’ll be at least a dozen new electric vehicles that people will be buying,” Swenson said.
So it’s time for expensive upgrades, like a new electrical panel and five new EV charging ports. Those upgrades are estimated to cost more than $20,000, enough to break most budgets.
To overcome that financial burden, ODOT is unlocking $1.75 million in funding between June and August, or until the fund runs out.
Forth, a local nonprofit, is helping to answer questions about the program and eligibility requirements, which are pretty straightforward for this initial round of funding
“We hold bi-weekly information sessions and we’ve got a lot of interest from local business owners and people in rural communities who are eager to apply,” said Brittney Breen of Forth. “Everyone’s asking when the application will open and how to apply. So yeah, people are definitely very excited about the funding.”
ODOT said $1.225 million, or 70% of the initial funding, will be offered to rural and disadvantaged communities. The other 30%, or $525,000, will go to non-priority communities.
PDX Commons falls under the multi-family housing category.
“Normally in our budgeting process, we would do one of these every year or so. It would take three to five years to cover the whole garage,” Swenson said. “This program advances that significantly, and we can do it in six months.”
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