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May 18, 2020
New Tool Delivers Insights on Highway Revenue Losses
Source: Atlas Public Policy
While the reduction in driving due to shelter-in-place orders has led to cleaner air in some cities, states are grappling with a major decline in road usage revenue and transportation funding as a result of COVID-19. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials predicts that transportation revenue could drop by more than 30 percent nationwide and delay major infrastructure projects for more than a year. The impacts on road networks are compounded as social distancing requirements have delayed construction projects and revenue collection from both toll fees and gas taxes are plummeting with people confined to their homes. Toll collection has been down between 50 and 90 percent according to the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association.

Transportation industry advocates are hoping to benefit from provisions in the next coronavirus stimulus package which was pushed to a vote in the House on Friday May 15th. Public transit systems and airports were bailed out in the stimulus approved in March, but nothing was allocated for state highways and bridges. Although states can expect some coronavirus relief to jumpstart major projects, Senate leadership has expressed resistance to replacing lost revenue. States are relying on this stimulus spending to fuel existing plans, with California opting to maintain major project plans despite facing a $54 billion budget deficit due to a 22 percent decline in state revenue. Other states such as Missouri and North Carolina have been forced to scuttle infrastructure projects worth billions.

Well before the pandemic arrived, increasing inflation, passenger vehicle fuel economy, and EV adoption to a lesser extent is exposing a vulnerability of state transportation revenue policy. At least 28 states have responded to revenue shortfalls by increasing annual registration fees for EVs. However, 11 of these states are charging fees higher than the amount drivers of conventional vehicles pay in gas taxes, according to Consumer Reports. The authors of the report note that, for states like Arkansas and Wyoming with low EV adoption, punitive fees are unlikely to make a significant contribution to road network funding, failing to address the much more significant causes of revenue shortfalls; namely, the increased fuel economy of the vehicle fleet and the failure to adjust the gas tax for inflation.

To help make sense of the various factors influencing transportation network funding, Atlas has created the Highway Revenue Assessment Tool, a powerful user-friendly Excel tool that equips users with vital data on the sources of revenue gaps and ways to address them. The tool provides users with stock inputs for factors like highway revenue, gasoline vehicle fleet, EV adoption, fuel prices, and vehicle miles travelled based on information from the Federal Highway Administration’s Highway Statistics Series and the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook; users can also customize many of the tool’s assumptions to model specific scenarios. Under the stock scenarios for California, shifts in driver behavior including increasing EV adoption are estimated to generate a 25 percent decline in gas tax revenue by 2030. Even with current EV fees of $100 per all-electric vehicle in place, this could still lead to a $1.1 billion revenue shortfall since EVs aren’t the primary cause of these losses.

The inability of EV fees to fully account for lost revenues exposes the deep structural challenges of pegging road network funding to a tax on gas consumption. The Highway Revenue Assessment tool shows that even when set to levels higher than what drivers of conventional vehicles would owe in gas taxes, EV fees don’t even make a dent in the projected revenue loss. Instead, the Golden State’s revenue losses mostly come from inflation and increases in vehicle fleet fuel economy.

California is one of several states exploring mileage-based road usage fees as a way of ensuring equitable contributions across drivers regardless of the fuel that powers their vehicle. Others like Ohio are working to reduce existing EV fees to ensure that their states benefit from the public health benefits of increasing transportation electrification as well as investment in EV manufacturing. Ohio is set to be the home for major investments from GM and Lordstown Motors which are both building EV manufacturing capacity in the state.

As a part of our planned upgrades to the EV Hub, we will be adding new dashboards tracking EV investments at the state level which can be used in conjunction with the Highway Revenue Assessment Tool to see how states can take advantage of different policy tools while benefiting from a growing EV sector.
See the Highway Revenue Assessment Tool
EV Hub Onboarding May 28th

Join us at 2 PM EST on May 28th for the EV Hub Onboarding! 

The number of users on EV Hub is growing and the content on the platform is constantly expanding to new areas. To help new folks get acclimated and to help existing users find out about new features, we’ll be hosting an online tour/training of EV Hub. This event will occur on a quarterly basis. Anyone can join, including those who aren’t on EV Hub. 

You can join the event here: https://www.atlasevhub.com/quarterly-onboarding 

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EV Hub News

Washington Awards $12 million from the VW Settlement for 40 Electric School Buses

On April 29, 2020, the Washington State Department of Ecology awarded $12 million from the state’s federal VW Settlement allocation to fund 40 electric school buses across the state. This award makes Washington the 14th state to commit settlement funds to school bus electrification. In addition to school buses, Washington has awarded more than $13 million for electric transit buses. It is also the first and only state to invest in hybrid electric ferry boats, awarding a total of $35 million to replace three of the state’s largest vessels in September 2019. Read More Here

New Jersey Will Allocate Remaining $45 Million VW Settlement Funds to EVs and EV Charging

Strengthening the state’s transportation electrification leadership, policymakers in New Jersey announced on April 22, 2020 that the remaining VW Settlement Funds worth almost $45 million will go towards EVs and EV charging. Roughly $32.7 million of this will go towards the replacement of old diesel buses, trucks, trains, port equipment, and marine vessels with electric alternatives. New Jersey has already awarded more than $24 million to EVs across several different vehicle categories and is one of only six total states awarding funds for electric trucks. 

The new round of funding also includes an RFP for charging infrastructure through the state’s It Pay$ to Plug In worth $7.6 million. The program that has already awarded $3.2 million for both DC fast and Level 2 charging stations throughout the state. 

The RFP will be open through June 22, 2020. Read More Here

NYSERDA Adds $5 million to the Charge Ready NY Program

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has added $5 million to the Charge Ready NY program which offers $4,000 rebates to public and private organizations that install Level 2 EV charging stations at public parking facilities, workplaces, and multifamily apartment buildings. This announcement brings the program’s total budget to $12 million. Since launching in September 2018, the program has supported more than 1,800 charging ports, of which over 1,000 have already been installed. Read More Here

Catch Up On EV Hub News Alerts
Job Openings
Below are current job openings in transportation electrification: If you have a job posting you would like to share with EV Hub users, please send them to us in an email at info@atlasevhub.com.
Upcoming Events

Sales of traditional new cars were already showing signs of weakness as much of the world reached “peak car” this year. But the coronavirus and the resulting economic fallout are likely to drive sales sharply lower for 2020. At this webinar, our speakers will highlight the impact COVID-19 to the electric vehicle industry and provide strategies to continue to accelerate transportation electrification. Read more here.

May 19th @ 10am PST

This educational webinar will provide a framework for defining and developing an electric vehicle (EV) incentives program strategy. Join CSE renewable energy experts as they discuss best practices for developing an effective strategy and cover the foundational elements of program design. Read more here.

May 19th @ 1pm PST

Join the Electrification Coalition’s Climate Mayors EV Purchasing Collaborative team for a webinar to learn how to save money by leasing electric vehicles for your fleet. The speakers will discuss city experiences and examples of leasing from across the country. Read more here.

May 20th @ 2pm EST

The number of users on EV Hub is growing and the content on the platform is constantly expanding to new areas. To help new folks get acclimated and to help existing users find out about new features, we’ll be hosting an online tour/training of EV Hub. This event will occur on a quarterly basis. Anyone can join, including those who aren’t on EV Hub. 

You can join the event here: https://www.atlasevhub.com/quarterly-onboarding 

 Read more here.

May 28th @ 2pm EST

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