This story is a staff report from The Paper.

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), co-founder of the Electrification Caucus and member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, joined U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, and White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy as they announced historic levels of funding to establish the new nationwide network of electric vehicle charging stations included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The program will provide nearly $5 billion over five years to help states create a network of EV charging stations along designated Alternative Fuel Corridors, particularly along the Interstate Highway System. The total amount available to states in Fiscal Year 2022 under the NEVI Formula Program is $615 million. States must submit an EV Infrastructure Deployment Plan before they can access these funds. A second, competitive grant program designed to further increase EV charging access in locations throughout the country, including in rural and underserved communities, will be announced later this year.

New Mexico is expected to receive $38 million over five years to support the expansion of an EV charging network in the state. New Mexico will also have the opportunity to apply for the $2.5 billion in grant funding dedicated to EV charging in the law.

“As a mechanical engineering student in college, I was part of a team that designed and raced a carbon fiber solar car called the Sun Tiger from Dallas all the way up to Minneapolis. It’s exciting to see how EV technology has taken off since then—and created new careers,” Heinrich said. “This historic investment to build out the first-ever nationwide charging network will accelerate the adoption of EVs to address the climate crisis, and help drivers save money.”

The Biden administration released a guide, titled Charging Forward: A Toolkit for Planning and Funding Rural Electric Mobility Infrastructure, that helps connect rural communities with partners needed for these projects. The toolkit contains best practices for planning EV charging networks and tips to navigate federal funding and financing to help make these projects a reality.

“This new toolkit brings rural New Mexico communities to the table so that they too can reap the job and economic opportunities from the new EV charging network,” Heinrich added.