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IDOT lays out sustainability initiatives for 2023

The year ahead promises to be a busy one for sustainability initiatives at IDOT. Deputy Director of Planning and Programming Elizabeth Irvin shares some of the sustainability projects starting or continuing in 2023,

Electric Vehicle Charging

IDOT is one of the principal agencies working on expanding electric vehicle charging across Illinois to help meet Gov. Pritzker’s goal of 1 million EV's on the road in 2030. The Office of Planning and Programming has been working to implement the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program, a provision of the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act providing nearly $150 million to build a network of public charging stations across the state. IDOT’s NEVI plan was approved by the federal government in September. The department will begin selecting locations for charging stations later this year. For more information on NEVI, visit Drive Electric Illinois.

In addition to the NEVI program, work continues on several other EV projects. A statewide research project conducted in partnership with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to identify the most equitable locations statewide for EV charging infrastructure was completed in December. The final report is available on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s website. The impact of electric vehicle adoption trends on the transportation revenues is also being studied. A report on these findings, required by state legislation, is in progress and will be complete in the spring. The Office of Intermodal Project Implementation also has been working to facilitate the transition of public transit fleets across the state to alternative fuels, such as electricity and natural gas.

IDOT is working with departments of transportation in neighboring states on regional electric vehicle charging initiatives, including the Lake Michigan Circuit Tour, which is focused on providing EV charging along Lake Michigan’s coastline in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin, as well as REV Midwest, an initiative focused on medium- and heavy-duty electrification throughout the Midwest. The department is also part of an effort to develop the Interstate 80 alternative fuel corridor from New Jersey to Iowa.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Work is underway on several initiatives related to better understanding and mitigating the greenhouse gas impacts of the state’s transportation system.

The Carbon Reduction Program is a new federal program established as part of the IIJA. It provides $215 million in federal funds for transportation investments in the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Eligibility for this program is broad, and the department will be working closely with Metropolitan Planning Organizations to develop the state’s carbon reduction strategy, which will be submitted to the federal government for approval by November.

The carbon reduction strategy is an opportunity to better understand the key sources of transportation emissions in Illinois and potential for greenhouse gas emission reductions, in anticipation of a new federal greenhouse gas performance measure, released in draft form this past July. Efforts are also being made to update environmental and equity measures within the Data Driven Decisions tool, which evaluates capacity projects proposed for inclusion in the state’s multiyear program.