West Hartford Receiving Federal Funds for Electric Vehicle, Charging Station

Electric vehicle charging station at West Hartford Town Hall. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

West Hartford is one of 10 communities in the state to receive funds from the Department of Transportation as part of a program to reduce vehicle emissions.

By Ronni Newton

The Town of West Hartford will receive a $20,952 grant from the Connecticut Department of Transportation, funded through the Federal Highway Administration’s Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement Program, which will support the purchase of the town’s first electric vehicles and the installation of an additional charging station at Town Hall for use by the public.

The focus of the CMAQ Improvement Program is the reduction of vehicle exhaust emissions, and the grants support local, cost-effective projects to improve air quality. West Hartford is one of 10 communities in the state to receive a grant.

Gov. Ned Lamont announced the grants – which support upgrading of traffic signals to reduce bottlenecks as well as electric vehicle technology – and said the funds will help move the state toward cleaner air and cleaner transportation systems. “Technology in transportation can help unlock climate solutions for our state. By reducing air pollution in communities most impacted by its harmful effects, we can better deliver transportation equity and ultimately, better health outcomes for the people of Connecticut,” he said in a statement.

“It’s encouraging that West Hartford will receive support benefitting electric vehicles and reducing local air pollution,” state Sen. Derek Slap (D-West Hartford), said in a statement. “This investment in local services will help the town acquire its first electric vehicles and make it easier for any resident with an electric vehicle to charge and go in the center of town. I’m grateful to the Department of Transportation and the governor for supporting our community.”

The grant will further efforts Town Council committed to with the adoption of a Climate Crisis Resolution last month.

“West Hartford recently adopted a climate change resolution that will impact all future town actions in an effort to achieve net-zero carbon emissions as quickly as practicable,” Mayor Shari Cantor said in a statement. “We are thankful for Governor Lamont’s investment in West Hartford’s goals to improve our air quality by helping us fund our first EV vehicle and expand our public charging stations.”

Acting Town Manager Rick Ledwith said he appreciated the governor’s support for the town efforts to improve air quality through support of EV technology. “The timing is perfectly aligned with the Town Council’s recent action to improve air quality through the implementation of projects, practices, and policies that eliminate or counteract the emission of greenhouse gases,” he said in a statement.

The transportation sector is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for more than 67% of smog-forming air pollution in Connecticut, said Katie Dykes, commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and these projects build on other state efforts including support for electric school buses in environmental justice communities. “The interest we’ve seen in these projects show that municipalities in our state are eager to implement projects that support our transition to a clean transportation future,” she said.

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