Youngstown Approves EPA Grant for EV Charging Stations

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The city’s Board of Control on Thursday approved accepting $60,000 in grant money from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to install four electric-vehicle charging stations at two locations downtown.

Two stations will be installed at the Kress parking lot, next to the Seventh District Court of Appeals building on West Federal Street, said Charles Shasho, deputy director of public works. Two additional stations are planned for city-owned property on the corner of West Federal and Fifth Avenue, next to the fire station, he said. 

Each station holds two charging ports that are able to accommodate two vehicles simultaneously, Shasho said. The city still has to select equipment for the project. 

“We’re looking to have them installed by the fall,” he said. The charging hubs are designated Level 2 stations, meaning it would take about eight hours to fully charge an average electric vehicle at a range of 18-28 miles per hour.

The stations will be available to the public, though the city still has to work out additional details regarding access to the lots, Shasho said.

In March, the Ohio EPA announced it had awarded $132,298 in grant money to five locations in Mahoning County that would be used to support EV charging stations.

Aside from the two locations in the city, the OEPA awarded $30,000 to the Western Reserve Transit Authority toward the installation of three stations at its administration building on Mahoning Avenue, $27,298 to Mercy Health St. Elizabeth Hospital Youngstown toward new charging stations there, and $15,000 to Taylor Kia of Boardman to help the dealership construct a charging station at its lot on Market Street. 

A separate round of grant funding for fast-charging stations is planned for later this year, the Ohio EPA said in March.  The agency will also be funding an electric school bus pilot project.

The Ohio EPA awarded $3.25 million toward the installation of more than 500 electric-vehicle charging ports at more than 170 sites across 22 counties. 

Funding was made available through the Volkswagen Mitigation Trust Fund.  Private and public entities in 26 counties were eligible to apply for the grants, which provide full or partial funding for the electric charging stations.

The Volkswagen Mitigation Trust Fund resulted from a federal lawsuit that alleged Volkswagen AG installed defective devices on certain vehicles covering model years 2009 through 2016. The devices activated during emissions testing made vehicles appear to be compliant with the law, when in fact, during on-road operation, the vehicles emitted nine to 40 times the allowable amount of nitrogen oxides, a harmful air pollutant. 

Per a court settlement, funds were distributed to states based on the number of registered vehicles that contained the illegal devices.

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