The Federal Highway Administration on Friday, April 23, approved the Kaua‘i Alternative Fuel Corridor, a move that will bring a host of benefits to the Garden Island including streamlined access to potential funding for electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
The highway segments that make up the alternative fuel corridor are called the “Perimeter Route” running 71.3 miles from Hā‘ena along Highway 560, Highway 56 and Highway 50 through to West Kaua‘i.
Kaua‘i’s designation means all six major islands in Hawai‘i now have alternative fuel corridors, solidifying the state’s commitment to transforming the national transportation outlook and setting a precedent on EV integration. The nomination of the Kaua‘i corridor was coordinated by the Hawai‘i State Energy Office in cooperation with the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation, the County of Kaua‘i, the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative, the Ulupono Initiative, and the Sustainable Transportation Coalition of Hawai‘i.
“Ground transportation accounts for nearly one-quarter of Hawai‘i’s energy emissions so efforts to expand the use of EVs are central to achieving the state’s commitment to a zero-emissions clean economy by 2045,” said Scott Glenn, Hawai‘i’s Chief Energy Officer “We were grateful to have such committed and supportive partners for this project that will help reduce petroleum consumption and emissions in the transportation sector.”
Kaua‘i Mayor Derek SK Kawakami welcomed the federal approval.
“Electric vehicles coupled with increased opportunities for walking, biking and transit are at the heart of our county transportation policies,” Kawakami said. “We greatly appreciate the strong partnerships we have to realize these objectives. This federal EV corridor designation is key to moving ahead on needed EV infrastructure for our Island.”
Availability of EV charging infrastructure is crucial in encouraging EV adoption and decarbonization of transportation, said Ed Sniffen Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation Deputy Director for Highways.
“The approval of the Kauaʻi Alternative Fuel Corridor positions our State’s clean energy partners to improve the infrastructure support of sustainable energy,” Sniffen explained.
In addition to paving the way for potential EV infrastructure funding, the alternative fuel corridor designation will:
-Help coordinate actions needed to effectively identify and deploy EV infrastructure across Kaua‘i County.
-Highlight the importance of clean transportation roadways and charging locations.
-Facilitate increased coordination between state and local government agencies, Hawaii’s businesses, and social communities.
-Incentivize vehicle dealers to increase EV availability and encourage rental car agencies to add vehicles to their fleet.
The Hawai‘i State Energy Office is committed to continued collaboration with stakeholders including local, state, federal, and international entities to advance the development of DC fast charging infrastructure on Kaua‘i to support the state’s clean energy and climate goals. To achieve those ends, HSEO has committed to allocate up to $50,000 to the deployment of a DC fast charger on Kaua‘i through its role as administrator for the State of Hawaii Volkswagen Settlement funds.
Support from the County of Kaua‘i and the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative was critical in obtaining the alternative fuel corridor designation. Also key were the backing of the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation and financial support of the Ulupono Initiative. Consistent with its mission, Ulupono allocated $25,000, or 20% of the cost of deployment, for a DC fast charger on Kaua‘i.
Hawai‘i has a solid track record of promoting clean transportation. In 2017, the four counties of Hawai‘i committed to a shared goal of reaching 100% renewable ground transportation by 2045. In their proclamations, the County of Kaua‘i, the City and County of Honolulu, and the County of Maui pledged to lead the way by transitioning all of their fleet vehicles to 100% renewable power by 2035.
In 2018, Hawai‘i created the Zero Emissions Clean Economy Target, which states:
“Considering both atmospheric carbon and greenhouse gas emissions as well as offsets from the local sequestration of atmospheric carbon and greenhouse gases through long-term sinks and reservoirs, a statewide target is hereby established to sequester more atmospheric carbon and greenhouse gases than emitted within the State as quickly as practicable, but no later than 2045.”
In 2020 Hawai‘i joined with 14 other states and the District of Columbia as signatory states to the Multi-State Medium- and Heavy-Duty Zero Emission Vehicle Memorandum of Understanding which, among other things, is an agreement to strive to make sales of all new medium- and heavy-duty vehicles in their jurisdictions zero-emission vehicles by no later than 2050.