Governor Phil Scott announced a million-dollar grant that will be sent to apartments and housing communities to build electric vehicle charging stations. Vermont officials and housing communities like the Cathedral Square see this move as a win-win.

Greg Montgomery, the Project Manager for Cathedral Square says the move will allow them to offer additional amenities to their tenants while using state money to burden the costs. Meanwhile, government officials say the move will incentivize people to own electric vehicles, which they say will have some environmental benefits for the state.

“Trying to be conscientious about our carbon footprint and fossil fuel consumption is very important to us,” said Montgomery. 

Both sides see electric vehicles as one potential solution.

“There are tail pipe emissions that can improve local air quality and provide health benefits,” said Bronwyn Cooke, Policy and Planning Manager for the Department of Housing and Community Development. “Also reduces greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.” 

The idea is to incentivize people to use electric vehicles. “The concentration has been focused on the purchasing of the vehicle but not the actual infrastructure required for charging, so you get an electric vehicle, and then what do you do with it? The most convenient place for most people to charge is at home where their vehicle is usually parked for a longer period so the program is intended to increase access for home charging for Vermonters who live in multifamily residences.”

While housing communities saw the environmental benefits of charging stations, they say high costs deterred them in the past. 

“Major obstacles that we’ve been running into,” said Montgomery. “One was always cost. Without the grant from the State, this wouldn’t have been a possibility. The infrastructure required for charging at a multifamily property is quite large and expensive.”

The grant money will subsidize the costs and installation of the charging units of “multi-unit” properties including properties at Cathedral Square. In the first round, 84 charging ports will be installed at 37 different locations. The program recently awarded 13 project proposals across 8 different counties. More rounds will be announced at a later date.

Governor Scott approved an additional three million to continue the program. Montgomery says he expects all of their properties to have chargers installed over the next two years, and state officials like Cooke say they are excited to see the program expand.