Zero-emissions Access Program grant

Find information and learn how to apply for the Zero-emissions Access Program (ZAP) grant, which provides funding for zero-emissions carshare pilot programs in underserved and low- to moderate-income communities.

The Zero-emissions Access Program (ZAP) grant provides funding for zero-emissions carshare pilot programs. ZAP grants fund carshare pilot programs in underserved and low- to moderate-income communities that have limited access to public transportation or are in areas where emissions exceed state or federal standards.

The ZAP grant’s goal is to expand access to clean fuel transportation options and provide opportunities for zero-emissions carshare programs in underserved communities where access to public transportation is less available.

ZAP is a new grant with a competitive application process. This grant is supported by state funding authorized by RCW 47.04.355.

Definitions

Low- to moderate-income communities– Not exceeding 80 percent of the median family income for the area, subject to adjustments for areas with unusually high or low incomes or housing costs (Section 3(b)(2) of the United States Housing Act of 1937).

Underserved communities – Populations sharing a particular characteristic, as well as geographic communities, that have been systematically denied a full opportunity to participate in aspects of economic, social, and civic life, as exemplified by the definition of equity in Presidential Executive Order No. 13985, Sec. 2, 2021.

Carshare – A membership-based service that provides access to shared vehicles for shorter-term use (FTA shared mobility definitions, Carsharing Association).

Carshare members experience the benefits of private vehicle use without the cost of ownership. Carshare companies or nonprofits typically include services such as membership screening and enrollment, car reservation systems, payment processing, insurance for drivers, customer service, and car maintenance.

For the first cycle of the ZAP grant, applicants may define carshare more broadly to propose innovative projects that meet the unique needs of the communities they serve. Carshare vehicles must be equipped, licensed, and insured for use on public roads, including highways, without requiring a special driver’s license classification or endorsement.

If you have questions about whether your project qualifies as a zero-emissions carshare program, please contact us.

Eligible applicants

The ZAP grant is open to nonprofit organizations or local governments in Washington state. Local governments include cities, counties, housing authorities, ports, and public transit agencies.

Applicants must have a demonstrated history of implementing or managing clean-fuel transportation and shared-mobility pilot programs for low-income communities. Examples of experience may include implementing:

  • Transportation services for shared users (e.g., carshare or rideshare programs).
  • Micromobility programs (e.g., bike sharing).
  • Free and reduced-fare programs.
  • Subcontracts with agencies that have provided clean-fuel transportation and shared-mobility pilot programs for the community.
  • Installation of electric-vehicle infrastructure for community use.

This is not a comprehensive list. If you have questions about experience that will qualify, please contact us.

Grant award amounts

We have approximately $2.2 million available to fund grant projects for the 2021-2023 biennium.

We will make awards of $50,000-$200,000 per project.

Applicants may apply for more than one project. Each project requires a separate application.

Eligible projects

Projects and related costs for the ZAP grant may include the following:

  • Third-party contract, lease, or purchase of zero-emissions vehicles and charging equipment.
  • Construction or installation of zero-emissions charging station infrastructure for a carshare.
  • Operational costs to develop, implement, and manage a zero-emissions carshare program.

Project proposals may include planning activities if projects are running by June 30, 2023.

WSDOT strongly encourages applicants to design projects that maximize the accessibility of carshare vehicles and program materials. Applicants can prioritize access by:

  • Choosing vehicles that meet the needs of the community.
  • Housing vehicles in locations that promote safety and ease of use for all levels of ability.
  • Translating program materials and signage into languages that remove barriers to access.
  • Intentionally planning outreach and training activities for the specific needs of a community.
  • Creating paths to participation for community members who are unbanked, have limited access to technology, or who otherwise face barriers to using the carshare.

Property bought with ZAP grant funds by non-government organizations must be used only for the carshare program. If the property is sold, the proceeds must be used for the carshare program only. At the end of the ZAP-funded carshare, non-government organizations who wish to keep any property purchased with state funds must reimburse the state the fair market value of the property at that time.   

Match requirements

ZAP grant applicants must provide matching funds as direct contributions or gifts-in-kind equal to at least 10 percent of the total project cost.

Applicants may use any funding source as matching funds, except for other competitive state public transportation grants.

In-kind contributions are non-cash contributions provided by third parties to an organization.  In-kind contributions may be in the form of real property, equipment, supplies, and services. In-kind contributions should directly benefit and be specifically identifiable to the project.

Examples of in-kind contributions include free or reduced-cost parking or facilities, volunteer administrative work, or donated technology. The value of donated goods or services will be based on the fair market price at the time of the donation.

Applicants with in-kind contributions must provide documentation of in-kind valuation with their application. The value of donated goods or services will be based on the fair market price at the time of the donation. The in-kind match valuation supplemental form (Word 75KB) is available to assist the development and documentation of your in-kind contributions.

If you have questions about match requirements, please contact us.

Important dates

March 31, 2022: WSDOT posts notice of funding opportunity. Grant applications available.
April 12, 2022: Informational webinar for prospective applicants.
May 10, 2022: Applications are due by 3 p.m. PDT.
Mid-May - June 2022: Evaluation panel reviews and scores applications.  
Late June 2022: WSDOT sends award letters to grantees.
July 2022: WSDOT sends grant agreements and publishes grant guidebook.
June 30, 2023: 2021-2023 biennium ends. Last day to spend grant funds.

Planning to apply

WSDOT strongly encourages interested applicants to start planning before the application opens.

Create a zero-emissions carshare program that fits the needs of your community

Every community has their own unique transportation needs. There is no one-size-fits-all plan. ZAP grant applicants have the flexibility to propose projects that work for the communities they serve. You may find it helpful to research existing zero-emissions carshare programs in underserved communities across the country for insights on how to structure your program.

In 2018, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency published Facilitating Low-Income Utilization of Electric Vehicles: A Feasibility Study. The results and recommendations of the study informed the development of the ZAP grant.

Develop strategic partnerships to design, implement, and manage your project

Depending on the scope of your proposal, you may need to coordinate with utilities, electricians, electric vehicle supply equipment providers, third-party carshare providers, car dealerships, contractors, insurance companies and other partners to establish your community carshare.

Partnerships with equity-focused, community-based organizations are especially important and will be essential for engagement, outreach, and education to support your ZAP-funded carshare program. Build these partnerships early.

Work with key partners to identify and address logistical challenges

Establishing key partnerships early in the planning process will help you proactively identify and address risks to your project.

For example, if it’s important to your community to own or lease the zero-emissions vehicles and run the carshare in house, you’ll need to shop for car insurance. Insurance providers may be reluctant to provide coverage if your organization doesn’t have a fleet of vehicles, requiring you to explore other solutions.

Additionally, completing a site assessment early in your planning may reveal electrical upgrades, site changes, or security enhancements that you can factor into your project timeline and budget.

Community meetings or surveys may also give you valuable feedback on community interest in a zero-emissions carshare program and areas where outreach, education, and training will be needed.

8,683 animals crossed the Snoqualmie Pass East Project area

as recorded by WSDOT and partners in 2020 and 2021.

46% increase in Amtrak Cascades ridership to 251,000 passengers

in 2021 compared to 172,000 in 2020.

Nine wetland and stream mitigation sites across 32.7 acres added

to our monitoring program in 2021 to help offset climate change impacts.