FAQ - Drive Clean Station

Questions and Answers

City of Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT)

Updated: March 17th, 2017

These answers are based on the City of Chicago’s Department of Transportation (CDOT) interpretation of the questions received. It is the applicant’s responsibility to determine whether or not they are eligible to bid under this Request for Application (RFA), by reviewing the eligibility requirements within the solicitation (see, page 5, Section E, Eligibility).

Click here to download the Questions and Answers for the Drive Clean Station RFA.

Q.1: Are prevailing wages required under the DRIVE CLEAN STATION - GRANT PROGRAM?
A.1: To the extent applicable, the Governmental Body will comply with the Davis-Bacon Act, as amended, 40 U.S.C. 3141 et seq., the Copeland “Anti-Kickback” Act, as amended, 18 U.S.C. 874, and the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act, as amended, 40 U.S.C. 3701 et seq., regarding labor standards for federally assisted sub agreements.

Q.2: Is there a formal evaluation scoring criteria used? Will this criteria be shared with the applicants?
A.2: The formal evaluation criteria is listed on page 11, Section C of the RFA. All of the criteria and points are identified on that page.

Q.3: Are you anticipating 4 or 5 CNG Stations within the $ 1.4 Million budget?
A.3: An estimated 4 CNG Stations and 15 DC Fast Charge Stations will be awarded under this RFA.

Q.4: In regards to review criteria, the RFQ states competitive, what exactly is the Program looking for?
A.4: The goal of the Drive Clean Chicago Station program is to accelerate the adoption of Compressed Natural Gas and DC Fast Charging infrastructure throughout the Chicago land Area. See Section C Page 7 of the RFA.

Q.5: Can an award be made for a station in its planning stages?
A.5: The Drive Clean Station is reimbursement grant program. All projects must meet the requirements of the RFA and be operational and completed by June 30 2017.

Q.6: Can the total station cost include operational costs for the following years?
A.6: The total cost of the station should not include ongoing operational costs. The RFA is does however request the respondent describe the proposed operation and maintenance plan and schedule for at least 5 years from the date the station is commissioned.

Q.7: Would equipment costs be included in the match?
A.7: The RFA is a reimbursement grant program. See Page 3 Section A and Page 7 Section G. of the RFA for clarification of allowable costs reimbursements.

Q.8: Can you explain how reimbursement will work?
A.8: Awardees will negotiate a contract with CALSTART, in which all Terms & Conditions will be identified including reimbursement.

Q.9: Are Hydrogen Fuel Cells Eligible under this Request for Application?
A.9: No, the Drive Clean Station RFA pertains only to Compressed Natural Gas Stations and DC Fast Charge Station Projects.

Q.10: Are Renewable Natural Gas projects eligible under this Request for Application?
A.10: Yes as long as they meet the requirements of the Drive Clean Station RFA.

Q.11: Is there a preference for fuel reduction for the private side of the station (anchor fleet) or the public side of the station? Can you combine them?
A.11: Yes, a publically assessable station combined with a private anchor fleet is allowable.

Q.12: Are there desired station locations or commitment for the fuel use?
A.12: No, the Drive Clean Station RFA is looking for publicly accessible station locations throughout the Chicago 6-county area (Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will Counties in Illinois that will maximize the use of CNG and DC Fast Charging.

Q.13: Would an existing private CNG fueling station that added credit cards and then be modified to allow public access be allowable under this RFA?
A.13: Upgrading Private Stations to make them accessible to the public/other fleets are deemed allowable under this RFA.

Q.14: What are the Buy America requirements? What regulation is being referenced?
A.14: The Buy America (BA) requirements are referenced in the Drive Clean Station RFA on Page 8 in section 111. –Application requirements, Sub Section C, Number 2 Project Narrative and in Section B, Project Equipment, Number 6.

Q.15: Are the Buy America (BA) requirements coming from DOT or DOE?
A.15: It is neither. This is Federal Highway Administration (FHA) funding. The funds are then sent to Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and these BA requirements are specifically what is in the City of Chicago’s funding agreement with IDOT. There is no other source that is going to give you any more clarification or guidance on the BA requirements other than what we have listed in the RFA on Page 8.

Q.16: Can today’s presentation be made available on the Drive Clean Chicago Website?
A.16: Yes, the presentation will be made available http://www.drivecleanchicago.com/

Q.17: How long are stations expected to stay operational after start-up?
A.17: Stations are expected to stay operational a minimum of 3 years.

Q.18: We have an old CNG Station that requires rehabilitation –Is it eligible for funding?
A.18: Upgrading Private Stations to make them accessible to the public/other fleets are deemed allowable under this RFA.

Q.19: Who is the present lead contractor for the Drive Clean Chicago Contract?

Q.20: Would this include filling stations for Auto Propane?
A.20: No, the Drive Clean Station RFA pertains only to Compressed Natural Gas Stations and DC Fast Charge Station Projects.

Q.21: Are Level 2 Chargers available for reimbursement under this RFA?
A.21: No, this RFA only applies to DC Fast Charge Installations.

Q.22: May our organization only apply for (1) DC Fast Charger at our location?
A.22: Yes

Q.23: May DC Fast Chargers be located beyond the areas of the specified grant area?
A.23: No. All proposed project locations must be located in the specified 6 County Area of Northern Illinois.

Q.24: Will funding further down the road for DC Fast Charging infrastructure be available thru this program?
A.24: The Chicago Department of Transportation does not currently anticipate offering additional DC Fast Charger funding once Drive Clean Station closes. The State of Illinois through its Department of Commerce has a charging station rebate program: http://www.afdc.energy.gov/laws/10532   This program is currently suspended pending passage of Illinois state budget.

Q.25: Can an applicant use other grant funding for matching funds?
A.25: An applicant can use other grants for matching funds, so long as they are not from a federal source. Drive Clean Chicago is funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration’s Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program (CMAQ). One of the requirements of CMAQ funding is that it not be paired with other federal funding.

Q.26: I’m hearing a lot about the Volkswagen diesel emissions settlement funding to states. Will those funds be eligible for use as matching funds?
A.26: Full details regarding the Volkswagen diesel emissions settlement funds have yet to be released. In the past, settlement funds have been eligible for use as local matching funds. Drive Clean Chicago will update the answer to this question as more details about the VW funds become available.

Q.27: Who pays for the electricity needed for the electric vehicle charging, the station owner or the electric vehicle driver?
A.27: The Drive Clean Station program leaves that decision in the hands of the station owner. There are a variety of business models for public charging. In some instances, the station providers choose to make charging free and pay for the electricity used. In other instances, a user fee is implemented. Some business models charge a fee based on the amount of time the vehicle is plugged in, a per-kilowatt hour fee or via monthly membership programs.

Q. 28: Are there apps or other resources available for finding the stations?
A.28: Yes! The U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) has a Web site (desktop and mobile) and an iPhone App available to assist motorists in finding charging stations in the Chicagoland area and throughout the country.
AFDC Web Site: http://www.afdc.energy.gov/fuels/electricity_locations.html
AFDC App: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/alternative-fueling-station/id718577947

Q.29: Can this program encourage electric vehicle charging in the workplace?
A.29: Absolutely! We’re seeing a nationwide trend toward many large employers using electric vehicle charging stations and DC fast charging stations as employee benefits. Workplace charging shows a commitment on the part of the employer to clean air and can be a great public relations and human resources tool.

Q.30: Can you please elaborate on how sufficient infrastructure for corridor signage is determined?
A.30: The Federal Highway Administration is in the process of developing national signage and branding for the newly-designated alternative fuel corridors. You can learn more here: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/alternative_fuel_corridors/

Q.31: Can the deadline for installation and operation be extended in the case of inclement weather?
A.31: At this time, all stations are required to be installed and operating by Dec. 31, 2017.

Q.32: Do the stations drive economic development?
A.32: Absolutely! EV drivers seeking out DC fast charging stations tend to patronize businesses that have the stations. Businesses within walking distance of DC fast charging stations benefit as well, as EV drivers seek places to dine or show while they wait for their vehicles to charge.