The federal government is continuing its encouragement for consumers to buy battery-electric vehicles with a plan for a network of EV charging corridors along the national highway system.

As part of the FAST Act (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation) signed into law last December, the Department of Energy has unlocked $4.5 billion in loan guarantees to support a commercial roll out of the charging corridors.

In addition to EV charging, the FAST Act includes provisions to include hydrogen, propane and natural gas fueling corridors.

The FAST Act was the first federal law in more than a decade to provide long-term funding for surface transportation infrastructure and planning. The act authorized $305 billion in funding over fiscal years 2016 through 2020.

To determine the best corridor locations, the Federal Highway Administration invited state and local governments to submit their recommendations for route designations. Submissions are due August 22, 2016.

SEE ALSO: Nissan’s No Charge To Charge Heads To Indy

“We can’t have Smart Cities without Smart Highways,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. “Making sure drivers with alternative fuel vehicles can use the national highway system, rather than being limited only to local areas, is the next step in advancing America’s transportation network.”

Once the infrastructure is developed, the Department of Transportation plans to put red, white, and blue shield-shaped signs along highways to designate the fueling stations.

The aim of the initiative is to reduce “range anxiety,” a major stumbling block in consumer acceptance of EVs.

Currently there are more than 16,000 EV charging stations in the U.S.

U.S. Department of Transportation, Digital Journal.