HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has awarded more than $3.4 million in 2020 Alternative Fuel Incentive Grants (AFIGs) to 20 cleaner fuel transportation projects statewide that will help improve air quality and public health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to address climate change.
“These grants help cities, counties, school districts, colleges, as well as delivery, trash hauling, and other companies across Pennsylvania that want to be proactive in reducing air pollution from transportation,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Their projects will help Pennsylvanians breathe cleaner air at school, in their communities, and at their workplaces.”
The AFIG Program funds projects that replace older gasoline- or diesel-fueled vehicles with cleaner fuel vehicles to reduce emissions of carbon monoxide, particulate matter, volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides, and carbon dioxide, a principal greenhouse gas.
The program supports electric, ethanol, biodiesel, compressed natural gas (CNG), propane gas, and other cleaner fuel vehicles. It also supports installation of fueling stations for these vehicles.
Transportation generates 47 percent of nitrogen oxides emissions in Pennsylvania, contributing to the formation of ground-level ozone. This affects the health of children; older people; people with lung diseases, such as asthma and emphysema; and those who work or are active outdoors. The state Department of Health has found that asthma-related emergency room visits increase when air quality is very poor.
Vehicles release 21 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in the state, contributing to climate change.
The 2020 AFIG funded projects will put 209 cleaner fuel school buses, garbage trucks, package delivery trucks, and other vehicles in use, including the first electric tractor-trailer to receive AFIG funding. Four projects will install a propane fueling station and 10 electric vehicle (EV) chargers, including two that will be solar powered.
More than half the projects will help improve air quality in Environmental Justice communities, or census tracts where 20 percent or more individuals live at or below the federal poverty line and/or 30 percent or more individuals identify as a non-white minority, according to federal data.
Collectively the projects are anticipated to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by over 900 metric tons per year.
Grouped by county, the 2020 funded projects are as follows:
• Ingevity Corporation: $256,745 to equip 28 vehicles in eight Pennsylvania-based fleets with its adsorbed natural gas technology and install refueling infrastructure at each fleet’s location to study the environmental and economic impacts of using this renewable natural gas technology. Fleets are based in Allegheny, Erie, Lancaster, Philadelphia, and Washington counties.
• Tri-County Transportation: $313,500 for the purchase of 33 propane school buses that serve schools in Indiana and Jefferson counties.
• Waste Management of Pennsylvania: $200,000 to purchase eight CNG garbage trucks that serve Bucks, Lackawanna, and Montgomery counties.
• Allegheny County: $30,000 to purchase four EVs.
• City of Pittsburgh: $160,000 for the purchase of eight EVs and one electric bucket truck that will be used for tree maintenance in the city. The vehicles are part of a project that also includes charging stations supported by a DEP Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority COVID-19 Restart Grant.
• TARS Trucking: $52,500 for the purchase of a Tesla electric tractor-trailer to haul metal freight to and from steel manufacturers, suppliers, and end-users in the Pittsburgh region.
• Albright College: $96,708 to install two solar-powered Level 2 EV chargers and $27,305 to lease five EVs.
• Wilson School District: $197,500 to install a propane fueling station for school buses.
• Derry Township School District: $34,000 to purchase four propane school buses.
• Delaware County: $112,500 to purchase 15 EVs and $35,740 to install six Level 2 charging stations.
• Northwestern Rural Electric Cooperative Association: $149,849 to install two direct current fast chargers for EVs for public use at a Country Fair service station in Edinboro.
• Lancaster Solid Waste Management Authority: $240,000 to purchase six CNG waste transfer trucks.
• Lehigh University: $24,412 to purchase three EVs and one electric all-terrain vehicle as part of transitioning the university police department to EVs.
• Lower Merion School District: $289,590 to purchase 10 CNG school buses.
• United Parcel Service: $300,000 to purchase 35 CNG delivery vehicles based at the Horsham facility.
• DMJ Transportation: $300,000 for the purchase of 34 propane school buses serving Greater Latrobe School District.
• Shank Waste Service: $300,000 for the purchase of eight CNG garbage trucks.
• United Parcel Service: $300,000 to purchase 35 CNG delivery vehicles based at the New Stanton facility.
Local governments, schools, businesses, and organizations may apply for AFIG funding. DEP administers the AFIG Program under the Pennsylvania Alternative Fuels Incentive Act of 2004. The program was originally established under Act 166 of 1992.
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