During a recent visit to the WMATA Carmen Turner Maintenance and Training Facility in Landover, Md., Vice President Joe Biden announced $300 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for state and local governments and transit authorities to expand the nation's fleet of clean, sustainable vehicles and the fueling infrastructure necessary to support them.
“For city and state governments across this country, every day is Earth Day thanks to the ambitious commitments they are making to green their vehicles and transit systems,” said Biden. “Now it's time for Washington to help them deliver on those promises. From advanced battery cars to hybrid-electric city buses, we're going put Recovery Act dollars to work deploying cleaner, greener vehicles in cities and towns across the nation that will cut costs, reduce pollution and create the jobs that will drive our economic recovery.”
The Clean Cities Alternative Fuel and Advanced Technology Vehicles Pilot Program will speed the transformation of our nation's vehicle fleet, help to reduce carbon emissions, and increase energy security by helping reduce U.S. dependence to foreign oil. This funding adds to the $11 billion already announced by the Department of Energy to bolster state and local government energy efficiency programs and weatherize low-income homes.
“These funds will give local and state governments the tools to expand the use of advanced technology vehicles in their fleets while at the same time building the infrastructure needed for tomorrow’s clean economy,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “This program represents another step toward freeing America from its reliance on foreign oil and lessening our emissions that contribute to global climate change.”
Vice President Biden was joined at the event by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, who last year committed to convert the entire Maryland Transit Administration bus fleet to hybrid-electric buses by 2014. Earlier this year, the state of Maryland was able to accelerate the purchase of the hybrid-electric buses with the help of Recovery Act funds and, as a member of the Clean Cities program, the state would be eligible to apply for additional funds needed to meet their goal through this pilot program. Also in attendance were Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards (D-MD).
The Clean Cities Program offers $300 million to support at least 30 alternative fuels or advanced vehicles projects and requires a 50% participant cost share. Technologies eligible to be funded include a number of different light- and heavy-duty vehicles, including hybrid, plug-in electric hybrid, hydraulic hybrid, electric, fuel cell, and compressed natural gas vehicles. In addition, projects can support refueling infrastructure for alternative fuels, including biofuels and natural gas. Other efforts eligible for funds include public awareness campaigns and training programs on alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles and infrastructure.
Applicants to the Clean Cities Program must be state or local governments or metropolitan transit authorities that partner with a designated Clean Cities coalition. Once awarded, these funds will help local and state government agencies make investments in clean transportation vehicles and fuels that they may not have the resources to do otherwise.
Clean Cities is a government-industry partnership led by the Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy that promotes the growth of alternative fuels and showcases the potential of advanced fuels and vehicles. The existing program has helped put more than half a million alternative fuel vehicles on the road and played a role in the construction of thousands of alternative refueling stations.
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