The Department of Environmental Protection is offering $20 million to help upgrade the municipal, non-profit, and commercial fleets to run on natural gas. The grant is part of Act 13, which sets regulations for oil and gas drilling in Pennsylvania.
Lynda Rebarchak, spokesperson for the DEP, said the money is to retrofit “fleet vehicles.”
“The heavy duty fleet vehicle you find in commercial business; garbage trucks, dump trucks; you find in municipalities; they’re snowplows, they’re street sweepers,” said Rebarchak. “We’re also figuring that local transportation management organizations would have some larger busses in their fleet.”
Rebarchak said the grant awards would be capped at 50 percent of “the incremental purchase or retrofit cost per vehicle.”
“It differs or helps to take the sting out of that additional cost that you would pay,” said Rebarchak. “It also is for, if you have an existing vehicle that you want to have retrofitted to become natural gas, it would help defray that retrofitting cost.”
For example, if it costs $32,000 more to buy a garbage truck that runs on natural gas than a diesel powered truck, the grant money would cover $16,000 of the cost.
During the first year of the program $10 million will be released, half going to local transportation organizations. The other $5 million will go to non-profits, for-profits, state universities, state and municipal authorities, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.
The remaining $10 million will be released during 2014-2015.
Grant applications are due by February 1st. The first grants will be awarded in late March.