Pennsylvania’s Gov. Tom Corbett has awarded more than $6.7 million in Act 13 funding to 18 organizations making the switch to natural gas for their heavy-duty fleet vehicles.
Act 13 of 2012 increased protections of private water supplies, allowed the Department of Environmental Protection to issue larger fines and included a hydraulic fracturing fluid disclosure law. It also authorized DEP to develop and implement the Natural Gas Energy Development program, which distributes up to $20 million in grants over three years to help pay for the incremental purchase and conversion costs of heavy duty natural gas fleet vehicles.
In this first round, $5 million was reserved for local transportation organizations, as obligated by Act 13. DEP received applications from 49 applicants requesting nearly $13 million in grants. An additional $11 million will be available in August, with 50 percent slated for local transportation organizations. The third and final grant round is slated to open in 2014.
Eligible vehicles for all three rounds of the Natural Gas Energy Development program include those fueled with compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas or bi-fuel vehicles weighing 14,000 pounds or more. Grant requests cannot exceed 50 percent of the incremental purchase or retrofit cost per vehicle or a maximum total of $25,000 per vehicle.
Corbett also announced a May 25 opening for the Alternative Fuel Incentive Grant program, providing an estimated $10 million to help companies and organizations purchase or convert CNG, LNG or bi-fuel vehicles weighing less than 14,000 pounds, as well as electric, propane or other alternative fuel vehicles of any weight. Applications will also be accepted for innovation in alternative fuel transportation, including non-road vehicles, such as natural gas-powered trains or marine vessels. The AFIG program is funded by a gross receipts tax on utilities.