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The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection said it will begin accepting applications Dec. 1 for its Natural Gas Vehicle Grant program, which will provide up to $20 million over the next three years to help pay for the incremental purchase and conversion costs of heavy-duty natural gas fleet vehicles.
"With this new technology coupled with grant money available, Pennsylvania is in a leadership position to wean our country from its dependence on foreign oil for transportation fuel," DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said.
"Through Act 13, Governor Corbett and the legislature moved us in the right direction by creating opportunities for converting vehicle fleets from imported oil to homegrown, clean-burning, cheaper natural gas.
"Now, our grant program will provide funding for local governments, schools and businesses to land lower operational costs, lessen dependency on foreign oil, and clean the air all at the same time."
In the first year, $10 million in grants will be available, $5 million of which is slated for local transportation organizations, including non-profit agencies providing public transportation services and public transportation, port and redevelopment authorities. Non-profit organizations, for-profit companies, local transportation organizations, state-owned or state-related universities, commonwealth or municipal authorities and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission will be eligible to apply for the remaining amount.
An additional $7.5 million in funding will be available the second year, with $2.5 million the third year. Eligible vehicles must weigh 14,000 pounds or more and be fueled with compressed natural gas or liquefied natural gas. Bi-fuel vehicles are also eligible.
Grant awards will be capped at 50 percent of the incremental purchase or retrofit cost per vehicle, with a maximum total of $25,000 per vehicle. The incremental purchase cost is defined as the difference between a vehicle eligible for these grants and one powered by traditional fuels, such as diesel or gasoline.
For this first year, grant applications are due Feb. 1. Grants will be awarded in late March.
More information can be found on the website www.dep.state.pa.us by clicking on the Natural Gas Vehicle Grant Program button.