We have taken an expansive look at the stimulus, and you will note that many of the programs are not perfect fits for the construction of the new maintenance facility. As the process moves forward, we will monitor and review these programs for modification as they move through Congress, and gauge the eligibility and fundable activities criteria to better understand the opportunity.

Here is a summary of the programs that may become available to transportation entities through the pending Economic Stimulus plan:

  • Department of Energy
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Department of Transportation  

Department of Energy

Grants to Institutional Entities for Energy Sustainability and Efficiency

$1.0 Billion

This funding would provide $1 billion in grants to institutional entities to identify, design and implement sustainable energy infrastructure projects and grants for energy efficiency innovative technologies projects on grounds and facilities of institutions. The term institution includes institutions of higher education, public school districts, local governments and municipal utilities.

Institutional Loan Guarantee Program

Funding in the amount of $500 million is for loans to institutional entities for identifying, designing and implementing sustainable energy infrastructure projects and grants for energy efficiency innovative technologies projects on grounds and facilities of institutions. The $500 million for the loans is estimated to support $5 billion in loans. The term institution includes institutions of higher education, public school districts, local governments and municipal utilities. This program complements the grant program for institutions provided above.

Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grants

$3.5 Billion

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program will assist states, local governments and Indian tribes in implementing strategies to reduce fossil fuel emissions created as a result of activities within the jurisdictions of the eligible entities and reduce the total energy use. Activities eligible to receive funding include conducting residential and commercial building energy audits, establishing financial incentives programs for energy efficiency improvements, grants to nonprofits organizations to perform energy efficiency retrofits, developing/implementing programs to conserve energy used in transportation, developing and implementing building codes and inspections services to promote building energy efficiency, installing light emitting diodes (LEDs), and developing, implementing and installing on or in any government building on-site renewable energy technology that generates electricity from renewable sources.

Transportation Electrification

$200 Million

Federal funding is provided to implement a grant program to states, local governments and metropolitan transportation authorities for qualified electric transportation projects that reduce emissions, including shipside electrification of vehicles, truck stop electrification, airport ground support equipment and cargo handling equipment. The identified projects range from replacing diesel engines with electric to installation of dockside electrification capability to reduce the emissions from ships.

Alternative Fueled Vehicles Pilot Grant Program

$400 Million

This funding would be used to establish a grant program through the DOE Clean Cities Program to encourage the use of plug-in electric drive vehicles or other emerging electric vehicle technologies. This grant program may provide up to 30 geographically dispersed project grants. Grant recipients include state governments, local governments, metropolitan transportation authorities, air pollution control districts and private or nonprofit entities. These grants may be used for the acquisition of alternative fueled vehicles, fuel cell vehicles or hybrid vehicles, including buses for public transportation and ground support vehicles at public airports. The installation or acquisition of infrastructure necessary to directly support an alternative fueled vehicle, fuel cell vehicle or hybrid vehicle project funded by the grant is also eligible.

Environmental Protection Agency

 State and Tribal Assistance Grants

Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) Grants and Loans

$300 Million

Funding is provided grants and loans to states and local governments for projects that reduce diesel emission. Priority projects include those that maximize public health benefits by significantly reducing particulate matter emissions which are a significant threat to both human health and a likely contributor to global warming. The program also targets geographic areas with high air pollution and air toxics and areas that receive a disproportionate quantity of air pollution, such as truck stops and ports. By statute 70 percent of the monies fund nation-wide, competitive grants, which are matched $1.38 for every dollar awarded according to the EPA. The remaining 30 percent will fund grants to states with approved programs. Projects funded through DERA grants require technology and equipment manufactured through three sectors: auto parts manufacturing, auto repair and maintenance and heavy duty truck manufacturing.

Examples include:

  • Establish anti-idling programs
  • Technologies to retrofit emission exhaust systems, such as on school buses and other vehicles, replace engines and vehicles

Department of Transportation

Transit Capital Assistance

$6 Billion

These funds will be used to purchase buses and equipment needed to provide additional public transportation service and to make improvements to intermodal and transit facilities. Funds will be distributed through the existing urban and rural transit formulas. $5.4 billion will be distributed to urban communities and $600 million will be distributed to transit agencies that serve rural communities. The federal cost share is 100 percent for funded projects. FTA will be required to determine the total grant/allocation amount for each recipient within seven days of the stimulus bill becoming law. The House bill would require recipients to obligate half their allocations within 120 days of receipt, with the balance obligated within two years.