Clean Cities gets a boost
Vice President Biden announces $300 million in recovery act funds for Clean Cities program.
During a 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 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. Now it's time for Washington to help them deliver on those promises," said Vice President Biden. "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.
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 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 the pilot program announced today. The Vice President was also joined by United States 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 governments, 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.
The pilot projects will be funded with money appropriated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Administration expects these projects will create tens of thousands of U.S. jobs.