Monday, June 15, 2009

Stimulus dollars funding clean-diesel projects - Business First of Columbus:

Stimulus dollars funding clean-diesel projects - Business First of Columbus:

Federal stimulus dollars are picking up where a nearly $20 million state program aimed at cutting diesel engine emissions left off.

U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson stopped in Columbus this week to announce $6.1 million in stimulus funding headed to Ohio projects as part of the National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program. Of that amount, at least $1 million is headed to projects in Central Ohio.

The funding comes on the heels of the state’s Diesel Emissions Reduction grant program, which awarded $19.8 million to projects around the state after being earmarked in the state capital budget passed last year. The first round sent nearly $7.3 million to 10 organizations, including regional bus operator Central Ohio Transit Authority, while a more than $12 million round announced last month sent nearly $1.4 million to the city of Dublin and Columbus City Schools for the replacement of trucks or buses with lower-emission alternatives.

The stimulus funding announced this week is sending $279,500 to the Columbus school district for six school-bus replacements on top of the district’s $918,020 state grant last month. The Coshocton-based Ohio Central Railroad System, which railroad operator Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (NYSE:GWR) bought last year, also was awarded $809,934 in stimulus dollars for rail engine work in Licking County.

Most of the 14 awards the EPA announced this week are headed elsewhere in the state, though the Ohio Department of Transportation won a $572,000 grant for construction equipment diesel filters in a number of unspecified counties.

Federal officials said the stimulus dollars announced this week will enable private- and public-sector entities to retrofit or replace more than 280 highway and locomotive diesel engines. The allocation is the first in several expected awards in the coming months.

The stimulus-funded clean-diesel program is a part of the National Clean Diesel Campaign, which is backed by $300 million in stimulus dollars.


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