The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) is now accepting applications for the second round of diesel retrofit grant projects. This program aims to reduce emissions from older diesel engines in air quality nonattainment areas, which are areas of the state that do not meet federal air quality health standards. Earlier this year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized Tennessee’s grant program with the National Leadership Recognition Award.
“Diesel engines are the workhorses of the American economy and are generally fuel-efficient, dependable and durable, but they are also a significant source of air pollution,” said Gov. Phil Bredesen. “Reducing diesel emissions is especially important to protect both the environment and public health. This innovative program will help encourage Tennessee companies to take voluntary actions to reduce harmful emissions from older, higher emission diesel engines.”
The department will award a total of up to $1 million in competitive grant funds. A minimum of $500,000 each has been allocated for the Road Construction Diesel Retrofit Project and the Switchyard Locomotive Diesel Retrofit Project. Road construction retrofit funds may be used to purchase and install emission control devices on older diesel engines, to rebuild older engines or to replace them with newer, cleaner engines. For locomotives, funds may be used to purchase and install emission control devices and/or idling reduction and horsepower reduction technologies.
From the first grant round, TDOT will fund three projects to reduce emissions from a total of 36 switchyard and/or short haul locomotives in Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga and will fund one project to reduce emissions from five pieces of heavy-duty diesel construction equipment in Knoxville.
“Diesel retrofits, or add-on emissions control devices, have been identified as one of the most cost-effective means of reducing pollution from heavy-duty diesel engines,” added TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely. “Heavy-duty diesel engines are designed to be used for many years. These retrofit projects will help reduce harmful emissions from these older heavy-duty diesel engines that will be used for years to come.”
Project funds are provided under the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) program, which provides dedicated funds for transportation projects that reduce emissions from mobile sources. For projects selected for funding, the applicant must provide at least 20 percent of the total project cost.
Under federal law, the following 16 Tennessee counties are eligible to receive CMAQ funds: Hamilton, Montgomery, Shelby, Anderson, Blount, Cocke (partial county), Jefferson, Knox, Loudon, Roane (partial county), Sevier, Davidson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson and Wilson counties.
Road Construction Diesel Retrofit funds are available for qualifying projects that will reduce diesel emissions from on-road and non-road construction equipment used on federally funded road projects in nonattainment or maintenance counties. This competitive funding opportunity is available to road construction companies and associated suppliers with current or recently awarded state road construction contracts in CMAQ-eligible counties. The deadline for road construction project funding applications is Feb. 15, 2008.
Locomotive Diesel Retrofit funds are available for switchyard locomotives and short haul or commuter rail locomotives that spend most of their operating hours in air quality nonattainment or maintenance areas. This competitive funding opportunity is open to rail companies and authorities operating in CMAQ-eligible counties. The deadline for locomotive project funding applications is Jan. 31, 2008.
Applications for both projects are available on TDOT’s Web site at www.tennessee.gov/tdot/cmaq.
For more information, contact Alan Jones, manager of TDOT’s Environmental Policy Office, at 615/741-6832.