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Update: Louisiana's VW Comment Period Ends July 11th

Alert:  The VW Mitigation Plan public notice (PN) has been extended to July 11, 2018, due to a major server failure that occurred during the time that the Mitigation Plan was on PN.  The server failure has been resolved; and this extension of the PN ensures that any resources that may not have been available to the public during the time the LDEQ server was unavailable, are now available (to the public).

Please send your comments on the plan to vwsettlement@la.gov. To view the plan and for more information, visit the LDEQ's Volkswagen web page

Background

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) was designated the lead agency (beneficiary) by the Office of Gov. John Bel Edwards. Three Louisiana state agencies were designated to receive equal shares of the fund: LDEQ, the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (LDNR) and the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LDOTD). These agencies were tasked to allocate the VW Mitigation Trust funds. The agencies, with public input, are proposing to pool their funds to target replacement of eligible diesel school buses. The bus replacement program will offer partial funding primarily to school districts to replace their buses with electric, alternative fuel, or high-efficiency diesel vehicles. LDOTD is proposing to use its share of the funds to replace eligible diesel vehicles and heavy equipment with new, less polluting engines.

The plan gives first consideration "to replacement or repowering of school buses owned or used by Louisiana school districts with newer, cleaner vehicles, and/or new cleaner burning engines". These funds will not be used for fleet expansion. The goal is to get older, polluting vehicles off the road and to replace them with new, cleaner options. The amount of funding that the state is proposing for school bus replacements are as follows:

  1. 25% matching funds will be given for the replacement or repowering of eligible buses with newer cleaner burning diesel.
  2. 50% matching funds will be given for the replacement of eligible buses with eligible alternate fuels powered buses, including Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), propane, etc.


The plan states specifically:

The Louisiana DOTD owns and operates more than 5,500 pieces of equipment with an estimated replacement cost of more than $200 million. Approximately 60% of the equipment is currently beyond its estimated ideal replacement cycle established by the DOTD. The DOTD’ s main goal is to reduce overall emissions by replacing some of its fleet with new diesel technology equipment with use of the available funds, resulting in improved operational efficiency of its fleet with increased reliability and reduced downtime of equipment.

By concentrating first on school buses, Louisiana will provide significant emission reduction both for NOX and Toxic Air Pollutants (TAPs). Since these emissions occur at or near ground level, there is relatively little dispersion with maximum impact on the passengers and school children. Addressing school buses first provides the greatest improvement in local air quality for one of the most sensitive populations.

Funding for EVSE

The plan also includes language which allows the state to utilize "up to 15% of its allocation of Mitigation Trust funds on the costs necessary for, and directly connected to, the acquisition, installation, operation and maintenance of new, light duty, zero emission vehicle supply equipment for projects..." Electric vehicle charging infrastructure is the only type of fueling infrastructure allowed under the VW Settlement.

Assistance for School Districts

School Districts wishing to take advantage of this funding should bookmark the state's VW webpage and watch for any requests for proposal (RFP) by the state. Louisiana Clean Fuels is working closely with the LDEQ on outreach for the state's bus replacement program. If your school district would like to learn more about the different fueling options available under the plan or would like assistance with their proposals to the state, please email Ann Vail at Louisiana Clean Fuels ann@louisianacleanfuels.org.

To view the plan and for more information, visit the LDEQ's Volkswagen web page. For more information or to comment on the state's plan, please email vwsettlement@la.gov.

Helpful Links

Appendix D-2 which lists eligible mitigation actions and expenditures under the program (which kind of vehicles can be replaced).

Settlement timeline graphic

Details of Louisiana’s Mitigation Plan

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Clean Diesel Tribal Grants

2018 Tribal Request for Proposals

EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality is soliciting proposals nationwide for Tribal projects that achieve significant reductions in diesel emissions and diesel emissions exposure, particularly from fleets located in areas designated as having poor air quality. EPA anticipates $2 million will be awarded to eligible Tribal applicants.

Proposals must be received by Thursday, September 6, 2018, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) in order to be considered for funding. Proposal packages must be submitted electronically to EPA through www.grants.gov.

Priority - Priority is given to projects that achieve significant reduction in diesel emissions and exposure in areas designated as having poor air quality, and in areas receiving a disproportionate quantity of air pollution from diesel fleets. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Tribal Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) (PDF) (6 pp, 191 K, June 5, 2018) will be updated weekly during the application period. Please e-mail your questions to cleandiesel@epa.gov and type "Tribal RFP Question" in the subject line. The deadline for submitting questions via email is Friday, August 24, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. ET. The estimated final posting of the FAQ document will be Wednesday, August 29, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. ET. All questions and answers, including those from all information sessions, will be added to this document.

Eligible Applicants

Under this solicitation, only tribal governments (or intertribal consortiums) or Alaskan native villages, which have jurisdiction over transportation or air quality, are eligible to apply for Tribal Clean Diesel grants.

Eligible Use of Funding

Eligible diesel vehicles, engines and equipment may include:

  • School buses
  • Class 5 – Class 8 heavy-duty highway vehicles
  • Locomotive engines
  • Marine engines
  • Nonroad engines, equipment or vehicles used in construction, handling of cargo (including at ports or airports), agriculture, mining or energy production (including stationary generators and pumps).

Grant funds may be used for clean diesel projects including:

Funds awarded under this program cannot be used to fund emissions reductions mandated under federal law. Equipment used for testing emissions or fueling infrastructure is not eligible for funding.

Please refer to the full RFP for specific information about this competition.

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Funding & Training Opportunities

This blog post summarizes a wide variety of current funding and training opportunities that may relate to your local efforts to improve air quality. Please take a look and take advantage of the opportunities that can help you with your work!

Environmental Protection Agency

Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) National Grants

EPA anticipates offering the next RFP solicitation in March 2018. Information will be provided here: https://www.epa.gov/cleandiesel/clean-diesel-national-grants

Volkswagen Mitigation Trust

The U.S. government and VW resolved allegations that VW violated the Clean Air Act by selling approximately 590,000 vehicles equipped with defeat devices.  As part of this settlement, VW is required to provide approximately $2.7 billion for the 2.0 liter violating vehicles and $225 million for the 3.0 liter violating vehicles into an Environmental Mitigation Trust to fully remediate the amount of excess NOx from the illegal vehicles.

  •        Eligible Mitigation Actions focus on reducing NOx from older, dirtier diesel engines, vehicles, equipment, and vessels. Appendix D-2 to the consent decree details the Eligible Mitigation Actions which include projects to repower or replace:
    • Class 8 local freight and port drayage trucks
    • Class 4-8 school bus, shuttle bus, or transit bus
    • Freight switchers
    • Ferries/tugs
    • Class 4-7 local freight trucks
    • Airport ground support equipment
    • Forklifts and port cargo handling equipment, or
    • Install light duty ZEV supply equipment, or
    • Install shore-side system for ocean going vessel shore power

See https://www.epa.gov/vw or https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/volkswagen-clean-air-act-civil-settlement#violations for more information about the violations and settlement.

Information on the Louisiana VW Settlement here. 

Environmental Education Local Grants Program

This grants program supports locally-focused projects that design, demonstrate, and/or disseminate environmental education practices, methods, or techniques that will serve to increase environmental and conservation literacy and encourage behavior that will benefit the environment. In addition to other environmental topics (including air quality), the 2018 program includes support for projects that reflect the intersection of environmental issues with agricultural best practices, conservation of natural resources, food waste management, and natural disaster preparedness (such as green infrastructure).

Funding Amount: Up to $3 Milllion
Application Deadline:March 15, 2018

More information for Louisiana opportunities can be found here

Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service

Louisiana Conservation Innovation Grants

This program will stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies in conjunction with agricultural production; certain projects that may be funded by the program have the potential to improve air quality/reduce emissions. The program generally funds pilot projects, field demonstrations, and on-farm conservation research. Applications are accepted from state or local governments, tribes, governmental organizations and individuals. 

Funding Amount: $150,000 (Up to $75,000 in Individual Awards)
Application Deadline: April 8, 2018

More information here

Patagonia

Environmental Grants

This grant opportunity is available to small activist organizations working to protect the environment. Projects must be action-oriented, build public involvement and support, be strategic, focus on root causes, accomplish specific goals and objectives. One proposal per group will be accepted each fiscal year (May 1-April 30).

Funding Amount: $5,000 to $20,000
Application Deadline: April 30, 2018

More information here

Southeast Louisiana Clean Fuel Partnership

Clean Fuel Transition Fund for Public Fleets (includes idling reduction)

Funding is available for 80% of the cost to convert an existing vehicle to an alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) including natural gas, propane, electric, or hybrid electric; 80% of the incremental cost difference when purchasing a new AFV; and 80% of the cost of idle reduction technologies to add to existing or new AFVs.  Public fleets in Jefferson, Orleans, St. Bernard, and St. Charles Parishes are eligible.

Funding Amount: $909,200
Application Deadline: Ongoing

More information here. 

Louisiana Liquefied Petroleum Gas Commision

Commercial Propane Mower & Automobile Incentives

Propane mower incentives are available to private or public commercial mowing fleets in Louisiana. New dedicated liquified petroleum gas (LPG) mowers and conversions of existing mowers are eligible for $1,500 per vehicle (new), up to $800 per conversion, and up to 4 awards and $5,000 per year per entity.

Funding Amount: $800 to $5,000
Application Deadline: Ongoing

More information here. 

 

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TIGER 2017 Announced!

Funding for Local Transportation Priorities
DEADLINE: OCTOBER 16TH

Bike Lane StreetsThe U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced the 2017 TIGER grant applications. TIGER funding directly supports local infrastructure projects that promote safety, accessibility, mobility, and economic redevelopment. Multi-million dollar awards will be available for community-scale transportation initiatives that create jobs, enhance mobility, and improve quality of life. This is one of the best and most competitively sources of funding for transportation projects in local communities. In keeping with prior years, the minimum request for communities in an urbanized area is $5 million and a 20% match is officially required. Rural projects can request a minimum of $1 million.

On July 25, Sustainable Strategies DC organized a call between senior DOT leaders and a dozen mayors from across America to recommend improvements that will create new opportunities for small- and medium-size localities. The newly released solicitation reflects changes based upon numerous concerns that these mayors expressed, and it emphasizes projects in rural communities more than in previous years.

Sustainable Strategies DC is already working with communities nationwide to pursue these competitive funds. Based on our previous experience in winning TIGER grants and knowledge of how the program will likely change, we are helping localities develop strategies now to be most competitive for TIGER funds. Click here for more information on TIGER services that Sustainable Strategies DC provides and contact President Andrew Seth at (202) 261-9881to discuss how we can assist you with your application. The deadline to apply is October 16th, 2017

 
For information on additional opportunities, please contact Sustainable Strategies DC or click here for their website.  

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Energy Department Invests $13.4 Million in Transportation Projects

Via energy.gov

Today, the Energy Department (DOE) announced $13.4 million in support of five new cost-shared, community-based projects focused on energy efficient mobility systems including connected and autonomous vehicles and alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure including natural gas, propane, biofuels, hydrogen, and electricity.

This Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) funding is an investment in highly-innovative, highly-leveraged, and scalable projects that will provide real-world experience and generate knowledge and lessons learned to help improve our nation's energy security, support energy independence, improve transportation efficiency, and strengthen U.S. economic competitiveness. 

The following projects will serve as "living labs" to test new ideas, collect data, and inform research on energy efficient transportation technologies and systems.

  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, New York) will receive $2 million to evaluate changes in freight demand patterns that reduce energy use, incorporate energy efficient technologies and practices into freight logistics, and publish lessons learned.   
  • Pecan Street Inc. (Austin, Texas) will receive $1 million to pilot "last mile" electric bus services. The project includes a feasibility assessment of new technologies such as autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles and dynamic app-driven re-routing.
  • City of Seattle Department of Transportation (Seattle, Washington) will receive $1.9 million to accelerate the use of EVs in shared mobility applications in four major U.S. markets and establish best practices for all U.S. metro regions.

Two additional alternative fuel community partner projects across the Southeast and Midwest regions will bring together over 20 diverse partners including communities, businesses, fleets and Clean Cities coalitions.

  • Center for Transportation and the Environment (Atlanta, Georgia) and its partners will receive $4.6 million to accelerate the deployment of alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure throughout the southeastern United States.
  • Metropolitan Energy Center, Inc. (Kansas City, Missouri) and its partners will receive $3.8 million to accelerate the deployment of alternative fuel vehicles, as well as supporting infrastructure, through community-based partnerships throughout Missouri, Kansas, and Colorado. 

To learn more about the Department's work with industry, academia, and community partners on advanced vehicle technologies, please visit the Vehicle Technologies Office website

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