Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Governor Rell: Connecticut Getting $1.73 Million from Stimulus for Projects to Reduce Diesel Emissions

Governor M. Jodi Rell announced today that the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection will receive $1.73 million in federal stimulus money for three initiatives to reduce the amount of harmful emissions from diesel engines in Connecticut.
The three initiatives are a program to retrofit emission systems on state-owned diesel vehicles, a truck-stop electrification project to reduce diesel truck idling and a project to replace a high-emitting diesel locomotive engine with a low-emission power system.
To qualify for funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, all of the projects were required to demonstrate that they would both reduce diesel emissions and stimulate the economy by creating jobs. The truck stop and locomotive projects will be undertaken in New Haven. The other is the statewide program to retrofit diesel vehicles operated by the Department of Transportation.
"One of my top priorities in using the federal stimulus funds is to promote clean energy and green technologies that will bring lasting improvements to our environment," Governor Rell said. “Children will soon be enjoying the spring weather and as the stewards of Connecticut's environment, our commitment to clean air and water is a commitment to the next generation. These kind of projects represent the future of Connecticut."
"These projects will improve the health and quality of life in our communities and they will boost our economy by creating jobs," the Governor said. "Because these projects will get underway almost immediately, we expect to see economic and environmental results within the next several months.”
The proposed projects and funding amounts are:
• Diesel Vehicle Retrofit – This program will retrofit approximately 170 Department of Transportation diesel vehicles and pieces of construction equipment used on highway projects. In addition, airport shuttle buses, snow plowing equipment and dump trucks will also be evaluated for retrofits within the DOT fleet. The vehicles will receive diesel oxidation catalysts which result in lower emissions. Allocation: $3,000 per piece of equipment, totaling $510,000
• Truck Stop Electrification – This project at the Port of New Haven will establish a truck stop electrification (TSE) parking area to relieve a long-standing problem caused by idling trucks waiting for gate access to deliver or pick up goods. TSE units allow truck drivers to have heat, air conditioning and electricity for in-cab appliances without running their truck engines. The neighborhoods around the Port of New Haven have long been plagued by emissions from trucks waiting in line to pick up or deliver cargo. Allocation: $380,256
• Locomotive Engine Repower – This project will replace a traditional, high-emitting diesel locomotive engine operated by the Providence and Worcester Rail Road in New Haven with low emission generators and diesel particulate filters. This project will be the first of its kind in Connecticut. Given the long lifespan of locomotive engines, this project will yield significant emission reductions for many years to come. Allocation: $750,000
The Governor noted that these projects will further implement strategies set out in the Connecticut Clean Diesel Plan, adopted in 2005. The three proposed projects, among 16 submitted for consideration, were determined to be the best qualified because they will clearly reduce diesel emissions, expedite economic recovery and facilitate the creation and preservation of jobs.
“These projects were selected as most likely to benefit the greatest number people in Connecticut,” Governor Rell said. “We will improve the quality of life for people across Connecticut by retrofitting the DOT equipment and the neighborhoods in New Haven near the port and the rail line will see significant improvements in air quality.”
Diesel exhaust is a significant contributor to air pollution and has been classified as a probable human carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency. Connecticut communities, especially those in urban areas, suffer from sooty exhaust emitted by trucks, buses and other diesel engines that can make breathing difficult, particularly for children, the elderly and other sensitive groups.
The Department of Environmental Protection is assisting stakeholders whose projects were not selected for inclusion in the state funding work plan to obtain money from other funding programs. One example is the National Clean Diesel Assistance Program, which has allocated $8.79 Million to EPA Region 1 for a range of projects similar to those included in the state allocation.
DEP is still accepting project proposals to be evaluated for the national program, which has a deadline of April 28, 2009. Proposals submitted to DEP for consideration should arrive two weeks prior to that date.


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