April 2, 2021. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced $2,400,969 in Driving PA Forward grants to cleaner fuel transportation projects that will take 62 older diesel vehicles off the road to help improve air quality in many communities. The grant funding comes from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Pennsylvania’s share of the national settlement with Volkswagen Group of America for cheating on EPA emissions tests.
“These Driving PA Forward grants are a fast lane to reducing local air pollution, replacing older vehicles that are routine parts of Pennsylvanians’ daily lives, such as school buses and trash collection trucks, with cleaner fuel versions to make school grounds and communities healthier places to be,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell.
The nine funded projects will replace older diesel vehicles with new cleaner diesel or compressed natural gas (CNG) powered vehicles. Over their lifetimes, the projects are expected to prevent emission of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, fine particulate matter, and hydrocarbon, as well as helping to reduce carbon dioxide.
Five projects are in Environmental Justice areas, where at least 20 percent of residents have incomes below the federal poverty line and/or 30 percent identify as a non-white minority.
Vehicles generate 47 percent of nitrogen oxides in the air statewide, contributing to the formation of ground-level ozone. This affects the health of children, older people, people with lung diseases such as asthma and emphysema, and those who work or are active outdoors. The Pennsylvania Department of Health has found that asthma-related emergency room visits increase when air quality is very poor.
The following projects received grant funding in this round:
- Allegheny Transportation Services: $174,375 to replace nine older diesel school buses with nine new cleaner diesel ones. Allegheny Transportation Services provides student transportation for East Allegheny School District, Woodland Hills School District, Pittsburgh Public Schools, Elizabeth Forward School District, and Riverview School District.
- Pennsylvania Coach Lines: $215,250 to replace 10 older diesel school buses with 10 new cleaner diesel ones. Pennsylvania Coach Lines provides daily transportation for over 20,000 children in southwestern Pennsylvania, including in the South Allegheny School District and Clairton City School District.
- Valley Waste Service: $327,997 to replace four older diesel trash collection trucks with four new compressed natural gas-powered trash trucks and one older diesel wheel loader with a new clean diesel wheel loader. Valley Waste Service operates commercial and residential trash and recycling collection routes from the transfer station and garage facility in Beaver Falls, serving surrounding municipalities.
- Seneca Landfill: $374,556 to replace two older diesel off-road trucks with two new clean diesel off-road trucks and one older diesel bulldozer with a new electric-drive bulldozer.
- Vogel Disposal Service: $262,600 to replace four older diesel trash collection trucks with four new, compressed natural gas-powered trash trucks. Mars-based Vogel Disposal Service operates multiple commercial and residential trash and recycling collection routes in the northern suburbs of Pittsburgh.
- McIlwain School Bus Lines: $200,000 to replace 10 older diesel school buses with 10 new clean diesel school buses. Based in Johnstown, McIlwain provides transportation for students in Cambria and Somerset counties.
- Fullington School Bus: $219,887 to replace 10 older, diesel school buses with 10 new clean diesel school buses, operating in school districts in the county.
- Eastern Concrete Materials: $443,601 to replace eight older diesel cement mixer trucks with eight new clean diesel ones. The cement trucks operate primarily in the Delaware County area, delivering cement and other building materials to job sites.
- Tri-County Industries: $192,702 to replace four older diesel trash collection trucks with four new compressed natural gas-powered ones. TCI operates commercial and residential trash and recycling collection routes from its transfer station and garage facility in Grove City, serving surrounding municipalities.
The clean diesel funding program has now awarded over $5.6 million in Driving PA Forward grants to replace 135 older diesel vehicles, including school buses, trash hauling trucks, trash compactor vehicles, dump trucks, cement mixers, street sweepers, and bulldozers, with new clean diesel or alternative fuel vehicles. Grants have also helped install idle reduction technology on six train locomotives.