November 20, 2021. The Grand Rapids City Commission accepted a $1.441 million grant award from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) Fuel Transformation Program and Volkswagen State Mitigation Trust for City fleet vehicle replacement. The grant will allow the Facilities and Fleet Management Department to replace 12 vehicles with new diesel and compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. The new vehicles will help the City reduce diesel emissions, nitrogen oxide, particulate matter and improve air quality within Grand Rapids. The expected annual reduction of 91.5 metric tons of greenhouse gases is equivalent to removing 19.9 passenger vehicles from service.

Prior to Fall 2023, six pre-2008 diesel dump trucks with underbody scrapers will be replaced with six new, more efficient diesel dump trucks; two diesel broom-type right-side sweepers will be replaced with a CNG sweeper and a hybrid electric/CNG sweeper; and four diesel refuse trucks will be replaced with four CNG refuse trucks. Per grant requirement, all vehicles being replaced must be decommissioned and destroyed to a point where each can never be put back into operations again. All these older vehicles were scheduled to be replaced as a part of the City’s current asset management plan. With the new purchases, the City’s eco-friendly fleet will be enhanced to include seven electric, six hybrid/electric, 77 hybrid/gas and nine CNG vehicles.

Annabelle Wilkinson, Environmental and Climate Justice specialist, said sustainability is one of the City’s core values. On Sept. 28, 2021 the City Commission passed a “Resolution Declaring Climate Change a Crisis” which outlines an ambitious goal to power all municipal operations with 85% renewable energy by 2030 and net zero by 2040.