Federal NGV Grant Programs
In an effort to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil and to reduce urban air pollution and greenhouse gases, the federal government provides a number of grant programs to encourage the purchase and use of natural gas vehicles. These programs include the following:
- Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program
- Federal Transit Authority Grants
- Clean Cities Program
- Voluntary Airport Low Emission Vehicle Program
- National Clean Diesel Campaign
View our page for the Clean School Bus program and DERA grants here.
|CMAQ funding supported these natural gas buses in Atlanta
Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program
The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ) is one of the largest sources of funding available for alternative fuel projects. It has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in investments in alternative fuel projects since its inception in 1991. The CMAQ program is continued in MAP-21 (P.L. 112-141), the newly reauthorized transportation bill, to provide a flexible funding source for state and local governments for transportation projects and programs that will help meet the requirements of the Clean Air Act.
The program was designed to realign the focus of transportation planning toward a more inclusive, environmentally-sensitive, and multimodal approach to addressing transportation problems. Grants from this program can pay for alternative fuel projects, including the incremental cost of purchasing NGVs and the construction of natural gas refueling projects. Funding is allowed for private and public partnerships, but 20 percent of all projects must be locally or regionally funded.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) administers the CMAQ program. Funds are allocated to a state’s Department of Transportation for further allocation to regional or local metropolitan planning organizations. FHA generally coordinates projects with these local metropolitan planning organizations or the state transportation departments. The formula for distributing funds considers an area's population by county and the severity of its ozone and carbon monoxide problems within the nonattainment or maintenance area, with greater weight given to areas that are both carbon monoxide and ozone nonattainment or maintenance areas. Metropolitan planning organizations must give priority when distributing funds to cost-effective emission reduction and congestion mitigation activities that provide air quality benefits. Click here for the most recent guidance on this program. For a listing of all nonattainment areas by state, click here.
Federal Transit Authority Grants
The Federal Transit Authority (FTA) provides grants to help fund local and regional public transit systems. FTA helps communities support public transportation by issuing grants to eligible recipients for planning, vehicle purchases, facility construction, and operations. Eligible recipients must be public bodies such as states, cities, towns, regional governments, and transit authorities with the legal authority to receive and dispense federal funds.
In 2012, Congress passed the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) (P.L. 112–141), which will provide over $105 billion of funding for surface transportation programs for FY 2013 and FY 2014. MAP-21 will extend various programs that have been a major source of financial assistance to transit systems wanting to upgrade their aging fleets with new natural gas vehicles. Click here for background information, and click here for information on the new 2012 transit programs.
Clean Cities Program
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Clean Cities Program is a part of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's Vehicle Technologies Program and is designed to accelerate the use of alternative fueled vehicles throughout the country. The program strives to advance the nation's energy security by supporting local decisions to adopt practices that reduce petroleum consumption. Clean Cities grants have expanded the use of natural gas vehicles in a variety of applications, such as school buses, transit buses, airport vehicles, taxis, and delivery fleets. Grants have also been used to build fueling infrastructure, with a focus on locations that provide public access, since this provides the opportunity to further increase the number of vehicles using natural gas.
The program works through a network of 90 volunteer coalitions headed by Clean Cities Coordinators that develop public-private partnerships. Clean Cities projects are supported by DOE's State Energy Program Special Projects, known as SEPs. States apply for these grants, which are highly competitive and highly leveraged.
Voluntary Airport Low Emission Vehicle Program
The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Voluntary Airport Low Emission (VALE) vehicle program funds NGVs and infrastructure at the nation’s airports. VALE is a national program to reduce airport ground emissions at commercial service airports located in designated air quality nonattainment and maintenance areas. The program was established in 2003 (P.L. 108–176), reauthorized in 2012 (P. L. 112–95), and allows airport sponsors to use the Airport Improvement Program and Passenger Facility Charges to finance emission reduction projects, including the purchase of natural gas powered shuttle buses, the construction of fueling stations, and other airport air quality improvements. Since 2005, the FAA has funded 52 low-emission projects at 30 airports, representing a total investment of $138 million ($109 million in federal grants and $29 million in funds matched by local airports) in clean airport technology. Through VALE, airports are reducing ozone emissions by approximately 320 tons per year, which is the equivalent to removing 17,600 cars and trucks off the road. Click here to access the FAA’s Fact Sheet on the program. Click here to access a list of projects funded.
National Clean Diesel Campaign
The National Clean Diesel Campaign is administered by EPA and provides funding for projects designed to reduce the harmful effect of diesel emissions. Grants are awarded to assist government agencies, school districts, and other interested parties to replace older diesel engines with new low-emitting engines and to retrofit in-use diesel trucks with emission reducing technologies. Replacing or repowering diesel engines with natural gas engines is considered a retrofit for the purposes of this program. The grant program guidelines allow for 75 percent of the cost of repowering an existing vehicle and up to 50 percent of the cost of a new vehicle, as long as the engine is EPA or CARB certified and the necessary CNG infrastructure is developed.
In December of 2010, the Senate and the House passed the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act of 2010 (H.R. 5809; P.L. 111-364). The DERA Act of 2010, or DERA 2, amends the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and reauthorizes the DERA grant program to award up to $100 million per year for FY 2012 to FY 2016. DERA 2 removes the requirement that 50 percent of funds be used for public fleets and removes restrictions on using funds for programs mandated by state or local law. These funds will continue to support projects that strategically reduce diesel emissions.
EPA distributes DERA funds through seven regional collaboratives, with 70 percent of funds awarded on a nationally competitive basis and 30 percent allocated for state programs. These collaboratives issue regional requests for applications (RFAs). New natural gas vehicles and natural gas conversion systems certified by EPA or CARB are eligible for all categories for which the collaboratives issue an RFA. NGVAmerica members are encouraged to contact their regional collaborative(s) for the latest outreach, information, and meeting schedules.
For general NCDC information call 877-NCDC-FACTS (877-623-2322) or email email@example.com.
West Coast Collaborative
EPA Region 9: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the territories of Guam and America Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianna Islands (CNMI).
Contact Penny McDaniel, Region 9 Co-Lead, at 415-947-4203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
EPA Region 10: Alaska, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.
Contact Dan Brown, Region 10 Co-Lead, at 503-326-6832 or email@example.com.
Rocky Mountain Clean Diesel Collaborative
EPA Region 8: Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.
Contact Region 8 Environmental Information Service Center (EISC) at 800-227-8917 (toll-free within Region 8 states), 303-312-6312, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blue Skyways Collaborative
EPA Regions 6 and 7: Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas, and New Mexico.
Contact Gloria Vaughn, Blue Skyways Collaborative Coordinator, at email@example.com.
Midwest Clean Diesel Initiative
EPA Region 5: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
Contact Sharleen Phillips at 312-353-3486 or phillips.sharleen.@epa.gov.
Southeast Diesel Collaborative
EPA Region 4: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
Contact Scott Davis, Air Planning Branch Chief, at 404-562-9127 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mid-Atlantic Diesel Collaborative
EPA Region 3: Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington D.C.
Contact Patrick Davis, Mobile Sources Program Manager, at 443-901-1882 or email@example.com.
Northeast Diesel Collaborative
EPA Region 1: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
Contact Anne Arnold, Region 1 Coordinator, at 617-918-1047 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
EPA Region 2: New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Contact Michael Moltzen, Region 2 Coordinator, at 212-637-3710 or email@example.com.
The Collaboratives are no longer accepting grant applications for 2012. However, it is expected that the collaboratives will use the last NCDC grant application form (EPA-OAR-OTAQ-12-05) as a template for next year’s RFAs. NGVAmerica encourages its members to familiarize themselves with the last NCDC RFA so as to be prepared for the 2013 application season.
Grants to repower original equipment manufacturer (OEM) vehicles will be awarded for EPA and CARB certified conversion systems only. For a thorough list of EPA and CARB certified conversion systems, view our regularly updated list here.