February 27, 2009

EPA funds Manchester Transit air quality projects

EPA funding is being delivered to the Manchester Transit Authority (MTA) to help fund projects that will help improve air quality in southern New Hampshire.

Through the 2008 Northeast Diesel Collaborative (NEDC) Emissions Reduction Grant Program, EPA is awarding $229,703 to the MTA to install a combination of advanced pollution control and idle reduction technologies on 89 municipal vehicles. In addition, funds will be used to cover the incremental cost of biodiesel fuel for the entire fleet of city vehicles.

The grant will allow the transit system to install diesel oxidation catalysts on 72 city-owned vehicles, from the highway, water and parks and recreation departments, reducing particulate matter emissions by approximately 20 percent. Additionally, MTA will fund the retrofit of seven transit-style school buses with closed crankcase ventilation systems, reducing in-cabin emissions associated with the engine’s crankcase.

They will also install idle reduction devices on an additional ten school buses. Finally, the grant will cover the incremental cost of a 20 percent blend of biodiesel (B20) fuel for the entire fleet of city vehicles.

“This grant will not only fund the purchase of emissions reduction technology, but also includes a robust public awareness campaign that partners with local public schools to educate both students and parents about the importance of reducing idling in their personal vehicles,” said Mike Whitten, MTA's operations planning manager. “In order to achieve long term air quality improvements, it is essential that we change both the technology we use and our own mind sets with regard to emissions.”

The announcement is part of nearly $2 million in grant funds being awarded by the EPA through the 2008 NEDC Emissions Reduction Grant program.

The recent passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) makes available an additional $300 million nationwide under the Diesel Emissions Reduction Program (DERA) for grants and loans to help regional, state and local governments, tribal agencies and non-profit organizations with projects that reduce diesel emissions and create jobs.

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