Laketran and Lake County grant applications to the Ohio EPA for the Diesel Mitigation Trust Fund proved to be very competitive after receiving nearly 20 percent of the total award for this round of funding. Together, the agencies will bring $2.5 million of funding to the region for vehicle replacements that will improve the local air quality.
The goal of the grant is to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions from diesel vehicles and equipment. Nitrogen oxide emissions are significant contributors to ground-level ozone pollution.
Laketran received $1.5 million to replace 2009 diesel transit buses with zero emission battery-operated electric buses.
“We have been aggressively applying for federal and state grants to replace our old diesel buses with electric buses,” explained Laketran board president Brian Falkowski. “This grant will help us reach our goal to electrify the majority of our local route service, making two-thirds of the routes run emission free.”
Lake County Commissioners were awarded $947,425 to replace nine diesel-powered trucks that are 10 or more years old used by Lake County Department of Utilities to install, clean and maintain underground utilities.
“I would like to thank my colleague Ron Young for bringing this opportunity to our attention, and also thank our staff and Laketran’s staff for being proactive on these type of initiatives. I look forward to seeing these new additions to our fleet in 2020,” commented Lake County Commissioner John Hamercheck.
“Both the Laketran grant award and the county grant will allow both entities to continue efforts to reduce diesel emissions in our community. Our teams did a great job in applying for these grants and we thank the state authorities for recognizing our requests,” noted Commissioner Jerry Cirino.
The county expects their vehicles replacement to be complete by the end of 2020.
“In early 2019, my former staff from the State Legislature informed me that Ohio EPA was accepting applications to disburse the Volkswagen Settlement funds. My state legislative staff and I had worked hard to assure that Lake County would receive its fair share of whatever grants awarded,” shared Commissioner Ron Young. “The rest is history, after informing our Lake County staff that it was time for us to apply for the grants I was extremely impressed by the professionalism and effectiveness of our people as they worked tirelessly to successfully bring these monies home to Lake County.”
The Diesel Mitigation Trust Fund grants are funded from dollars allocated to Ohio from the settlement of an enforcement action taken against Volkswagen and its affiliated companies by U.S. EPA and the state of California for violations under the Clean Air Act. The grant program is investing $75 million over 10 years to reduce nitrogen oxide pollution in Ohio.
Selection considerations were given for specifically targeted reduction categories (e.g. school and transit buses, heavy duty trucks, airport ground-support equipment) and to vehicle replacement projects that would produce the largest reduction of nitrogen oxide emissions for the grant dollars invested.
Grant recipients were selected by a committee of Ohio EPA and Ohio Department of Transportation representatives.