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EPA Provides Nearly $230,000 for Manchester Transit Authority to Retrofit Municipal Diesel Vehicles

Release Date: 02/26/2009
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – Feb. 26, 2009) – EPA funding is being delivered to the Manchester Transit Authority to help fund projects that will help improve air quality in southern New Hampshire.

Through the 2008 Northeast Diesel Collaborative Emissions Reduction Grant Program, EPA is awarding $229,703 to the Manchester Transit Authority 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 Manchester Transit Authority 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. In addition, 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.

"Reducing diesel emissions is an effective way to improve air quality and help people who suffer from asthma and other respiratory problems,” said Ira Leighton, acting regional administrator of EPA's New England Office. “This project will help bring cleaner air to communities in southern New Hampshire, and we applaud the Manchester Transit Authority for their efforts to address diesel pollution."

Diesel engines contribute significantly to air pollution, especially in urban areas. The fine particles in diesel exhaust pose serious health risks, including aggravating heart or lung disease. People with existing heart or lung disease, such as asthma, older adults, and children are most sensitive to the health effects of fine particles. The Northeast has some of the highest asthma rates in the nation, including a childhood asthma rate above 10 percent in all six New England states. Lifetime asthma rates in children in New Hampshire are estimated at 11.6 percent.

“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, Operations Planning Manager, Manchester Transit Authority. “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.”

Today’s 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. A Request for Applications will be issued in the coming weeks. ARRA gives preference to projects that can be started and completed expeditiously. Prospective grant applicants should begin preparations now for the upcoming competitions.

NEDC is a partnership of public and private organizations working to improve air quality by taking action to reduce diesel pollution. The NEDC was established in 2005 by Regions 1 and 2 of the U.S. EPA, NESCAUM and the states and territories of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. Puerto Rico joined in 2007 and the U.S. Virgin Islands in 2008.

For more information:

Northeast Diesel Collaborative (www.northeastdiesel.org)

EPA
Diesel in New England information (epa.gov/region1/eco/diesel/index.html)

National
EPA Clean Diesel Campaign (epa.gov/otaq/diesel/grantfund.htm)

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