Congress authorized the money to help fleets replace engines that do not have modern clean-air technology, or to retrofit that technology.
EPA's rules have gone a long way toward cleaning up diesel emissions, said Margo Oge, director of EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality. They have led to a 90-to-95 percent reduction in ozone and particulate matter emissions over the past decade, but there still are some 11 million older engines that will remain in service for years - and they are the target of this federal program, Oge said.
Of the $49.2 million, $34.4 million will be granted to state, local and regional governments or non-profits with transportation, education or air quality missions. This sum includes $3.4 million for emerging retrofit technologies that are promising but have not yet been verified, and another $3.4 million for loan guarantees and low-cost loans for EPA's SmartWay Clean Diesel Finance Program, Oge said.
The balance of the money, $14.8 million, will be allocated on a state-by-state basis, she added.
This year's funding is significantly higher than last year's $7 million, and President Bush has asked for another $50 million next year, Oge said. Congress has authorized as much as $250 million a year for five years.
Oge said that some 400,000 diesel engines have been retrofitted or replaced under the program. Half of those are off-road and the other half on-road, and most of the on-road engines were run by public fleets such as school bus and municipal operations.
Still, EPA wants more private fleets - particularly smaller fleets - to take advantage of the program, Oge said.
The program supports a couple of dozen technologies such as diesel particulate filters and oxidation catalysts, as well as anti-idling technologies such as auxiliary power units and bunk heaters. For a complete list, go to the EPA website, www.epa.gov/cleandiesel, and look under Technologies.