Congressman Sires Requests Funding for Clean Cities Program
(Washington, D.C.)- Last week, Congressman Sires wrote a letter to House Appropriations’ Subcommittee on Energy and Water Chairman Mike Simpson and Ranking Member Marcy Kaptur requesting the Committee allocate $50 million to the Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program for alternative fuel deployment activities. He additionally asked that $25 million of the request be put towards competitive grants that support innovative alternative fuel and vehicle deployment strategies.
“The Clean Cities program has reduced petroleum consumption by more than 5 billion gallons since 1993,” stated Congressman Sires. “The initiative has helped boost the nation’s energy independence by investing in local projects that reduce petroleum reliance.”
According to the Department of Energy annual reports, from 2006 to 2012, the Clean Cities program leveraged $133 million in program funding into another $1.7 billion in public and private investment in alternative fuels deployment projects: an overall leverage ratio of $12.8 for every dollar in the Clean Cities budget.
In 2009, the Clean Cities project awarded a $15 million grant to a New Jersey transportation proposal. The project deployed nearly 300 compressed natural gas vehicles, including garbage trucks, shuttle buses, and six new compressed natural gas fueling stations throughout the state. Additionally, funding was used to educate the public about the benefits of using clean burning, domestically produced natural gas in vehicles.
The bus fleet that the Clean Cities project help build was especially helpful during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Before the storm, the buses provided transportation to elderly and disabled residents who could not evacuate themselves. Other buses helped transport residents to and from medical centers, and helped those staying behind gather emergency goods. Despite widespread fuel shortages for gasoline and diesel, the compressed natural gas station that the buses used to fuel up remained open and supplied the needed fuel.
“Federal investment in this program in New Jersey has been very successful,” expressed Congressman Sires. “Over the past four years, the Department of Energy funding of $15 million has leveraged an additional $40 million of non-federal funds that may not have otherwise been invested in New Jersey.”
The House of Representatives is currently debating the appropriations process.