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Event commemorates 10th anniversary of meeting to make propane autogas a viable fuel for school transportation departments in Texas
AUSTIN, Texas (Dec. 2, 2015) — A celebration commemorating a decade of propane school buses was held on December 1, 2015 at the Texas Education Agency in Austin to coincide with Texas Propane School Bus Week.
The event was sponsored by the Propane Council of Texas in conjunction with the Propane Education & Research Council and hosted by Texas Commissioner of Education Michael Williams. Remarks from Williams and state Rep. Tony Dale highlighted the event.
Citing the vital role propane autogas plays in powering thousands of school buses in school districts across the state, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has proclaimed the week of Nov. 30 to Dec. 4 as Texas Propane School Bus Week.
The Texas House of Representatives, led by Dale, has issued a resolution celebrating the 10th anniversary of a group that met in Austin to discuss the concept and development of the first factory-built propane bus, expanding the choices for school districts interested in cleaner-burning bus options. Founders of the group were honored at today’s event.
“The state of Texas has accomplished a significant feat in the last 10 years in bringing clean and affordable fuel to so many school districts,” said Curtis Donaldson, president of CleanFuel USA and initial meeting attendee. “It’s a testament to the hard work of many people that, with a little ingenuity, we could bring a better alternative fuel option to school transportation throughout this state — and beyond.”
Since that first meeting in 2005, all three major school bus manufacturers now offer propane-autogas-powered buses. According to the Texas Railroad Commission, more than 2,600 propane-autogas-powered buses are currently in operation in school districts across the state.
More than 400 school districts throughout the United States are operating more than 7,000 propane autogas school buses on a daily basis. In all, more than half a million children ride propane autogas school buses to and from school.
“More and more school districts across the country are facing tighter transportation budgets and they must use their resources more wisely,” said Roy Willis, president and CEO of the Propane Education & Research Council. “Propane autogas school buses help districts lower their fuel budgets, but the benefits don’t stop there. Propane school buses improve passenger safety and reduce harmful emissions compared with their diesel bus counterparts, too.”
Many school districts report saving as much as one to two dollars per gallon with propane, and propane-autogas-powered buses require less maintenance over the lifetime of the vehicle, saving additional money on upkeep. These cost savings free up transportation budgets and give schools the option of reinvesting that money back into where it matters most: the classroom.
Propane autogas buses keep passengers safe by eliminating harmful carcinogens found in the exhaust from older diesel school buses. They’re also quieter than diesel buses, allowing drivers to hear better when picking up and dropping students off.
For more information on propane school buses, visit www.betterourbuses.com.
About PERC: The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) is a nonprofit that provides leading propane safety and training programs and invests in the research and development of new propane-powered technologies. PERC is operated and funded by the propane industry. For more information, visit propane.com.
The Propane Council of Texas (ProCOT) is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 dedicated to educating the public and the propane industry on safety and on the newest clean-burning propane technologies. ProCOT is the state entity that represents the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), which was authorized by the U.S. Congress with the passage of the Propane Education and Research Act (PERA) of 1996. To find out more about propane autogas, visit www.fuelingtexas.com.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality announced that up to $5.9 million in grants is being made available through the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan (TERP) Texas Clean Fleet Program (TCFP) to encourage entities that operate large fleets of vehicles in Texas to replace diesel-powered vehicles with alternative fuel vehicles(includes propane).
Eligible entities include those that own fleets of 75 or more vehicles operated in Texas. Entities must commit to replace at least 20 diesel-powered light-duty or heavy-duty vehicles with a new alternative fuel vehicle of the same weight classification and use.
Applications will be accepted for consideration only if received at the front desk, Rm. 1301, 1st floor of Building F on the premises of the TCEQ (12100 Park 35 Circle, Austin, TX 78753) by no later than 5:00 p.m. Central Time, November 10, 2015.
Please visit www.terpgrants.org or call 1-800-919-TERP (8377) for more information regarding the TCFP eligibility requirements, selection criteria, and application submittal process.
Interested applicants are also encouraged to attend a TCFP Application Workshop hosted by the TCEQ. The workshop schedule has been provided for your convenience below.
Austin: September 28, 2015
1:30 – 4:30 p.m.
TCEQ’s Austin Office
Building F, Room 2210
12100 Park 35 Circle
Austin, TX 78753
Longview: September 29, 2015
1:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Maude Cobb Convention Center
100 Grand Boulevard
Longview, TX 75604
Arlington: September 30, 2015
1:30 – 4:30 p.m.
North Central Texas Council of Governments
Transportation Council Room
616 Six Flags Drive, Centerpoint II
Arlington, TX 76011
Houston: October 1, 2015
1:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Tracy Gee Community Center
3599 Westcenter Drive
Houston, TX 77042
The workshop schedule can also be found online at www.terpgrants.org.
The North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) has opened the Clean Fleets North Texas 2015 Call for Projects to help to upgrade to cleaner-burning options like propane. Applications are being accepted through October 23, 2015. The grant opportunity will provide approximately $2.5 million in funds on competitive basis for private and public fleets (includes school districts) with operations in the 10-County Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) Ozone Non-attainment area.
- Up to 80 percent of incremental cost will be awarded minus scrap value to eligible projects on a competitive basis.
- Project types eligible for grant funding include qualifying new purchase, replacement, repower, retrofit, or engine conversion
- All projects must achieve a reduction in NOX emissions.
- Applicants must adopt the Clean Fleet Policy prior to the application deadline.
- Again, this is a competitive grant, not all submitted projects will be funded
A grant workshop will be conducted on September 3, 2015 at the NCTCOG offices at 2:00 PM in the William J. Pitstick Executive Board Room. The grant application and guidelines will be reviewed and any questions will be addressed.
In addition, NCTCOG is seeking information on refueling or recharging infrastructure projects desired by fleets; while these projects are not eligible for grant funds at this time, staff will use this information to evaluate potential future opportunities for assistance.
On July 10, 2015, the current National Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) Propane Mower Incentive Program will cease accepting new applications, and all activity within the program will begin to draw to a close. A revised and refreshed incentive program is in the planning stages and will be announced in the coming months.
PERC has remained very committed to this program, as it serves as both a unique sales tool for the industry and a measurement for market success. Since 2013, the Mower Incentive Program has helped place over 3,100 propane mowers into the marketplace, adding 3.1M gallons of demand to the market since its inception and roughly 15.5M gallons of demand over the next five years (avg. lifespan of the equipment).
All national incentive program communications and the online application will be updated this week to reflect the program status.
Below are some key notes regarding the end of the Propane Mower Incentive Program.
- The incentive was subject to the available budgeted funds and, as such, could end at any time should program funding be depleted.
- No new applications will be accepted after July 10th.
- PERC will honor all current applications in process prior to the July 10th deadline, provided the applicant completes the program paperwork and requirements.
- A new Propane Mower Incentive Program is in the planning stages, and an announcement will likely be made in the fall of 2015.
Please contact Jeremy Wishart at 202-452-8975 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.