FREEPORT, TX – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy announced a $9 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act SmartWaySM Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) award to the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) on August 26, 2009. Representing a unique partnership across a diversity of sectors, the award will fund a SmartWaySM loan program which will reduce truck emissions; one of our region’s challenging issues. The innovative financing program will fund a revolving loan program that aids drayage truck operators in purchasing newer and cleaner trucks. Drayage truck operations are targeted as they are one of the largest sources of pollution associated with ports.
“This collaborative effort with H-GAC, ports in the H-GAC region, including Port Freeport and the private drayage truck operators represents exactly the type of partnerships needed to address the serious air quality issues in our region. The commitment and broad-based support of local leaders illustrates that the quality of the air we breathe is everyone’s responsibility,” said Alan Clark, H-GAC Director of Transportation Planning.
The DERA program is expected to produce the following emission reductions in our area:
- 1,638 tons of nitrous oxide
- 26.7 tons of particulate matter
- 27.4 tons of volatile organic compounds
- 239 tons of carbon monoxide
- 3,636 tons carbon dioxide
“Port Freeport is committed to improving the environment we all work and play in.” said Port Freeport Executive Port Director/CEO A. J. “Pete” Reixach, Jr. “The partnership with the H-GAC in this program to help reduce diesel emissions is an example of that commitment.” Partnering with H-GAC is especially beneficial, as they bring knowledge of other programs into this partnership. The revolving loan may be used to provide a “Bridge Loan” for the difference between the actual cost of the vehicle and other funding opportunities, such as the State’s Texas Emissions Reduction Plan (TERP).
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) recently announced proposed rules for the next State TERP rebate program. The State TERP program is scheduled to begin accepting applications from October, 2009 to March 2010. Applicants will be encouraged to apply early to this program as it appears that the State TERP will be a “first come, first served” program.
A series of workshops providing guidance on how to apply for State TERP grants will be hosted by the TCEQ. For more information about the State TERP rebate program and upcoming workshops in your area, please visit: www.tceq.state.tx.us/implementation/air/terp/index.html.
H-GAC and their partners, including Port Freeport, will disseminate information regarding the State TERP grant and the H-GAC’s SmartWaySM revolving loan processes throughout the following weeks.
For more information, please contact Shelley Whitworth, Houston-Galveston Area Council at (713) 499-6695 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or A. J. “Pete” Reixach, Jr., Port Freeport at (979) 233-2667 (email@example.com).