Reauthorization of the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA), a federal program that provides grants to upgrade existing diesel-powered equipment to reduce emissions, brought with it some changes in the program that make the financial support more accessible to diesel fleet owners.
In addition to extending DERA for another five years (from fiscal-year 2012 to 2016), there will be a number of programmatic changes that will go into effect October 1, 2011 with the beginning of the U.S. government's 2012 fiscal year. (One exception is the eligibility of U.S. territories for program funds by defining them as states, which is effective immediately.)
The original program qualifications will apply to the National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program which closed on January 13 as well as the Emerging Technology RFP (due January 27) and SmartWay Clean Diesel Finance Program RFP emphasizing non-road and marine (due February 10) as well as individual state DERA grant funding programs which will release RFPs throughout the spring and summer of 2011.
New requests for proposals for fiscal year 2012 DERA funds are likely to be issued sometime this fall. Significant program changes at that time will include:
- Allowing private fleets contracted to a federal, regional, state, local, tribal agency or port authority to apply directly for funds rather than having to partner with a government or non-profit agency
- Eliminating the requirement that 50% of funds be dedicated to retrofitting public fleets
- Reducing funding for the Emerging Technology program from 10% to 5%
- Removing the restriction from using funds to retrofit vehicles and equipment which are mandated by state or local law
- Reducing the potential annual appropriated program funds from $200 million to $100 million
- Requiring EPA to develop a simplified application process