The Iowa Department of Transportation recently announced that it is accepting grant applications through Nov. 9 this year for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Diesel Emission Reduction Act or DERA grant program – funds aimed at helping fleets replace aging diesel-powered equipment, including school buses, heavy- and medium-duty transit buses and trucks, as well as non-road diesel engines, equipment, or vehicles.
The base grant amount available in Iowa is $275,123, but the state is voluntarily matching that base amount with monies from the Volkswagen emissions settlement. Those funding sources, along with an EPA incentive bonus of $137,562, brings the total available DERA funding to $712,685.
Matt Chambers with the Iowa DOT’s office of program management explained to the AASHTO Journal by email that the state began managing the EPA’s state DERA program – a program created as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 – in fiscal year 2017. He noted that “this decision was made to be consistent with the administration of the national Volkswagen Settlement for which the Iowa DOT is the designated beneficiary for the state of Iowa.”
Given their overlap, he added, “the decision was made to have the two grants be administered by the same state agency.”
Chambers also noted that the Iowa DOT’s current project solicitation is accepting applications from all eligible project and fuel types per the EPA’s eligibilities, pointing out that the agency’s previous DERA application cycles made awards for an electric bus, diesel truck replacements, and idle reduction efforts for trucks, locomotives, and truck refrigeration units.