Picture Brightens for DOE Clean Cities Based on Congressional Omnibus Spending Bill Just Released
Yesterday, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives released the details of the $1.3 trillion spending bill that would fund the federal government through the end of the current federal fiscal year, September 2018. Within the 2,232 pages of details Transportation Energy Partners (TEP) identified a few a few lines concerning funding for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Clean Cities program.
Based on the released Omnibus bill, Clean Cities would receive $37.8 million, a $3.8 million increase from the fiscal year 2017 and 2016 budgets.
“This certainly is encouraging news,” said Alleyn Harned, Executive Director of Virginia Clean Cities and Board member of TEP, which recently held its annual Energy Independence Summit in Washington, DC. The Summit was attended by about 150 clean transportation leaders who visited over 200 Congressional offices on February 14. “This could mean that the Clean Cities program will have the funding needed to be a federal partner in activities vital to U.S. energy security and progress on advanced transportation technologies. Virginia Clean Cities ”
The House Omnibus language also eliminated problematic language in an earlier version of the budget bill that would have required the DOE to spend nearly all of its budget allocation on competitive grants, leaving almost no funding to operate the Clean Cities program, provide coalitions with critical tools, resources and modest contractual funding to perform services vital to the program.
Here is the relevant language from the Omnibus:
“The agreement provides $46,300,000 for Outreach, Deployment, and Analysis. Within this amount, $37,800,000 is provided for Deployment through the Clean Cities Program and $2,500,000 is for year four of EcoCAR3.”
Funding is also identified for closely related research and development activities:
“Within available funds, the agreement provides up to $15,000,000 for medium- and heavy-duty on-road natural gas engine research and development, including energy efficiency improvements, emission after-treatment technologies, fuel 29 system enhancements, and new engine development and up to $10,000,000 to continue to support improving the energy efficiency of commercial off-road vehicles, including fluid power systems.”