Pork or Progress as FAA Funds Natural Gas Shuttles?

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx is spending your money – a $331,653 grant to the Portland International Airport for natural gas shuttles. The natural gas fueled vehicles it’s said will reduce emissions and improve air quality. Alleged benefits include deploying alternative fuel vehicles  run by cng at the airport through the FAA’s Voluntary Airport Low Emission (VALE) program.

The grant gives money to purchase six compressed natural gas buses to transport airport passengers and employees from the terminal to parking and rental car facilities. This project is part of the airport’s program to minimize vehicle emissions within the airport footprint.

VALE is designed to reduce sources of airport ground emissions in marginal air quality areas. The FAA started the program in 2005 to help airports meet their air quality responsibilities under the Clean Air Act. Through VALE, airports can use Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funds and passenger facility charges to acquire low-emission vehicles, refueling and recharging stations, gate electrification, and other airport-related air quality improvements.

“This project will allow the airport to realize immediate emission-reduction benefits for the airport and surrounding communities,” FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta said.

DOT claims that through VALE, airports have reduced ozone emissions by approximately 466 tons per year, which is equivalent to removing 26,000 cars and trucks from the road annually. Since 2005, the FAA has funded 67 VALE projects at 34 airports, which represents a total investment of $167 million in clean airport technology. That amount includes $133 million in federal grants and $34 million in local airport matching funds.

AIP provides more than $3 billion in annual funding for improvement projects. More than 3,300 airports are eligible for AIP grants benefiting commercial passengers, cargo operations, and general aviation activities throughout the nation.

About Kenneth Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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