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News Release from Comptroller Susan Combs

For Immediate Release
September 18, 2009

Stimulus Funds Ready for Transportation Efficiency Projects

(AUSTIN) — From buying green vehicles to timing green lights, local and state agencies in Texas can now apply for federal stimulus money for transportation efficiency projects. Texas Comptroller Susan Combs announced today that applications will open for about $17 million in funds.

Cities, counties, school districts and other local and state government entities can apply for competitive grants for transportation efficiency funding in two categories:

  • Alternative fuels projects for government vehicles ($11 million): money to help purchase alternative fuel vehicles, pay for alternative fuel vehicle conversions and buy equipment for alternative fuel stations. Eligible alternative fuels include natural gas, propane, hydrogen, ethanol, electricity and biodiesel.
  • Traffic signal projects ($6 million): money to synchronize traffic lights on major routes for smoother traffic flow and funding to replace bulbs in traffic signals with light emitting diodes (LEDs).

The Comptroller’s State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) is administering the stimulus grants. Funding guidelines and selection criteria, such as priority for ready-to-go projects that can begin immediately, are part of the application process. Application requests for alternative fuels projects opened today, Sept. 18, and traffic signal project requests will be posted next week. Entities have approximately 30 days to submit applications after requests are posted. More information is at http://www.secostimulus.org.

“There are valuable opportunities to conserve energy and save money,” Combs said. “For example, replacing the light bulbs in a traffic signal with clusters of tiny red, yellow and green LEDs can reduce electricity use by almost 85 percent at that signal because of the difference in wattage. Those conversions can easily help save tax dollars by cutting electricity costs.”

The funds can also help cities or other governmental entities looking for ways to cut down on vehicle emissions and improve air quality.

“They have the opportunity to make government vehicles green and synchronize traffic signals to improve traffic flow and keep cars from idling too long at lights,” Combs said.

SECO will also administer stimulus funds for several other public sector energy conservation programs. Application requests will be released shortly for renewable energy efficiency projects and a loan program for energy retrofits for state and local government buildings.

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